Glendon’s School of Public & International Affairs signs Ontario partnership

A partnership agreement between the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario and the Glendon School of Public & International Affairs (GSPIA) was signed by Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts and French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau at Glendon May 11. This agreement will allow a graduate student enrolled in Glendon’s bilingual Master’s in Public & International Affairs (MPIA) Program to complete a four-month placement with the commissioner’s office during the summer months.

The first person to benefit from this internship opportunity is Bethan Dinning, a graduate student in Glendon’s MPIA Program who will work as a policy analyst at the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario until August 28. “This office plays a central role in the delivery of French language services [in Ontario] and I hope to contribute to it by putting into effect my acquired knowledge in the field of official language policies in the Franco-Ontarian context,” said Dinning.

Right: François Boileau (left), Bethan Dinning and Kenneth McRoberts

This partnership is a concrete example of the possibilities of studying at the master’s level in French in Toronto, while also completing an internship within a public institution that works primarily in French. “We are able to offer our bilingual students this excellent opportunity to apply their knowledge gained throughout the year and acquire skills in a francophone work environment that is directly linked to their field of studies,” said McRoberts.

McRoberts emphasized the truly bilingual experience the Glendon campus offers with all faculty and staff functioning in both official languages. “The new bilingual GSPIA and its MPIA Program reinforce Glendon’s original mandate, with students obliged to take at least one-third of their studies in each language,” said McRoberts.

“The [current] agreement introduces bilingual students to the possibilities of pursuing a career in the provincial public service and to have access to the government of Ontario, an employer of choice,” said Boileau. “It also demonstrates how serious our office is about supporting education.” Boileau pointed to Glendon as an important place of bilingual education in Toronto and thanked McRoberts for proposing the internship as a benefit to all concerned.

“The commissioner’s office is proud of this agreement with Glendon and delighted with Bethan Dinning as its candidate – an exceptional, well-prepared student who will be an important participant in the five-person team she is joining,” added Boileau.

Left: François Boileau (left) and Kenneth McRoberts shake hands on the partnership

Dinning hails from Port Coquitlam, BC. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a BA (magna cum laude) in political science and a second-language certification in French. She arrived to the Glendon MPIA having already explored an interest in development and foreign aid. Through the Glendon courses, these interests have broadened to include new areas of study as a result of talking with professors and classmates. A well-rounded person, she was a member of BC’s 2003 Canada Games curling team, as well as the recipient of a Stars of the City Award in Ottawa for outstanding customer service in 2006.

Choosing the right candidate for the internship was a rigorous procedure and involved the same selection process as all other civil service positions. Among the skills required, computer skills, second-language skills and the capacity for analysis were salient.

Dinning will be providing research and analysis of complaint procedures and, as part of her mandate, will submit a report to the commissioner.

“The chance to stay in Toronto for the summer and yet continue to work bilingually was a great attraction for me,” said Dinning. She is also excited about working in a small team where she can make a difference and where her voice will be heard.

McRoberts and Boileau view this agreement as the first in a series over the coming years.

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny