Today we are featuring a post from faculty Dale Mayerson. Dale is faculty in our Food Service and Nutrition Management Program and has been a faculty member with CHA Learning for the last 12 years.
- Why do you enjoy the work you do as faculty?
I really enjoy seeing students develop their potential. Many students are already working in the field, and see things from their perspective. Being a manager means having a wider view, making staff a part of their team, seeing things to fix before they are really broken, and being on top of their game.
- What prompted you to become a faculty/EC for CHA Learning?
About 12 years ago, I started my job with the CHA, marking assignments for the correspondence course and I really enjoyed helping upcoming nutrition managers. I felt like I was “paying it forward” in honour of all the people who helped me through my career. Being able to write the quality improvement section of the new online course was really interesting, including coming up with the case studies, mostly from my own experience, and turning it all into something useful.
- How has your role changed since you began working as faculty/education consultant??
I used to have assignments mailed to me and I would mark them and send them back. It was our only way of staying in touch with students. When email was started, we allowed students to email their assignments, and it got a little easier. Now with the online course format, it is much easier for everyone. I think the ongoing give and take between the students and me, as well as among the students, strengthens everyone’s learning. There is great sharing of different points of view.
- What are some strategies you see successful students using?
Successful students read legislation and try to puzzle out the bigger picture. They write clearly and concisely and make an effort to use good grammar and to correct spelling mistakes. They follow the rules for word counts and page counts. They know that ongoing learning is essential to building a career and even though they have great jobs when they start the program, they are looking for something with more challenges and more responsibility. Good students never stop looking for ways to improve.
- What makes a star student stand out from the crowd?
A star student is on time with big and small assignments, takes the work seriously and works through problems. A star student asks timely and logical questions and communicates with me when there is a problem.
- What time management tips do you have for students?
I caution students who don’t manage their time and their deadlines. Food service is a business with deadlines that need to be respected. If someone is managing their time in a way that does not allow for feedback on their progress in the program, I’m concerned. Initiative and responsibility are important characteristics, and every person in a management role needs to take these seriously.
My other suggestions for new FSNM managers are: Never turn down work, even if it’s volunteer, and try everything. If you can fit it into your schedule, then try it. You will eventually have the knowledge and skills to write articles, provide training and webinars, mentor students, be role models, be open to new experiences, and move into new career paths.
I want to impress on students the importance of working with staff as the head of the team and caring about the staff to make a warm, giving team to the clients who are the recipients of all our work. Yes, you are the boss, but everyone shares the work. Managers look great only when their staff does great work.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak up and share your unique views as a manager in a healthcare facility. For your personal growth, keep networking, go to meetings, conferences and attend webinars to keep learning.
- How has your role as an EC/faculty impacted your professional career?
The role that I have now with CHA Learning feels more professional, and I am enjoying the new format of the program. I love working with students, reading about their points of view, and watching them grow. Even if I never see their faces, I feel like I have a positive impact on their lives.
- What actions do you take to further your own professional development?
I worked as a supervisor for 20 years, and then I was able to go back to school (at age 39 and with 2 small children) and graduated from Ryerson’s dietitian program.
For ongoing learning, I wrote the exam for Certified Diabetes Educator, and just recently, took an online certificate course in Teaching and Training Adults. I’ve written 2 manuals, one is “Clinical Care Manual for Nutrition Managers” and the other I’ve co-authored entitled “Menu Planning in Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes: A Comprehensive Guide”. I’ve sold both books across Canada. I teach PSWs who work in homecare, and in Continuing Education at George Brown College. I’m also involved in a course at Humber College. My 40+ year career went from food service supervisor to Nutrition Manager to dietitian to teacher. I’ve really had an amazing career.
CHA Learning and HealthCareCAN would like to express our appreciation for the work that Dale Mayerson has brought to our Food Service and Nutrition Management Program (FSNM). Dale Mayerson has been an instructor at CHA Learning for the past twelve years; she has been committed to our student’s success. Dale brings a wealth of experience from her career as a Food Service Supervisor, Dietitian and an Education and Quality Coordinator. This is reflected in her course material and her student support and mentoring.