Photo credit: Holly Chute     

Please note that I am on sabbatical for the 2016-2017 academic year, and will not be teaching.  Questions about the Women’s and Gender Studies programme and courses should be directed to Riley Olstead, Programme Coordinator.

Are you interested in Women’s and Gender Studies?  Check out the Advising Week Presentation for WMGS, 2016-2017.  Be sure to watch it in slideshow view so that you can click on the links to students talking about why Women’s and Gender Studies is important to them and their degrees!

Would you like to ask me for a reference?  Please read this first.

For almost as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher.  To imagine being a university professor was outside of my realm of daydreaming when I first assumed my enduring alter-ego (Miss Oaks) in my early years at school and subjected my little sister to Miss Oaks’ stern teachings and piles of homework.  While Miss Oaks and Dr. Hurst receive the same complaints about our classes - too much reading, too-high expectations, too much work - my student evaluations show that students also recognize and appreciate my enthusiasm, expertise, and organization.

I am engaged in continual open reflection on my teaching in order to grow as an educator and learner, which has been inspired by a number of opportunities to study pedagogy in higher education.  I completed the University Teaching Practicum as well as the graduate-level credit course titled “UTAL 5000: University Teaching and Learning” at York University, I hold a Certificate in University Teaching and Learning from Simon Fraser University, I completed the Instructional Skills Workshop,  and I was employed from 2004-2007 as the Teaching Development Graduate Assistant for the Social Sciences Division at York University, where I offered teaching-related programming and support for teaching assistants.  

I teach and have designed the following courses in the Women’s and Gender Studies Programme at StFX:

  1. WMGS 100: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (offered in 2015-2016)

  2. WMGS 205: Gender, Sexuality and the Body (offered in 2015-2016)

  3. WMGS 232: Gender and Popular Culture (offered in 2015-2016)

  4. WMGS 303: Feminist Theory (offered in 2015-2016)

  5. WMGS 346: Critical Race and Sexuality Studies in Canada (not offered in 2015-2016) 

As an interdisciplinary educator, I offer a wide range of learning opportunities in my classes, including small and large group discussion focused on readings and/or films; individual, pair, and group presentations; conventional lectures; exams and tests; online interaction; and essays.  I have a passion is for integrating creative work into teaching and learning; a few examples of creative methods I use include paper slide presentations, creating short digital videos, and creatively responding to popular culture through song, spoken word, writing, art, video, or photography.

My teaching also includes supervision of undergraduate students.  I teach WMGS 400: Research Methods Seminar, which is a six-credit independent project where students write a major research paper in the fall semester and complete a practicum in the winter semester.  This course is a requirement for students pursuing an Advanced Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

I have supervised the following WMGS 400 students:

Holly Chute, major research paper, “Wisdom and Skillful Means: Navigating Privilege Through Allyship and Buddhist Practice,” and practicum facilitating discussions between feminist and Buddhist communities in Antigonish.  2012-2013.

Victoria McNeil, major research paper, “Canadian Blood Services: Discrimination of MSM,” and practicum organizing “Why Women’s and Gender Studies? conference for students at StFX.  2011-2012.

Kathleen Thompson, major research paper, “Exalted Subjects and the Power of Representation in Pamela Masik’s The Forgotten,” and practicum organizing the “Strut for Safety” campus safety and accessibility audit with WMGS 100 students Rory Begin and Sam Krawec.  2010-2011.

I have also supervised or served on the committee of the following Honours thesis students:

Kaitlin Pierce (second reader, supervisor Shiraz Dossa), Sexuality and Imperialism: Gay Rights and Racial Difference.  Political Science honours thesis, 2014-2015.

Elizabeth O’Brien (co-supervised with Nancy Forestell), Fatness, Femininity and the Female Teenage Body.  History honours thesis, 2011-2012.

Jean Ketterling (co-supervised with Clare Fawcett), Mediation Between Mainstream Perceptions of Feminism and Contested Sexuality.  Anthropology honours thesis, 2010-2011.

Ellen Taylor (second reader; supervisor Riley Olstead), Erasing the Feminine: Men’s Experiences of Self in Initiation Rites.  Sociology honours thesis, 2010-2011.

In 2014-2015, I worked on two new teaching endeavours!  First, I was one of three professors teaching in the first cohort of the Social Justice Colloquium (with Clare Fawcett and Bob Zecker).  You can like the Social Justice Colloquium on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!  In 2015-2016, I will be teaching in the SJC again, (with Susan Vincent, Mikael Haller, and Rhonda Semple). And second, I was the faculty leader for the Harford Village, Grenada Immersion Service Learning Trip, which focuses on peace-building and is hosted by Maureen St. Clair.  As a faculty leader, I assisted with interviewing prospective students, facilitated meetings with my group focusing on the history and politics of Grenada (particularly the 1983 US invasion and the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade) and issues of privilege and oppression, and traveled with the students during the February reading week.  In 2015-2016, I am excited to develop a proposal for an Honours programme in Women’s and Gender Studies with my friend and colleague, Charlene Weaving.  We hope to launch the Honours programme during the 2017-2018 academic year - so stay tuned! 

Related news

“Capacity crowd participates in educational forum on sexual violence.”  StFX News, February 2, 2015.

“Faculty Profile: Dr. Rachel Hurst - Opening Learning Opportunities.” StFX Alumni News, Summer 2014, p. 15.

“‘Doing feminist theory through digital video’ project deepens student learning, research paper finds.” StFX News, 23 July 2014.

“New website launching April 4 showcases student voices, feminist theory, and unique Service Learning project.”  StFX News, 2 April 2013.

“StFX introduces Social Justice Colloquium for first year Bachelor of Arts Students.”  StFX News, 29 November 2012. 

“Women’s and Gender Studies students present papers at UPEI conference.”  StFX News, 31 January 2011.