Favourite U of W Prof.

1.  Tracy Whalen / Alyson Brickey / Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land (Three-way tie)

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

1.  Tracy Whalen / Alyson Brickey / Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land (Three-way tie)

Dr. Tracy Whalen, an associate professor in the department of Rhetoric, Writing and Communications, is no stranger to being recognized for her teaching. She received the Faculty of Arts Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2014.

Nevertheless, Whalen says being voted Favourite University of Winnipeg (U of W) Prof by readers of The Uniter was really unexpected.

“First of all, I’m really surprised and delighted and honoured,” she says.

When asked why she thinks students voted for her, Whalen says that the word “vitality” came to mind.

“I think that there is a vitality and liveliness in the way that I teach,” Whalen says.

“Students just really get excited keeping company with a professor who is bringing timely, popular and public text into the classroom,” she says, adding that her department attracts many students.

The Newfoundland-born academic uses jazz as a metaphor for her teaching philosophy.

“You’ve got a starting point, you’ve got a structure, you’ve got a theme, but the really great part is how you play on that, and how a class becomes really unpredictable and playful,” she says.

“I can bring certain things to a class, but I know that it’s not complete, because someone’s going to respond in a certain way, and that’s going to take us off in all kinds of directions.”

According to Whalen’s U of W biography, her research focuses on “the affective dynamics of rhetoric, specifically moments of intensity or theatricality in literary and non-literary texts.”

Nevertheless, she emphasizes that her favourite part of her job is teaching.

“I love it,” she says.

Published in Volume 74, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 28, 2019)

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