Favourite U of W prof
1. Alyson Brickey
2. Jenny Heijun Wills / Tracy Whalen (tie)
Assistant professor of English Alyson Brickey says she is “thrilled, flattered and gobsmacked” to have been voted favourite U of W prof this year.
“It is so heartening and encouraging in the midst of this teaching semester being remote and much more distant and disconnected from students,” she says. “It was just a wonderful surprise to hear that they think I’m doing an okay job.”
Brickey says that while teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful, it has also been an opportunity for professors to be more deliberate about how they work with the materials in their classes and to think creatively and reflect on why they do and love the work that they do.
“It does feel meaningless sometimes to be thinking about 16th century literature or whatever we’re doing, but it’s also not. It can be a moment of reprieve in the midst of all of this,” she says.
“If I can help somebody gain a skill, that’s meaningful work, and if I can help someone move toward their own goals, that’s meaningful work. And I just love sitting around talking about art with people, and I get to do that, and I hope some students like that, too.”
She says while it’s great for students to have a good time in her class or make connections with classmates, her goal is always to ensure that students are able to move forward from her classes having gained a skill or tool.
“I think that U of W students are the best. I did my undergrad here, so I’m a bit biased, but I just thank them for voting for me, because I think they’re wonderful, incredible.
“It’s the students who are getting us through this and just always being surprising and creative with what they bring to class, and their energy, their willingness to help one another, and willingness to foster a collaborative thing in all of this,” she says. “It’s really to them that everything is owed, and I’m super, super honoured.”
Published in Volume 75, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 3, 2020)