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Faculty Q & A: De La Salle's New Science and Innovation Centre

It is an exciting time here at De La Salle College as the renovations of the Del Centre are underway. As time passes, technology advances, and in turn, curriculum must correlate and evolve.  

The College believes it is essential to add a state-of-the-art innovation center to the campus to provide current and future students with the best possible educational experiences to prepare them for their next academic chapters. The innovation center will feature three biochemistry labs, a physics lab, a research center, and a lecture hall. The addition of this facility not only benefits students, but also the staff. Our teachers, especially those teaching science, are thrilled to implement new technologies and resources into their course plans to enhance the overall educational experiences of students. We interviewed two faculty members, Elize Ceschia and Peter Vlahovic, to get some insight into how their programming and teaching styles will evolve when the new building is complete.

Elize Ceschia

Elize Ceschia attained her Bachelor of Science, with a focus in analytical and atmospheric chemistry, from York University in 2007. In 2008, she made a brief stop at Humber College, where she obtained a Certificate in Project Management, before ultimately completing her master's in chemistry at Queen's University in 2011. In September of 2016, Elize began teaching at Del. For three years she taught the Grade 11 and 12 chemistry programs, and this year has expanded to Grade 5 French and Science, as well as co-teaching the Advanced Placement Seminar course.  

Peter Vlahovic

Peter Vlahovic studied at Valparaiso University in Indiana. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Biology, and Secondary Education while minoring in chemistry. Peter started at Del in 1998, teaching Grade 11 and 12 Biology. Over the years, he has also taught an interdisciplinary course that focuses on advanced studies in biotechnology. Peter admits that while providing instruction in this course, he has significantly benefitted in terms of learning, as he did not experience these advanced experiments while at university.

Science is a field of study driven by curiosity and discovery. 

As technology has evolved, so have the common practices of scientists worldwide. As Peter previously mentioned, he did not get to experience in university what students are experiencing now. As educators and life-long learners, Elize and Peter are extremely excited for the Innovation Center to be completed. We asked the two of them what they are looking forward to most, below are their responses.


How will the Innovation Centre impact your programming and teaching style? 

Elize: The Innovation Centre will provide modern laboratory space for our students. I look forward to being able to use more equipment in the classroom to give our students more practical experience in the chemistry class.

Peter: Biology lends itself to hands-on learning. Having a modern space will encourage teachers to engage students with even more experiments and activities. 

 

What will be the main benefit to students in your classes?

Elize: It will allow them to work more collaboratively, and it will facilitate much more hands-on work. They will be exposed to the type of lab environment that they will encounter in their post-secondary career.

Peter: Even though our programming has always involved hands-on activities, it was close quarters in the previous science labs. Students will benefit from the increased safety that comes with the modernization. The setting will prepare students for the type of lab environments they will see in university.

 

What are you looking forward to most with the new building and new equipment? 

Elize: While the equipment is still the same, it has become smaller, portable and easier to use with a variety of platforms, including smartphones. We will be able to incorporate more accessible technology into the program to allow students to study the concepts through a practical approach. Learning to use instruments and troubleshoot problems are important skills to learn beyond the classroom. Much of chemistry is in the details of analysis, not just the synthesis.

Peter: With the new building, I am most looking forward to the potential for a greenhouse. We have managed to present a rigorous and advanced biology curriculum, even with the limited lab capacity of the main school building, however, the creative and hands-on experiences that would come with a greenhouse are truly exciting. Living in a large city, where most of us don't even think about where or how our food is produced, makes the experience of growing things so meaningful. The curriculum connections abound in all grades with practical activities that could be done in a greenhouse. 


In discussing the Innovation Center further with Peter, he mentioned that he is also looking forward to more students enjoying science. That is the main goal of this project, as teachers strive to inspire and captivate their students. As both Elize and Peter stressed in their interviews, science is a subject that requires hands-on learning. While implementing new equipment, we will also be increasing the number of items that we currently have so more students can interactively participate in experiments and maximize their learning experiences. What these renovations represent are opportunities. Teachers are excited for new opportunities to instruct and inspire, while students are drawn to new experiences and exposure to different methods of learning.

Please stay tuned for further details, including an itemized list of equipment, on our website.

If you would like to inquire about the Innovation Centre, or donate, please

contact the Development Office at 416-969-8771 e. 257

  • Winter 2020