Cam Symons

Dr. Cam SymonsTitle

Dr. Cam Symons
Associate Professor


Ph.D. The University of Manitoba.  May, 2003.  Thesis:  Organizational Learning in a Small Secondary School Under Duress.
Master of Education.  The University of Manitoba.  May, 1992.   Thesis: The Ecology of Achievement: A Case Study of John Norquay Collegiate.
Bachelor of Education.  (English/Counselling)  Lakehead University.  May, 1978.
Bachelor of Arts (Honours). The University of Manitoba.  October, 1976.

Areas of Interest

Topics of current research work include Millenial generation students and effective pedagogies for serving this group of learners; and inclusive education for students with exceptionalities.

Dr. Symons has shared his research on Millenial generation learners in the post secondary environment through presentations to university faculty and students.   In the area of inclusive education, this summer saw the publication of the revised second edition of The Exceptional Teachers’ Casebook, following the sale of the first printing of 1300 copies.  In this document, each of 70 unique conditions is covered with a brief description, an inventory of symptoms or indicators, and a list of classroom strategies for the teacher of this student.   The Manitoba Teachers’ Society now uses this document as a part of their workshops for beginning teachers in Manitoba.

Another recent research undertaking has been in the form of a five-year longitudinal study of individuals who graduated as teachers in May of 2004. These new teachers were interviewed at the end of each school year. Summer of 2009 saw the completion of interviews with this cohort of teachers at the end of their fifth year. The study revealed that for most of its participants, a feeling of efficacy and competence in teaching took four years to develop.  Risk and resiliency factors for beginning teachers were also a major focus of this work.

Doctoral Research

Organizational Learning Under Duress

Dr. Symons’ doctoral thesis was a study of a small school in a single industry community faced with the threat of abandonment by the town’s only employer. Through examining documentary sources and conducting interviews with students, staff and community members, the study tracked the organizational learning processes at play during a six year period. A number of variables were investigated in terms of their effect on organizational learning. These included the Department of Education, leadership, community, culture, vision, and strategy. A brief summary of this research has been published in the Journal of Leadership in Education, December, 2005.

Other Research Areas of Interest

Classroom Based Assessment

Assessment in schools is undergoing a theoretical revolution with the work of Wiggins & McTighe, Black & Wiliam, Stiggins, O’Connor, Davies, Cooper and others. Exploring practical ways of implementing sound assessment practices in classrooms is an area of continuing interest.

Ethical and legal issues in counselling and administration:

This has become a critical issue for all school personnel in the past few years, driven in part by legislation respecting freedom of information and protection of privacy. Dr. Symons has provided inservicing to Manitoba educators on these topics and some of this work is included in the Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association book – Ethical Decision Making 2006: A Resource Manual for School Counsellors. 

Comprehensive guidance programs in Canada

Dr. Symons has delivered presentations at the National Consultation on Career Development in Ottawa entitled: “Redesigning Career Counselling” and “Comprehensive Guidance Programs in Canada: Best Practices.” He has also been able to contribute to the Manitoba Sourcebook for School Guidance and Counselling Services:  A Comprehensive and Developmental Approach  published by Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth in 2007.  This document is available on the web at: .


01:361 The Professional Teacher
04:253 Children with Exceptionalities (Early Years/Middle Years)
04:254 Adolescents with Exceptionalities (Middle Years/Senior Years)
04:301 Relationship Skills for Teachers
04:353 Evaluation and Assessment (Early Years/Middle Years)
04.354 Evaluation and Assessment (Middle Years/Senior Years)
04:451 Counselling for the Classroom Teacher
04:704 Guidance and Counselling: Intervention Strategies
04:709 Counselling Theory and Practice
04:710 Career Guidance
01:271/371/474/475 Student Teacher Supervision – Levels 1-4
04:711 Practicum in Counselling Supervision.
04:651 Practicum in Education Supervision
07:600 Project Supervision
07:603 Thesis Supervision

Historical Perspective

Dr. Symons’ career in Education began in Flin Flon where he was a counselor and teacher for three years.  He then worked in the Registrar’s Office at Lakehead University as a High School Liaison Officer for four years.  Returning to the school system, he worked in the Pembina Valley area as an itinerant counselor and teacher, which was followed by five years in the School District of Whiteshell in Pinawa.  His career at Brandon University began full time in 2000 after a few years as a sessional instructor in the summer sessions.  Since joining the University, Dr. Symons has had the opportunity to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, and to be a Student Advisor, Director of Field Experience, and in 2010/11, Acting Dean of the Faculty.


August, 2010 – June 2011.

Brandon University, Faculty of Education, Acting Dean.  Responsible for faculty workloads, timetable, budget, physical plant, support staff administration, internal and external communications, public relations, faculty and staff development, program administration and development.

April, 2004 – April, 2005.

Brandon University, Faculty of Education, Undergraduate Program Coordinator/ Student Advisor.  Providing academic advising and orientation programs to students.  Providing administrative support to the Dean relative to changes to the Bachelor of Education program, courses, timetabling, admissions and other issues.

May, 2002 – August, 2003.

Brandon University, Faculty of Education, Director of Field Experience.  Responsible for the administration of the Field Experience program which included the placement of approximately 350 student teachers in school classrooms in each of the four terms of their program.  Duties included making arrangements for supervision of field experiences, employment of supervising Faculty members, budget management, supervision of personnel, development and implementation of operational policies and procedures, and liaison with school divisions and their personnel.

September, 1995 – August, 2000.

School District of Whiteshell #2408.  Counsellor/Teacher.  Provided individual and group counselling services to students in grades seven to twelve.  Co-ordinated work experience programs, independent study programs, student initiated projects.  Developed and delivered short programs on career awareness, job search skills, suicide awareness, and job search, study skills, stress management, and other topics.  Developed and implemented full credit courses in Career Education and Lifeskills.  Taught grade eight mathematics and a grade eight course on software applications and web page design.

September, 1985 – June, 1995.

Pembina Valley School Division #27.  Counsellor/Teacher.  Provided individual and group counselling services to students grades seven to twelve.  Designed and delivered package programs on study skills, and other topics.  Taught Skills for Independent Living to grade eleven students.  Co-ordinated Peer Helper Training Programs for grades 6 – 12.  Developed critical incident plans for schools in the Division.  Co-ordinated Student Councils’ Training Seminars for high school students.  Presented programs for parents such as STEP Teen, educational planning and financial aid, and course selection for high school.  Organized the school’s annual Awards Night program.

January, 1982 – August, 1985.

Lakehead University.  Secondary School Liaison Officer, Senior Liaison Officer, Assistant Registrar Admissions (Acting).  Provided individual counselling and assistance to students and prospective students.  Organized high school visits by Liaison personnel; planned career days and high school counsellors’ seminars; and wrote copy for and managed publication of university information materials.  Communicated with faculty regarding quotas and admissions requirements and policy.  Held responsibility for admissions to Arts & Science faculties and later, Engineering, Nursing, Education and Social Work.

September, 1978 – June, 1981.

Flin Flon School Division #46.  Counsellor/Teacher.  Provided personal counselling services within the high school dealing with social emotional concerns, crisis intervention, and related tasks.  Developed and delivered a full credit course in the family studies or lifeskills area, as well as various package programs.

Research Papers & Publications


Symons, Cameron.  (2010)  The Exceptional Teachers’ Casebook:  Support Document for Children and Adolescents with Exceptionalities Second Edition.  Brandon:  Brandon University Professional Development Unit.

Symons, Cameron. (2008)  The Exceptional Teachers’ Casebook:  Support Document for Children and Adolescents with Exceptionalities.  Brandon:  Brandon University Professional Development Unit.  (1,200 copies sold).

Symons, Cameron.  (2006)  Examples of Information Sheets on Student Services:  School District of Whiteshell – Student Services.  in Ethical Decision Making 2006: A Resource Manual for School Counsellors.  Winnipeg:  Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association.  pp. 143-144

Symons, Cameron.  (2006)  Examples of Information Sheets on Student Services: Pinawa Secondary School Student Services:  Guidance Counselling. in Ethical Decision Making 2006: A Resource Manual for School Counsellors.  Winnipeg:  Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association.  pp. 145-146

Symons, Cameron.  (2005)  Facing Extinction: Organizational Learning in a Small Secondary School Under Duress.  Leadership and Policy in Schools.  4(4) December, 2005, 281-309.

Symons, Cameron. (2000) The Manitoba Pupil File Guidelines:  Ramifications for Counsellors.  Manitoba Journal of Counselling.   27(2) December 2000,  8-18.

Symons, Cameron.  (1999)  Redesigning Career Counselling.  Quebec Personnel and Guidance Association Newsletter.  10(2), 3-8.

Symons, Cameron. (1997) Redesigning Career Counselling.  Guidance and Counselling, 12(3), 7-12.

Symons, Cameron. (1993).  The Violent Intruder: An Early Warning Code for Schools.  The Canadian School Executive  12(8), 15-17.

Symons, Cameron.  (1993)  The Adult Child of an Alcoholic as Helper: Unique Aspects of Counsellor Stress.   Manitoba Journal of Counselling  20(1), 28-31.

Symons, Cameron. (1988).  Community Resources in Consulting.  Guidance and Counselling  3(4), 17-21.

Symons, Cameron. (1987).  Evaluation of Administrators.  Journal of Educational  Administration and Foundations 2(1), 52-54 .


Symons, Cameron.  (2010)  Designing your Guidance Program:  Ideas for Beginning Counsellors.  Invited presentation to counselling staff in Garden Valley School Division.  Winkler MB:  May 14, 2010.

Symons, Cameron.  (2010)  The Disability Experience:  Meeting the Needs of Exceptional Learners in the Regular Classroom.  Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children Conference 2010.  Winnipeg: February 19, 2010.

Symons, Cameron. (2010)  Classroom Based Assessment:  New Directions.   Invited presentation for University of Winnipeg Bachelor of Education students as part of the University of Winnipeg Education Students’ Society CHARGE Conference.  Winnipeg:  February 6, 2010.

Symons, Cameron. (2009)  iGen Comes to Class:  Teaching Millenial Generation Students in University Classrooms.  Brandon University Faculty of Health Studies.  October 20 & 27, 2009.

Symons, Cameron.  (2009)  iGen Comes to Class:  Teaching Millenial Generation Students in University Classrooms.  Brandon University (Faculties of Arts, Science, Music & Education).  November 17 & December 1, 2009.

Symons, Cameron. (2001)  Counsellor Records: Seeking Solutions.  Presented at the Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association Special Area Groups Annual Conference.  Winnipeg: October 19, 2001.  (This presentation has led to invitations to present this session in three other locations to school personnel representing a total of 9 Manitoba school divisions).

Symons, Cameron. (2001) Comprehensive Guidance Programs in Canada: Best Practices.  Presented at NATCON:  The National Consultation on Career Development.  Ottawa:  January 23-25, 2001.

Symons, Cameron.  (1999)  Redesigning Career Counselling and Career Education. Presented at NATCON:  The National Consultation on Career Development. Ottawa: January 25-28, 1999.

Sisler, Ann., Stevens, Bill., and Symons, Cameron.  (1997)  Suicide Awareness Activities for Junior High and High School Students.  Presented at Congress ’97: Canadian Council for Exceptional Children,  Winnipeg: February 28, 1997.


Member of consultation committee for the development of the provincial document:  Manitoba Education Sourcebook for Resource Services.  (2010)

Reviewer and Contributor to: Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth.  (2007) Manitoba Sourcebook for School Guidance and Counselling Services:  A Comprehensive and Developmental Approach.  Winnipeg:  Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth.

Cited in Manitoba Education & Training Curriculum Document:  Guidelines for Comprehensive Guidance in Manitoba,  November, 2002.   Reviewer and Contributor for 2006/2007 edition of this document.

(2000) Developed and delivered the first Brandon University offering of 04:568 – Ethical and Legal Issues for Counsellors.

(1997)  Career Education 31G. School Initiated Course.

(1997)  Human Development 31G. School Initiated Course.

(1997)  Topics – Grade Eight.  A School Initiated Course covering areas such as information technology, web-page design, entrepreneurship, and skills for life.


Corr, Dana.  (in progress)  Empowering Adolescent Girls: Effects of an Empowerment Program in Rural Manitoba.  Advisor

Frost, Jacqueline.  (in progress)  The Effectiveness of a School/Community Intervention Program in Preventing Summer Learning Loss for Inner City Children.  Reader 

DeGagne, Rick.  (in progress)  Self Directed Learning:  A Model for Program Delivery in Manitoba High Schools.  Advisor

Goldstone, Marian.  (in progress)  Non Verbal Learning Disability:  A Framework for Understanding and Teaching These Exceptional Students.  Advisor

Linski, Heather.  (2010)  Behaviour Disorders and the Gifted Paradox:  Strategies for the Classroom Teacher.  Advisor

Jardine, Lili.  (2009)  Students’ Success and Satisfaction with Online Learning:  An Examination of online Learning Systems for Secondary Schools in a Rural School Division in Southwest Manitoba.  Advisor

Kreshewski, John. (2008)  Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Supports in Special Education and Mainstream Settings.  Advisor

Cole, Darlene.  (2008)  A Protocol for Special Education Services.  Advisor.

McCannell, Jane.  (2005)  Helping Students Manage Their Anger Through the Use of Expressive Therapies.  Reader.

Maier, Derrick.  (2005)  Investigating Client Experiences of Intake Interview and Decisions Regarding Further Counselling.  Advisor.   

Phillips, Donald Lamar.  (2005)  An Analysis of Academic Support Services at Brandon University for Male Basketball Student-Athletes.  Reader.

Garson, Josie. (2005)  First Nations Guidance and Counselling:  Integration to Contemporary Times.  Reader.

Smith,  Kimberley Leslie.  (2004)  Silenced by Fate:  A Memoir of a Brother’s Disability. Advisor.

Kyle, Joanne.  (2004)  Implementing a Bullying Awareness Program in a Small Rural School. Reader.

McNabb, Elaine.  (2002)  The Experiences of Rural and Urban School Counsellors:  A Phenomenological Study.  Reader.

Houck, Kim.  (2001)  The Role of Junior High Counsellors as Perceived by Counsellors and Administrators.  Reader.