The newest head of Lady Eaton College (LEC), Lindsay Morris, sits down with Arthur for an exclusive interview to introduce herself to the Trent community. She talks about all aspects of her life, starting from how she came to be where she is now.
Can you give us a brief background?
I am from a small village outside of Stratford, Ontario. I grew up on a dairy farm with 80 dairy cows, and pigs. It was a great experience growing up in the country, on a farm. I came to Peterborough just about a year ago.
Your roadmap to where you are at, today?
My first plan was to be an elementary school teacher. That brought me to my undergraduate degree, which was a concurrent education from Wilfrid Laurier University.
It was there I got involved, first with my student government holding executive positions. From there I made my next step and became employed with the student affairs department. I hosted events, planned student conferences, student orientation, and variety of other capacities, leadership development and diversity training.
I came to a realization that being a educator doesn’t happen in the traditional classroom where student are sitting at the desk and teacher in front of the room, and my idea of concurrent education started to evolve.
I found that what I was doing in my role was very educational based as well. So I decided to pursue a career in students’ affairs.
I started out with a role in Blackburn Hall, working in the office of students’ affairs as a campus and co-curricular programs coordinator.
What are your achievements so far?
Just the idea of being able to move from Wilfrid Laurier where I was very comfortable, to Trent, and still be successful, and that my skills were transferable and are successful elsewhere.
But the biggest highlight in my professional career so far had been presenting at a conference at UFT last year, worked with colleagues both from Wilfrid Laurier and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). It was a great learning experience because it was the first time I had ever presented for a national conference.
What are you most passionate about?
When it comes to work, I am really passionate about helping students become engaged in their university experience. I was lucky enough that as a student I had staff members become mentors for me, and want give that experience to other students as well.
When it comes to passion outside of work, I am in the process of learning to cook more often, so I am passionate about cooking. I am really passionate about camping. I worked a lot through high school and university at a residential camp. I go back often just to support and help out.
But above all, I am just passionate about education; I am continually researching opportunities for my self to continue to educate myself, just ongoing learning for myself.
How do you feel about your position?
I love it. Every day is so busy in the best possible way. I feel that there is that constant reassurance that I am where I am supposed to be.
While it’s been a big learning curve, it’s been a great learning curve. Everybody has been helpful, people and the work that I am doing has just made the transition so wonderful for me.
The opportunities are endless. I think that LEC has been built on a really strong foundation so anything I am doing is enhancing what’s already there.
I think I have a really great opportunity to engage with upper year students in the college. I really want to work to get to know them and help them.
As a student I was really engaged with my career centre. They taught me how to network and to search for jobs after graduation, which has got me to where I am today.
And I want to be able to provide to work with the career centre here to provide those experiences for students so when they are leaving Trent, they know what their degree got them and what their co-curricular experiences got them and they feel confident. So I really want to focus on engaging with the upper year members of the college and really make them feel connected to the college. It is a big opportunity for me.
I want to spin the challenges into an opportunity as well. There is always going to be opportunity for me to continually learn about LEC.
The history of LEC is so rich and diverse that I am learning new things about the history everyday. The more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know, so you continue to learn.
What is LEC to you?
I consider LEC to be a place of personal expression and exploration, so opportunity to engage in things like art, music library that we have here, and explore artistically.
Our expression, live and learn community, plays a lot to that. Engaging with the community is a huge part of who we are. Civic engagement is what you will see.
What is your motivation both, in your general life and profession?
I motivate myself! I have high expectations for myself. When I am at work, seeing the students around me often motivates me, but I would still say that I motivate myself, I am a very independent person.
Describe your typical working environment?
I often work with jazz music in the background. My door and windows are always open, so I hear students and know what is going on.
I often have many things going on at once. I like doing many things at once because it keeps my brain active.
Typical workday, I make sure to get up and walk through the college a couple times during the day. I am not sitting for a long period of time, I am up and moving and contributing to the atmosphere of the college.
Something Trent doesn’t know about you?
I have a music note tattoo behind my ear, and a tattoo of sun on my ankle.
The music note is there to remind me of my childhood, music being a big part of it. The sun is there to tell me that every day the sun rises, and it is a chance to start again. Every day is a new day.
So, who is your favourite singer?
Celine Dion. Her voice is the most powerful instrument that I have ever heard. She has real raw emotion in her voice.
What can we expect from you in times to come?
Trent community can look forward to see me reaching out to upper year students and help them in their transition out of university. I think sometimes we, rightfully so, focus a lot on transition into university, but I also want to spend energy focusing on transition “out”, because I think it is important.
Students can expect for opportunities to learn new skills from me, something that they know nothing about.
For instance, I have already committed to doing a workshop series in public speaking.
It is for students to gain confidence, weather that be in their class presentation, teaching placement or just everyday life.
I am always open to learning, I want to learn about what LEC means to the members of our community, so come and talk to me about what LEC means to you!