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"Kathleen was able to create a safe environment of learning and exploration that was creative and empowering. But I think the trait that was most important to me was her passion for the learning process and her ability to impart this to our group."

- Faculty member, Vancouver Island University

"I was drawn to Kathleen not only because she is articulate and knowledgable, but also because she seemed genuine about wanting me to succeed and achieve my goals."


-Student, Vancouver Island University

Photo Credit: Cayla Neil

I am a teaching and learning specialist with Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL).  Working in academic development at a teaching-focused university, I collaborate with faculty, staff and students to uncover problems, seek solutions, and create new and innovative paths to teaching and learning.  As part of my position, I also work alongside learning technology support specialists to merge principles of effective teaching with online environments. 


I have a PhD in Education from the University of Victoria.  Broadly, my doctoral research looked at how course design changes when courses move from traditional classroom settings to community-based experiences.  I completed a SoTL project that investigated what happens when students, instructors and institutions acknowledge community expertise and invite community members into the curriculum as co-educators.  For this reason, I am interested in community-based teaching, learning and research and in looking more closely at the intersections of community engagement, place-based teaching and student success.

Like many, I didn’t set out to be an educational developer, but came to this place somewhat unexpectedly through my experiences in higher education teaching and research.  When I reflect on how I came to be here, however, it all makes sense.  Educational development brings together so much of what I value as an educator and a researcher: teaching, collaboration, interdisciplinarity, relationships, trust, transformation. Leaders in teaching and learning occupy a unique space on the higher education landscape, and within this space lies so much potential for innovation and transformation. I never know exactly where this field will take me.  And that’s why I love it.

I am a mother. I like to be outside, swimming in cold water.  The colder, the better. I sometimes run early in the morning.  I paint, but most people think my paintings were done by my children.   I'm currently obsessed with all things Iceland.   

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