In the midst of the hustle and bustle of assignments and deadlines, it can be easy to forget that part of university is about broadening your mind and making meaningful connections with professionals in the field.
That is why Peter Gzowski College is running the Enweying event for the second year in a row. “We think extraordinary ideas are constantly changing and it’s so much fun to hear what all of these different people are working on,” said Brenna Farren, Gzowski College Community Liaison.
It is being held on Saturday, January 23, from 9:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m.
This year’s event, Enweying 2016: An Event About Extraordinary Ideas, features nine Trent professors from a variety of departments; Rhonda Smith and Barry Saville from the Forensic Science Department, Christopher Dummitt from the Canadian Studies and History Departments, Nadine Changfoot from Political Science, Dan Longboat and James Wilkes from Indigenous Studies, Eric Sager from Environmental Resources and Indigenous Environmental Studies, Robyne Hanley-Dafoe of the Psychology Department as well as the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
According to Farren, each faculty member will have 15 minutes to talk about what they are interested in and passionate about.
“They are nominated based on their passion, their connections with students outside the classroom, and their general ability to make a student sit back and go ‘wow’,” said Farren.
Arthur was able to contact a few of the professors speaking at Saturday’s event and find out what their passions are and a little bit about how they connect to the Trent student community outside of class hours.
Dummitt is a Trent alumnus and current professor. He teaches first year history and many upper year Canadian history courses. He spoke at last year’s Enweying event and said he “loved it.”
Dummitt told Arthur he will be speaking about his book The People Unfooled: Mackenzie King’s Secret Life and the Making of an Irreverent Democracy, and his various passions about Canadian history.
“I have been obsessed with Mackenzie King’s secret life and what the revelations about it in the 1960s and 1970s tell us about how Canadians came to treat their political leaders much less deferentially,” explained Dummitt.
“I’m starting a new book on the history of the (first) Trudeau government’s Omnibus bill that reformed the criminal code back in 1969. This was the reform that decriminalized homosexuality and birth control, and partially opened up abortion law. It strikes me as a real turning point in modern Canadian history,” he said.
Dummitt often organizes field trips for Canadian Studies students to the McMichael gallery and often engages with students that need help or are eager to learn more.
Hanley-Dafoe, a post-secondary teacher still involved in the elementary school community, is speaking at this event for the first time.
She is passionate about students as a whole, but more specifically their learning experiences and connecting with them on an intellectual level.
“I absolutely love designing my courses for students to be successful. There is a terrific blend of optimal challenge, rigour, and course curriculum that motivates and challenges my students to achieve deep and lasting learning. So much of what we see and hear comes and goes with little anchoring. I believe we must connect learning to life, to our own values, and sense of self then, it is with us for a lifetime,” she told Arthur.
Smith has been teaching at Trent since 2009, and as a lawyer, she teaches law to the students taking forensics courses. This is her first year participating in the event.
Although she teaches in law, she is passionate about active learning.
“My talk is entitled: The Space Between You and I: Connecting in Undergraduate Education. The general gist of the talk is about the importance of being actively involved in our own learning, owning our thoughts, and connecting with others to facilitate our own excellence.
I am really passionate about encouraging students to develop through sharing their thinking with others,” Smith said.
She connects with students during her office hours and offers assistance to those aspiring to go on to law school. She hopes to bring back the Pre-Law Society that was started at Trent some years ago.
“I am excited to be part of Enweying this year – I love the fact that it translates to ‘the way we speak together,’” shared Smith.
“Often how we speak to each other is the space between us and rather than seeing it as a linear ‘back and forth,’ I want us to see it as a space that is three-dimensional – it expands and contracts, changes shape, and encompasses room for many voices.”
And Hanley-Dafoe emphasizes that even in the academic world, we are stronger when we work together.
“[W]e are a community of learners and our ideas and knowledge are strongest when we respect one another and are humble enough to learn from one another,” she said.
Dummitt said he wants students to come out to this event because it will allow students to connect with and see their professors in a way that they wouldn’t normally be able to in a classroom setting.
Enweying 2016 is a free event; all you have to do is pick up tickets in your affiliated college office to reserve a spot for the day. There will also be catering provided by Black Honey and door prizes.