Independent Researcher & Part-time Professor
University of Ottawa
Sector: Education and Training
Type: Career Profile
English & Language Arts, History & World Studies
The essay writing class that I teach is REQUIRED for all first year students. As a result, my challenge is to make them GLAD that they had to take it. My favourite part of my job is meeting keen, intelligent students. They are motivated about their own university career and know what they want to do and how to get there. I find it sad that many students have no idea what they are doing in university and are only there because they think they need to get a BA to get a job. Even sadder are the students who are still doing what their parents tell them to do rather than what they love.
I began my career path by wanting to be a writer, which I am doing in my research career. I also support my research career by making money as an editor. Little known fact: You need to be a better writer than any of the people you are editing in order to help them make their writing better. I never imagined when I started my PhD that I would also enjoy teaching. I've been a non-fiction editor since 1989, so teaching essay writing comes quite naturally.
If you are going to get a PhD, get it ASAP; don't wait until you are in your 40s.
I read a LOT, both for my job and for pleasure. I also make quilts, which makes use of the sewing skills I learned in school. I make quilts for people with cancer for Victoria's Quilts Canada and sometimes I also make them for family and friends.
I work on a contract basis, teaching essay writing to first-year students. I also research the history of Canadian book publishing on my own, for which I have to find my own funding.
In my teaching career, I use a Learning Management System (LMS) called Brightspace, which provides a closed website just for my class. With this technology, I can share my lecture slides, videos, assignments, etc., with my class, In turn, my students can upload their assignments for me to mark.
When I put on my independent researcher hat, then I use my writing and editing skills in MS Word as well as my researching skills. The research itself is the least technical part of my job because the period I specialize in is 1960 to 1980. During this time, we had no computers and no Internet. To research this era, I go to the archives and look at old papers such as letters, memos, reports, newspaper articles, etc.
When I was
- Literature & Language Arts
- Home Economics
- Business & Economics
- Computer Science
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Liked reading
- Was really creative
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
- Learned best “by doing”