Almost Intelligent

If You Are Here You Took A Wrong Turn On The Internet

Faculty Author Week

leave a comment »

This past week the UNB Bookstore was host to Faculty Author Week, which ran from Monday to Friday and featured professors from both UNB and St. Thomas. Thirteen professors, including St. Thomas’ Dr. Gayle MacDonald and Phillip Lee presented their works at the event. This was the third edition of Faculty Author Week. It was held previously in September 2007 and February 2008. Kim Richard, the Event Coordinator and Trade Book Manager, was in charge of organizing the week’s presentations. She feels that it is a great opportunity for students and others to discover a different dimension of their professors.

“I think that we have fantastic professors on both campuses, and I think that it’s really great for students as well as coworkers and colleagues to get a chance to find out what they’re doing for research.”

Bringing this together is a matter of schedule juggling for Richard, although she says it was not a very complicated process.

“What I do is just put out a notice asking if the professors are interested, then they contact me saying yes they want to read and I ask them to give me a day and time that is best for them. And it’s actually worked out, there’s only a few that I’ve really had to jiggle around.”

Richard was encouraged by the response to this year’s Faculty Author Week, calling it “the best yet” and feels that “people just didn’t really know about it before, and I think they weren’t sure what the professors were going to talk about. Would it be like a class? Would there be a test on it? But I think they are really interested to see their professors as researchers.”

Dr. Gayle MacDonald of the Sociology Department read and discussed excerpts from her book Sex Workers in the Maritimes Talk Back, an unblinking look at the sex trade through the eyes of the people who make their living from it. The presentation’s atmosphere was both frank and easygoing. The passages from the book were incisive and often disarmingly funny. Cookies, M&Ms and coffee gave the entire proceeding an informal feel. Afterward, Dr. MacDonald discussed the importance of this kind of forum in a brief interview.

“The importance of a forum like this is to reach out to the university communities. We all know our own work; we don’t often know the work of others. Students often hear about our work tangentially. Even if we teach from our publications, we often draw in other work to contextualize our own writing. For my students, they see me wearing a different ‘hat’, the researcher hat. It gives them a different connection to me, as they can then quiz me on my presentation. In the classroom, too often it’s the other way around. I commend the bookstore for these forums. It benefits the audience, the professor and the work.”

Students were not shy about quizzing Dr. MacDonald, asking questions about the book and the research methods behind it for a good fifteen minutes after the end of the presentation. One of those students was Joelle Lafargue, in her fourth year of Sociology. She echoed the sentiments of Kim Richard and Dr. MacDonald.

“I think this week is a really good idea, because a lot of the time professors that come in and teach us but we don’t really get a sense of what they study themselves or what their expertise is. Its actually a lot more helpful to someone, and to me as a sociology student, to know what my professor does, and what their research methods are. It kind of gives a bit of a glimpse into how academics work and what they’re studying, and to see the fruits of their efforts.”

Advertisements

Written by Colin Hodd

April 16, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Posted in Print

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: