Selkirk College Honours SCOPE Award Winners

College Community Invited to Celebrate Worthy Recipients


The Selkirk College Faculty Association Standing Committee on Professional Excellence (SCOPE) is pleased to honour Leslie Comrie, Takaia Larsen, James Nicol and Tiffany Snauwaert as recipients of its 2016/2017 awards.

The Selkirk College community will celebrate the winners with the annual SCOPE Award ceremony and reception held on Thursday, September 28 at the Staff Lounge on the Castlegar Campus from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Leslie Comrie

Leslie Comrie

Leslie started with Selkirk College in December 2008 in the Health & Human Services Department and then four years ago, she was offered a unique opportunity to teach a Relational Practice course in the Nursing Program. She took this on and thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration that developed between the two departments.

Through this work, Comrie became involved in Healthy Campus Initiatives. Programming includes changing the culture of substance use action research, Dinner Basket Conversations, and Eat & Art.

It was because of this pioneering work with Healthy Campus Initiatives that the College recognized the value in supporting the whole student and with that, created the position of Healthy Campus Advisor. Comrie applied for this role and was the successful candidate. 

Comrie’s leadership has taken the role of Healthy campus Advisor to a new level. Comrie developed terms of reference, formed an advisory committee, established a website presence, while developing and implementing Selkirk College’s Sexual Violence Policy. This included consultations with staff, students and community members. 

During that time, Comrie also supported seven students in practice placement - nursing students, rural pre-law, and two master’s students from the University of Victoria.  She participated in Canadian Mental Health Community of Practice as both presenter and conference participant. 

Comrie was also very involved in a Healthy Campus themed Discovery Day which engaged Selkirk College employees. 

Students describe Comrie as dedicated, open, and honest and someone who keeps the bar high and supports this with her availability and knowledge base that she willingly and elegantly shares.

“She makes herself available. She listens and understands our goals and needs,” says one student. “She provides relevant information. She is calm and trusting. This allowed for a very positive student-teacher relationship to develop.”

A co-worker Comrie mentored says, “Leslie provides unparalleled support, guidance, and suggestions.  Our relationship has an air of egalitarianism that inspires me ad provokes a sense of confidence in my abilities, this enhances my teaching ability in extremely positive ways.”

Takaia Larsen

Takaia Larsen


Takaia Larsen is a valued member of the School of University Arts and Sciences (UAS) who has distinguished herself as “a remarkable blend of competence and compassion, intelligence and heart, structure and flexibility.”

Larsen epitomizes the SCOPE Award criteria in her commitment to students, the College, and the community on behalf of Selkirk College. She is tireless in her contributions to the well-being of all those she touches and passionate in supporting the social fabric of the community she has grown up in.

Larsen has touched the lives of many of her students with her empathy for their own unique struggles. Her teaching is rigorous, effective, and creative. 

“Takaia genuinely likes teaching history and makes me excited to learn,” says a student nominee. “She demands high academic standards from her students.”

In addition to her teaching role and UAS Coordinator position, Larsen became the Rural Pre-Medicine (RPM) Student Liaison this past year.

“Takaia is more than capable in anything she has undertaken,” say her colleagues.

This also includes serving on the Education Council’s Admission and Standards Committee and the Federation of Post-Secondary Educator’s Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee.  Larsen holds a lead role in the development of the Law & Justice Studies Diploma Program and is coordinator of the River Arts Symposium 2018 in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She also works on the Peace 216: The Doukhobors: Mir Centre for Peace Summer Institute Program.

A Community member connected to Peace 216 says, “It was a great pleasure collaborating with Larsen in developing the week of lessons that included our Doukhobor Discovery Centre.”

Larsen also commits her time to the Together to Learn Program at Kootenay Family Place in Castlegar. 

Larsen is an accomplished historian in her own right, having researched and written extensively on the history of the region.

Larsen collaborated on Journeys Taken: Selkirk College –The First 50 Years, the recently released Selkirk College 50th anniversary commemorative book that is “full of interesting history, great photos and lively personal accounts of the last 50 years.”  Larsen got involved in this project “because she loves what Selkirk College does in the lives of people every day…” Larsen is one of the cherished alumni who have used the post-secondary provided close to home to build a successful career that contributes to the continued vitality of rural life in British Columbia.

James Nicol

James Nicol

James Nicol, a Biology and Anatomy and Physiology instructor with Selkirk College’s Schools of University Arts & Science, including the Rural Pre-Medicine Program, has been recognized this year with a SCOPE Exceptional Performance award.

Nicol is described by colleagues as an incredibly student-centered instructor, a sentiment which is echoed by his students who note that he is extraordinarily dedicated to ensuring students succeed in his classes and that he has an “innate ability to make students care about the simplest of facts” in difficult subjects. Nicol’s students go on to describe him as inspiring, fun, and selfless in his dedication to student learning.

“Whether it was dedicating a magnificent amount of time to meet one-on-one, providing encouragement with difficult topics, or emailing back at 1 a.m. the night before the final exam, James shows over and over that students’ understanding and enjoyment is paramount.”

Nicol received several letters from students in support of his SCOPE nomination and all stated that he was one of the best instructors they had ever had – high praise, indeed.

Not only is Nicol a favorite with students, but he is also a great colleague. He is described as thoughtful, caring and always willing to take on volunteer tasks with enthusiasm. He has participated in all of the outreach events for school-age children in the region and receives enormous praise for his fun and engaging Biology and Anthropology sessions. Such work exemplifies the dedication Nicol has to his subject, but also the dedication he has for Selkirk College and ensuring its continued growth and success through outreach and community engagement.

Nicol is also committed to the internal development of Selkirk College programming. Over the past several years he has taken on several new courses in Biology, Anthropology and Rural Pre-Medicine. One colleague notes that “this past year James started the ‘Gut Club’ so that he could give his students a more hands-on approach to Biology while they gathered tissue specimens … He goes out of his way to bring animal organs into the lab to help students get a more in-depth understanding of the topic.” Such endeavours are not merely entertaining gimmicks.

“James is a rigorous scientist and scholar with high standards that he uses to help students succeed. As an instructor of Anatomy and Physiology, James has been instrumental in establishing the reputation of both Selkirk’s Nursing and RPM programs,” says one of his colleagues.

Nicol’s colleagues are honoured and grateful to work with him and Selkirk College’s students are so lucky to have such a fantastic educator to learn from. Nicol is very clearly deserving of this recognition.

Tiffany Snauwaert

Tiffany Snauwaert

Tiffany Snauwaert started working at Selkirk College as an instructor in 2004 and eventually decided to take on the expanded leadership role as Chair of the Business Program. In only a few years as Chair, her department grew exponentially from a team of three to eight people to support the growth of international students in the Business Program.

This was a very challenging time as it meant not only mentoring new staff, but also making changes to curriculum – ways of delivering, testing, and interacting – while continuing to support seasoned faculty members in this new era of instructing large numbers of international students. Snauwaert led her team with clear guidance and expectations all while keeping her eye on what was most important, our students and her faculty.

Snauwaert always had a line of students waiting for her counsel. She dealt with disciplinary issues, swiftly, and fairly.  She took the time needed to ensure students were getting their needs met in all ways.  Snauwaert had some very challenging issues with some students – she is exceptional at using the policy to guide her decisions as well as good common sense and some creative solutions.  Students who were in some challenging times left her office feeling confident they could make the changes needed to move forward. 

“Tiffany has a calm and reassuring presence and works tirelessly to ensure that students within the Business program are getting the support they need to meet their goals both within Selkirk College and beyond,” say her colleagues.

Snauwaert’s role on Education Council (EdCo) has been absolutely stellar. She has made significant changes to the way in which that essential committee runs. She also participated in many EdCo sub-committee’s working on various tasks, and Snauwaert, in her organized and professional way, ensured actions were completed and progress was made toward completion. Snauwaert’s leadership on this committee was nothing short of incredible.

“Tiffany is a great role model, mentor and leader,” say her colleagues.  “Her leadership skills continue to bring the Business faculty together as a strong, cohesive team.”

Snauwaert’s work on the Business Program’s re-alignment of course and learning objectives has enhanced the reputation of Selkirk College’s Business Program within the Canadian post-secondary system and also globally.

“Tiffany is committed to Selkirk College, students and faculty.  She works tirelessly on behalf of all of us, supporting us to reach new professional goals as well as programming outcomes. She does all of this with a wicked sense of humour.”