Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but my family moved back to Canada when I was two years old. I lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario and then we moved to Edmonton when I was 10. After high school, I went straight through post-secondary to get a PhD. I attended The King’s University in Edmonton and then transferred to the University of Alberta where I earned a BA in political science. I did an MA in political science at Carleton University in Ottawa and then returned to the U of A to do my PhD. I worked a variety of different jobs to support myself through school, mostly doing work as a research or teaching assistant or in public policy. But I did work for over four years in a hospital laundry, which is a tough job. I still have muscle memory for folding towels and hospital gowns. I came to ULethbridge on a ten-month contract: the job market for fresh PhD graduates in political science wasn’t great and the University took a chance on me! It was a good fit: I am passionate about liberal education and quality undergraduate teaching and these are both important things at ULethbridge.
How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I have been at ULethbridge for 25 years. As the senior leader for both the Library and the School of Liberal Education, my responsibilities right now are administrative; it’s my job to make sure that the amazing staff of the Library and the School of Liberal Education have the things they need to do their jobs. It’s also my job to make sure we keep focused on serving our university community – especially students – to the best of our abilities. Much of my day consists of attending meetings, checking and making decisions about our budgets, participating in and learning from the various Library consortia to which the University belongs, and reading and sending emails. There is always email. As a political scientist, my administrative responsibilities mean I interact with students much less than I used to, which is something I miss, as I love teaching. I still work a little bit on research on political parties and election finance in Canada, when time allows.
What is the best part of your job?
For me, it’s the people. The Library and the School of Liberal Education are both full of incredibly dedicated people who really care about their work. It’s fun to work with people who love what they do. Both units care very much about serving students and the student experience, which is what has always motivated me, so I love the chance to spend time with people who care about the same things I do. It’s satisfying to walk through the Library or by a Liberal Education class and to see students there.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love playing board games! I have too many of them and not enough time to play them, but I enjoy getting together with friends around a table for an evening of playing strategy games. Growing up in Edmonton, I am a big fan of the Edmonton Oilers and try to watch them play as much as possible. I also love high-quality prestige television shows; The Wire is my favourite TV show of all time. And I love cooking.