AU helps showcase innovative women at Edmonton event
Athabasca University has its fair share of strong and innovative women on its team, and was proud to sponsor an event showcasing innovative women from all across Edmonton.
Not only did AU sponsor the Oct. 22 SHEInnovates Alberta Women Advancing Innovation event, innovative women from the university’s executive, professional staff, and faculty were on hand to highlight the work they’re doing and connect with other innovative women in the city.
Learn more about the incredible work our team members to do help solve the complex problems affecting our province, country, and the entire world.
Jennifer Schaeffer, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Jennifer is now in her second year leading AU’s Information Technology team, overseeing the university’s transformation to a Cloud & Code Campus, providing collaborative engagement space for learners, tutors and researchers to continuously innovate in digital pedagogy, applied augmented intelligence, and online learning experiences.
In November 2018, AU became the first Canadian university to officially collaborate with Amazon Web Services. This not only provides cloud infrastructure, but also accredited cloud education programs, artificial intelligence and machine learning tools for AU researchers’ innovation, and comprehensive cloud training for all technical and non-technical AU team members.
A self-taught coder from age 11, Jennifer has over 15 years of executive management experience and over 20 years of expertise in digital strategy, as well as information and communication technology.
Dr. Sabine Graf, Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems
Sabine has always had an interest in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, personalization, data analytics, data mining, and machine learning—basically the things that make computers and systems smart.
When she was choosing a research topic for her PhD, which she completed at the University of Vienna from 2003-2007, online learning was relatively new. But looking at very large classrooms of over 500 students got her thinking about how online systems could help educators to understand the needs and preferences of learners, and provide them with personalized an intelligent support.
Sabine has received many grants and awards for her work, which includes looking at ways to enhance existing online learning systems like Moodle by, for example, generating personalized recommendations for students based on learning preferences. She has also developed an online educational game, called OMEGA, which allows players to improve important meta-cognitive skills like planning and problem-solving.
Jessica Butts Scott, Director, PowerED™
Jessica is the Director of PowerEDTM—a new, entrepreneurial start-up that is curating micro-learning experiences for individuals and organizations who need custom-fit skills to lift up their people and results. The PowerEDTM team is pushing the boundaries of digital learning through media-heavy, on-demand professional development certificates enriched with elements like virtual reality 3600 immersive experiences, interactive 3D-simulated learning, podcasts, docuseries, simulations and other elements.
Jessica has held progressive roles at AU since joining the organization in 2012, including Director, Partnerships and Student Recruitment and Manager, Corporate Partnerships. Prior to joining Athabasca University, Jessica worked for the Oilers Entertainment Group where she pioneered a new position in 2008 focused on developing the organization’s digital media strategy to drive revenue and partnerships.
Jessica is passionate about women having access to and achieving an education to enable independence, self-reliance, and making important contributions to society.
Dr. Pamela Hawranik, Associate Vice President – Research (Interim)
Pamela has been in the role of Associate Vice President – Research (interim) since July, 2018, where she provides leadership in implementing AU’s strategic research plan and aligning it to AU’s Imagine plan. She also served as the inaugural Dean for the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
As a professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, her research program focuses on examining the effects of community services on older adults with dementia, and their formal and informal caregivers. This applied research is intended to influence policy and practices of health-care providers. She has experience working with an leading interdisciplinary teams that enable analysis of health and health-care issues from the different perspectives of health-care providers and family members.
Pamela’s expertise is recognized provincially, nationally, and internationally with numerous research and community awards and more than 60 scholarly publications to her name.
Dr. Jennifer Knopp-Sihota, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines
Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to AU’s Faculty of Health Disciplines, having been a nurse practitioner in Alberta for over 15 years. She practices clinically in acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital and in primary care with Indigenous Services Canada with the Government of Canada.
She has published more than 20 academic papers, looking at issues such as chronic diseases, dementia & dementia behaviours, health services delivery, older adults/nursing homes, pain, quality of care, systematic reviews and elder care.
Her research is supported, in part, by two current grants. One from the Alzheimer Society Research Program supported the development and testing of an observational pain assessment scale using routinely collected date for nursing home residents with advanced dementia. Another, from the Canadian Institute of Health Research builds on this work; her team is now refining and testing the pain scale on 300 nursing home residents.