A successful post-secondary journey requires an inspiring beginning. Two women who have assisted learners through early steps at Selkirk College are being recognized with Board of Governors awards for their efforts to help build remarkable futures.
Ktunaxa Nation Elder Anne Jimmie and retired Nursing Program instructor Joanne van der Ham are the 2022 recipients of the annual honours. Jimme is the recipient of an Honorary Diploma in Human Services and van der Ham is being recognized as a Distinguished Educator.
“At the heart of Selkirk College is an educational community that ensures students have everything they need to succeed, and that they don’t feel alone in the challenge before them,” says Selkirk College President Maggie Matear.
“Anne and Joanne have literally helped to change lives over the many years they’ve spent working with students, by supporting them in reaching their ultimate goals. We are so grateful and so pleased to honour their service in this way.”
Wisdom and Inspiration for Indigenous Students
Through her own lived experience, Jimmie has spent a decade passing along teachings to Indigenous students and advancing decolonization efforts at Selkirk College. A member of the Yaqan nukiy (Lower Kootenay Band), Jimmie is a much loved and respected Ktunaxa Elder. A residential school survivor, she willingly shares her painful past in an effort to strengthen the way forward.
“Anne is a champion for young Indigenous people and for settlers seeking belonging,” says Jessica Morin, a former Indigenous Services Coordinator at Selkirk College and the current Indigenous Research Facilitator at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“At gatherings over the last decade, Elders from local First Nations come together with respect for one another and with love for the young people. Many of these Elders attended residential school together and reconnected at Selkirk College for the first time since they were young. Through their presence, Anne and these Elders shed light, potential and wisdom for Indigenous students.”
With a vision of an accessible, safe and relevant post-secondary institution for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, Jimmie has been a vital contributor. She attends Indigenous youth conferences, engages with faulty on
Indigenizing curriculum, shares experiences as a residential school survivor, contributes to research projects and co-teaches in the Indigenous 100: Regional Perspectives course.
Her presence has helped move along many essential benchmarks at Selkirk College, like the Indigenization
“Anne has steadfastly sought to continue delivering important contributions to Selkirk College’s mandates and missions with respect to UNDRIP, Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation journey and Indigenous empowerment,” says Dr. Christopher Horsethief, a member of the Ktunaxa Nation and guest faculty member at Selkirk College.
“Her continued involvement in the Indigenous 100: Regional Perspectives course is a natural continuation of the character arc set in motion by her mother. Anne’s arc is literally an embodiment of the intergenerational transfer of Ktunaxa Indigenous voice, cultural structure within our community and guidance on interactions outside our community.
"She serves college learners, administrators and leadership in selfless capacities.”
Building Strength in the Region’s Health Care System
During a teaching career that began at Selkirk College in 1987, van der Ham spent 30 years as a dedicated nurse educator in the four-year Bachelor of Nursing (BScN) Program that impacted both students and peers.
With a teaching philosophy based on the ethics of professionalism and compassion, she shared sophisticated understanding of nursing and higher education.
“I can say with confidence that Joanne was one of the most caring, respectful and principled educators and nurses I have ever had the pleasure working with,” says Tammie Clarke, a long-time faculty colleague of van der Ham and the current chair for the School of Health and Human Services.
“Joanne was the primary reason I remained in education and did not return to my nursing practice. Her mentorship philosophy is ripe with encouragement, counsel, patience and objectivity. She role-modelled an exemplary way of being with others and authentically embraced equity and inclusion.”
Spending many years as the Year 1 facilitator, van der Ham supported students in the transition to post-secondary education and mentoring new faculty.
During this impressionable time, her positive role-modelling supported learners in developing empathy, advocating for quality seniors’ care and building confidence for subsequent nursing practice experiences.
With a commitment to the college that extended well beyond the BScN Program, van der Ham helped guide new faculty by facilitating the Instructional Skills Workshops each August.
“As I reflect on the years I worked with Joanne, she was a pillar of the BScN Program,” says Teresa Petrick, a retired BScN Program faculty member and former dean of the School of Health andHuman Services.
“She provided exemplary leadership to a new generation of nurse educators and exemplified collaborative practice.
For many practicing nurses in our communities today, Joanne was instrumental in supporting the early development of excellence in the foundations of nursing practice — the steppingstones to expertise and quality health care.”
Interruptions in the college’s annual calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the annual Board of Governors Awards dinner to late-October where recipients from the last three years were celebrated at Mary Hall on the Tenth Street Campus.