Coordinating the SPSC Diploma
Lara started working as a SPSC faculty member in September 2004. She became the SPSC Diploma’s coordinator in 2014 and the department’s fourth chair in 2016.
As the diploma coordinator, Lara worked with the registrar’s office and the admission officer to admit students into the SPSC Diploma program. She created the informational PowerPoint for all of the faculty to use at the information sessions on the Diploma (which were once per month at the David Lam and New Westminster campus); she also worked with the SPSC Placement Coordinator to look at students’ GPAs to make sure they were on track and moving through the program.
Around September 2015, Lara started a new motion: she began a program-specific orientation – an inaugural event where students could meet faculty and learn about what it would be like to be a SPSC student, the technicalities of course registration and planning, and so on. In the following years, Lara also created an activity called “Registration 2.0” – a session intended to guide students through their long-term academic education plans; it acted as a checkpoint where students could talk with the faculty and the student council about any changes or concerns in their academic progression.
When she became the faculty chair, Lara carried out many duties now undertaken by Ken; they included constructing course schedules, faculty workloads, and ensuring the SPSC department’s functioning at large.
Kicking Off Kinesiology
Of the courses she has taught, Lara is especially proud of SPSC 3154 (Integrated Movement Analysis), an elective for the BPEC program’s kinesiology specialization.
The course was developed as part the College’s larger curriculum articulation effort with the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK). Lara, who led the articulation process, worked with the Association to ensure that the courses offered by the SPSC program satisfied the BCAK’s standards. This match-up allowed BPEC students with the kinesiology specialization to directly apply for the BCAK membership after graduation (as opposed to a more convoluted application process without the degree).
When she left Douglas College, Lara communicated the following message to fellow colleague Karine Hamm (who took on the course): “This [SPSC 3154] is a very Lara Duke course, in terms of how I approach things. You are obligated to keep nothing.”
Douglas was the first college to offer students the option of a streamlined pathway into the BCAK. Read more about the achievement here.
Developing (More) Labs
Apart from her contributions to the SPSC department’s kinesiology sector, Lara also played a major role in renovating lab spaces at the College.
She led two out of three Sport Science lab renovations: the second-floor lab at the New Westminster campus, and the lab at the David Lam campus (the first lab, on the New Westminster campus’ first floor, was developed by Ken). Working with IT personnel, lab facilitators, and other SPSC faculty clusters, Lara drafted drawings for these labs and proceeded with their realization.
Lara was also part of the partnership program project with Shanghai Normal University in the 2010s (read more here), after the two institutions first established their relations in the 90s.
Lara left the College in 2019. She is currently the dean of the Faculty of Global and Community Studies at Capilano University.
“[The SPSC program] went from a very applied small family, small town feel…and evolved into a department of really committed academics. It lost the small town feel a bit…did it become a big city? Maybe a moderate-sized city.”
– Lara, musing over the SPSC program’s growth