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Catching up with our new Community Engagement and Learning Lead, Dr. Daniel Lumsden ’96

After a 20-year teaching career at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), Dr. Daniel Lumsden has added a new layer to his vocation as a Catholic educator.

In September 2022, Lumsden took over the leadership of the school’s Community Engagement and Learning Department, overseeing a programme that is now in its fifth year as an evolving school initiative.

Community Engagement and Learning programme with Dr. Daniel Lumsden

“I took on the position because I find that students learn best through experiential learning. It started with taking students overseas to visit alumni and business professionals, starting a speaker series, and implementing a flipped learning concept in my teachings,” says Lumsden. “Getting feedback from students after they graduate stating how valuable the experiential education opportunities were, informed me that I was headed in the right direction when it comes to student learning.”

The SMCS Community Engagement and Learning programme actively supports the development of key skill sets for student success in post-secondary pursuits and beyond. Through strategic partnerships with community members and organizations, the programme connects curriculum programming directly to real-world knowledge by taking classroom learning into the outside world.

Community Engagement and Learning programme with Dr. Daniel Lumsden

In Lumsden’s first few months on the job, he has already led many impactful initiatives to enhance student learning while continuing to teach part-time.

“I have two Grade 12 accounting classes this year, and I teach them both on the same day of the rotation, so that has been a tremendous help in my transition to this role,” says Lumsden. “Staying directly involved with students is important in this role. For years, I have integrated experiential learning in my classroom along with planning over 20 overseas student trips built on connecting the practical concepts they learned while travelling to the theory taught in the classrooms.”

A busy start to the year has resulted in plans for many initiatives in the second half, including several guest speakers, a revamped career day, a new partnership and student conference, and student-learning trips.

Community Engagement and Learning programme with Dr. Daniel Lumsden

Lumsden will oversee a University of Michigan business tour in January for more than 40 students to speak with business professors while watching a university sporting event and also tour the Ross School of Business.

In April, SMCS will be hosting its first all-black student conference, a one-day event that will look at black excellence and how we can further support black students in independent schools. The theme of the conference will be ‘brilliancy and resilience’.

Lumsden has also secured a partnership with Unity Health, teaming up with St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Providence Healthcare. Students will offer 90 hours of volunteer service over the summer months, engaged in everything from walking patients and telling them stories, to having a chance to also work on the business side of hospitals, including marketing and raising funds for charity.

Community Engagement and Learning programme with Dr. Daniel Lumsden

“We are working to provide the best opportunities for student learning inside and out of the classroom,” says Lumsden. “It starts with the parent and alumni networks. Those are the relationships we must establish first to grow this department. The alumni network is strong, and we have to take advantage of that.”

He adds, “We aim to bring a different lens to education, working on a student’s transformative skills while bringing the world into and outside the classroom. Our vision is to graduate young men who will change the world through lives of faith, character, and service. In doing so, we need to prepare them to be strong global citizens, and that starts by giving them experiences outside the classroom.”

Related links:

Community Engagement and Learning at SMCS

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