I took a trip to Queens University last week with OCUFA’s Senior Policy Analyst Karen Wheeler, who also chairs OCUFA’s Status of Women committee. We were on a “listening tour,” to visit the university campus and to speak with women academic staff, librarians, and faculty about the challenges they faced as women at the university. I was surprised to hear how many barriers women in the workforce continue to face, even the smart and professional women I was able to meet on the tour. Most of all, I was surprised at myself. After three years in a university setting, I was still unable to recognize the power relations present in that environment and the impact these relations have on equity. Kingston was also beautiful; it was nice to be out of the city for a little while and to walk along the water. All in all, I have learned a great deal from the tour, and a few life lessons I hope to take with me when I enter the workforce.
Back in the city, I was right downtown again in no time. On Saturday , I attended OCUFA’s annual Teaching Awards luncheon at the Fairmount Royal York. It was inspiring to hear from professors who love sharing their subject area with their students and are committed to building classrooms that help their students to excel. The citations read about the recipients was my favourite part of the event; it was great to hear the anecdotes that brought to life each recipients unique teaching style. The award is a reminder that teaching at universities should be recognized and rewarded when it is done well; after all, it is not easy. I also loved the lunch, the soup in particular. If anyone says there is no such thing as a free lunch, then they haven’t been an OLIP intern.