Shauna Oddleifson, BFA

(She, Her, Hers)

Communications and Marketing Specialist

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Office: CCS 177
Phone: 250.807.9864
Email: shauna.oddleifson@ubc.ca


Responsibilities

Faculty research promotion
Development of promotional material for recruitment purposes
Writing content for faculty, student and alumni profiles
Undergraduate and Graduate program promotion
Student Recruitment, graduate and undergraduate
Alumni Relations
Support for events in FCCS departments (promotions, logistics, planning)
Faculty wide event planning
FCCS websites updates and content creation
Social media content management

 

Kelly Doyle

Dr. Kelly Doyle

Dr. Kelly Doyle earned an Interdisciplinary PhD from UBCO in 2015. She is a member of the International Gothic Association, the Popular Culture Association of the South, and The Society for Cinema and Media Studies. A faculty member in Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)’s English department, she teaches horror fiction and film, critical theory, and university writing, and she chairs the search committee. She is an advisory board member, reviewer, author, and lead copyeditor for KPU’s official film studies publication, Mise-en-scène: The Journal of Film & Visual Narration. In her spare time, she can be found weightlifting, practicing calisthenics, or watching horror films!

We met up with Kelly to talk to her about her time here at UBC Okanagan and what she is doing now.

Tell us a bit about your dissertation.

Shortly after 9/11, there was a zombie renaissance in film and I became interested in understanding why. Using posthuman philosophy I explored how the figure of the zombie in horror films from 2001 to 2012 exposes and challenges the discursive formulation of what it means to be human in the context of historical events like 9/11: who can be othered, and to what end. I argued that exploring the limits of the human prompts a consideration of the human capacity for ethics and social justice since if boundaries do not hold between races, sexes, and species, it becomes impossible to justify sexism, speciesism, and racism in the world outside the screen. In films from 28 Days Later to Resident Evil to World War Z, there are mediations on American Exceptionalism, 9/11, genocide, and other touchstone societal anxieties that deserve close critical scrutiny.

Tell us about the road to earning your UBC degree and some highlights of your time here.

I chose to come because of Jodey Castricano. There was simply nobody else I wanted to work with who I felt could help me do my project justice. Tempering expectations living in a smaller place was difficult at first, but I wouldn’t trade the experience. I overcame challenges by seeking support from my supervisor and my new grad school friends. Nobody has the mental fortitude to get through grad studies alone! Highlights would be the long hours with friends in the grad student office, alternating serious work with serious silliness. Organizing the graduate student conference. The day I won a teaching award, and the day I successfully defended my dissertation with the support of my committee. FCCS faculty and friends in the defense room and outside of it. Social events with classmates and professors, and interesting but challenging classes.

Is there a professor that stands out as someone who made a difference and helped you along the way? 

My supervisor, Dr. Castricano was pivotal to my success. They believed in my project from the first email I sent and modelled professionalism, confidence, and success. Working with Dr. Stouck was also key to getting me where I am today. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Grinnell, as well as Dr. Francisco Pena. Dr. Daniel Keyes helped me to refine my approach to film and forwarded me conferences and calls for papers that might be of interest.

It’s been seven years since you completed your dissertation, what are you doing now and what are your future plans?

As a faculty member in KPU, I’ve developed four courses that center around horror film, fiction, and transmedia, with another upper-level course on horror film in development. I am also working with the Vancouver Horror Show Film Festival as a guest judge for their Table Read series, a horror film script competition. One of my film studies assignments offers the option to make a short horror film to the VHS. In the future, I have some exciting ideas for collaboration with other institutions and departments at KPU, field trips for film students, more publishing, research, and conferences in my areas of interest, and a revising of my film course on the evolution of the zombie in horror film.

Lastly, what advice would you have for a student who is contemplating currently pursuing their graduate degree at UBCO?

First, take care of yourself. I struggled mentally and physically near the end of my degree as I packed on weight and sustained back and wrist issues. If I could go back, I would insist on treating my nutrition and fitness as a priority. Second, you are going to struggle. Make friends with your classmates; you’ll need to laugh and commiserate. Third, advocate for yourself. Apply to conferences and scholarships, and if your relationship with your committee or supervisor isn’t working, change it. Fourth, plan for the future: keep your CV updated throughout your program and seek out advice about job interviews and how to be a successful candidate. Finally, when you convocated, take some time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished instead of worrying about what comes next.

Hummingbird flag installation

Hummingbird flag installed in the courtyard at UBC Okanagan

Students and faculty from UBCO came together for a series of workshops to carve a hummingbird relief print in honour of the children (little spirits) who never came home and to remember the unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada. Offered by Indigenous Faculty Tania Willard (Secwepemc and settler), Assistant Professor in Visual Arts, the project featuring hundreds of flags installed in the courtyard at UBCO the installation, with dozens of uniquely carved hummingbird images, will grow each year as we gather and take action to as we continue to demand justice for Indigenous communities and realise the impact on all of us.

Special thanks to all of the contributing artists:

  • Alex Basaraba
  • Autumn  Beehley
  • Renay Egami
  • Tessa Gough
  • Adrianna Hendricks
  • Liz Hilliard
  • Mei Henderson
  • Asahna (Casey) Hughes
  • Tess Lea
  • Astrida Neimanis
  • Dante Nieuwold
  • Shauna Oddieifson
  • Julia Pearson
  • Katherine Pickering
  • Nasim Pirhadi
  • Alisha Salim
  • Madison Tardif
  • Carrie Terbrasket
  • Odelle Walthers
  • Tania Willard
  • Holly Anne Yacynuk

The flags were installed at UBC Okanagan in the courtyard from September 29 to Oct. 3, 2022. See photos of the process of creating, printing and installing the flags.

Lino block creation

Katherine Pickering and Liz Hillard creating their humming bird images on the lino blocks

Lino block creation

Carrie Terbrasket, Tess Lea and Astrida Neimanis creating their hummingbird designs on the lino blocks

completed lino blocks

Some of the completed lino blocks

Lino printing

Students Dante Nieuwold and Nasim Pirhadi printing the lino blocks onto the orange fabric

completed flags

Some of the completed printed flags

installing the flags

Installing the flags in the courtyard

Tania with the flags

Tania Willard with the installed flags

Nikhita Obeegadoo

Dr. Nikhita Obeegadoo

Nikhita Obeegadoo joined UBC Okanagan in July 2022 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and World Literatures. She is originally from Mauritius, an African archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Nikhita holds a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, as well as undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Comparative Literature from Stanford University. Her research focuses on oceans and archipelagoes as spaces of intertwined cultural and ecological legacies.

At UBCO, she currently teaches courses on the environmental and medical humanities, as well as on francophone women’s writings. As part of her commitment to decolonizing knowledge, Nikhita’s courses foreground texts and theories emerging from various regions of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, as well as from archipelagic spaces across the world.

Dr. Obeegadoo shared some insights on her teaching and research practices.

What brought you to UBCO?

When I first saw the job posting for an Assistant Professorship in Francophone and Transcultural African Studies at UBCO, I was immediately compelled: While most of the world, including elite academic institutions, continues to view Africa as a monolith, here was a job that had the transcultural aspects of Africa embedded in its very title! It was impossible for me not to apply. Although I had never heard of the Okanagan or UBCO before, I was excited to move to a completely new part of the world, and to contribute to a young university that is still very much growing and defining itself. So, here I am!

Tell us about your research interests

My research explores how contemporary writers from the Indian Ocean and Caribbean (re)imagine the ocean as a space of simultaneously threatened cultural memory and multispecies ecology. In many literary texts, the ocean functions as an archive, that holds within itself traces of intergenerational trauma from the Middle Passage, the Kala Pani crossing, and clandestine migrations. At the same time, it is a space of rising tides and plastic pollution, that chokes out the bodies of dead dolphins on beaches only accessible to tourists. How can literature help us work through the complex ways in which past colonial violence and present environmental challenges are linked? How can it help us give shape to the various feelings, from climate anxiety to survivor’s guilt, that one might associate with the sea? And finally, how can it better equip us to respond to pressing intertwined challenges of our time, including climate change and calls for reparations?

What kind of learning experiences do offer your students?

My courses are highly interactive: We read lots of great contemporary literature about topics that are very hard to deal with, such as enslavement and incurable diseases, and we talk about and engage with these themes in a variety of ways. If students are to take away one skill from my courses, it is the ability to hold conversations about difficult and interlinked topics such as race, colonialism, gender, climate change and global health in a highly rigorous and yet deeply culturally sensitive and respectful manner. Imagine what a different place the world might be, if we did not tiptoe uncomfortably around these topics or brush them under the carpet, but instead were equipped with the tools to engage them in intellectually and ethically productive ways!

What most excites you about your field of work? 

At this particular moment in history, conversations about past injustices are gaining momentum both within and beyond academia, and I am excited by literature’s potential to help us explore important questions around identity and our relationship to others. One question that frequently comes up in both my teaching and research is the following: What does it mean to “compare” experiences across different cultures? For example, multiple literary texts attempt to foster empathy for enslaved subjects by comparing their trauma to that encountered by WWII prisoners in concentration camps. How can that kind of comparison be problematic, even if it is borne from the best intentions? The classroom is a great safe space to foster these kinds of discussions, which then find their way into the real world.

Tell us about any recent awards

Last year, I was awarded a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, which allowed me the time and freedom to conduct essential fieldwork and finish writing my dissertation. One of the most precious experiences of that time was the ability to travel to San Basilio de Palenque in northern Colombia. The Palenque began as a settlement of maroon slaves during the seventeenth century, and continues to preserve its distinct cultural and linguistic heritage, including palenquero, a Spanish-based creole. Visiting the Palenque reframed my research in an important way, from legacies of colonialism (which can be depressing to focus on) to more empowering legacies of resilience, creativity and joie de vivre in the face of all odds that enslaved peoples have bequeathed our generation. At the same time, the visit reminded me of the need to keep fighting for history to be preserved: one of the community members explained that palenquero is slowly vanishing, as people move away from the Palenque to big cities for work.

What: Workshop: Indigenizing the Japanese Language Curriculum: Lessons and Perspectives from Indigenous Voices
Location: Online via Zoom
When: Friday, October 14 from 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m (PDT)

Many foreign language instructors are undertaking the important work of indigenizing the language learning curriculum, and are looking for theoretical frameworks and real-life examples of how Indigenization can be applied in our field. This workshop will borrow the case of the Ainu, the Indigenous peoples of Japan, as the example for indigenizing a foreign language course of study, but teachers of any foreign languages related to colonized peoples will benefit from the discussions of theory, pedagogy, and practical applications. The workshop will be conducted in English with translation provided where necessary. The first half of the workshop will address theoretical questions regarding Indigenization, Decolonization and the particular case of the Ainu. The second half will focus on hearing the experience and methodologies of instructors involved in teaching Indigenous languages both within formal academic institutions and in community settings.

Schedule

12:30 Welcome

12:45  What does it Mean to be Ainu in the 21st Century?

Dr. Kanako Uzawa, Artist, Activist and Affiliated Researcher at Hokkaido University

1:15  What Does it Mean to “Indigenize” the Curriculum?

 1:45  What Does it Mean to “Decolonize” the Language-Learning Curriculum?

Dr. Ryuko Kubota, Professor, University of British Columbia Vancouver

Group discussions of speaker-suggested and related questions

3:15  Syilx Language House Model

Dr. Michele Johnson, Executive Director, and Instructor, Okanagan College,

3:40  Sito Channel, Nibutani Ainu Language School and Te Ataarangi Model

Ms. Maya Sekine and Mr. Kenji Sekine

4:05   Other Indigenous Language Models – Mayan

Dr. Monica Good, University of British Columbia Okanagan

4:30  Demonstration of Sample Open Educational Resource

Ms. Nina Langton, University of British Columbia Okanagan

4:40  Group discussions about potential lesson plans, learning objects, applications of the theory and models

The workshop is free and open to all secondary and post-secondary foreign language instructors, but registration is required.

Register now

The workshop is generously supported by the Japan Foundation Toronto, the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, and the Department of Languages and World Literatures.

Please contact Nina Langton at nina.langton@ubc.ca for more information.

Jon Vickery

Jon Vickery

Dr. Vickery joined UBCO in 2006 as a sessional instructor, and is now a full time Lecturer in the Department of English and Cultural studies. He is currently teaching first-year courses in literary genre, second year courses in historical literature, and a popular literature course in science fiction.

Dr. Vickery shared some insights on his research and teaching practices here at UBC Okanagan.

What brought you to UBCO?

My wife and I were living in downtown Toronto when we felt a strong tug to exchange the big city for big mountain views. Once I had completed the residency for my doctoral program at the University of Toronto, we moved to Kelowna where I wrote my dissertation while working as a sessional instructor (starting in 2006) at the newly minted UBC Okanagan. It was an important move for us and one that we’ve never regretted. Being part of UBCO since its early days, watching it grow and develop, has been a rich experience and I’m excited for good things to come.

Tell us about your research interests.

My research focuses on religious text in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, a period when Europe changed profoundly through the seismic activity of multiple reformations, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. These religious renewal movements affected society at every level and the literature of the period reflects the deep spirituality and the theological energies of the time. My own research looks to the complex phenomenon of English Puritanism which had a profound influence on such momentous literary figures as John Milton and John Bunyan. My writing considers Puritanism as an intellectual movement, looking to its sources and demonstrating, among other things, its dependence upon the philosophical wealth of medieval scholasticism. While some influential studies have characterized the Puritans as largely distrustful of and hostile to the larger Catholic tradition, I seek to situate some notable Puritan writers in a more intellectually generous and ecumenical stream.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor?

Not long before entering my BA program, I purchased a volume by the Oxford scholar, CS Lewis: his Preface to Paradise Lost. At the time, I was out of my depth, but Lewis’ influence upon me was and continues to be incalculable. When I entered the university as an undergraduate, I knew that I wanted, in some small way at least, to be like this Oxford writer. Happily, my first English professor turned out to be an admirer of Lewis as well, which mutual appreciation has been profoundly formative in its own way.

In the fourth year of my undergrad, I presented a paper to my fellow students on Hamlet and the Kierkegaardian concept of dread. The next day my Shakespeare professor stopped me in the hall and strongly recommended that I dedicate my life to this kind of teaching. It was a striking moment, and it underscores for me the significance of a professor’s influence outside the classroom. I’ve carried her words (and Kierkegaard’s concept) with me ever since.

What is your own process in writing?

I’ve learned over time to expect relatively little from myself in my first draft. It took a wise professor to persuade me that my first draft will usually be poor indeed (he used a scatological term) and that it’s the editorial process that transforms base elements into richer metals. Without the pressure of creating a brilliant first draft, writing is a much more enjoyable and far more fruitful enterprise. Martin Luther in the sixteenth century famously encouraged his readers to “sin boldly.” He has since been widely misunderstood, but, if I might apply his dictum in a literary direction, I think it’s good advice for the writer. Sin boldly in the draft. Get it out, with all its faults and defects. Editing takes what is weak and makes it strong.

Saeed Sabzian

Saeed Sabzian

Saeed Sabzian is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Cultural Studies. He specializes in the theory of rhetoric in an interdisciplinary scope, using multimodal frameworks in the analysis of language, literature, cinema and culture in general. Saeed has taught courses in rhetoric, composition, literature, and communication in the sciences and engineering. He has translated several literary theory and fictional books from English to Farsi and has published a book on disability studies.

Dr. Sabzian shared some insights on his research and teaching practices here at UBC Okanagan.

What brought you to UBCO

The wide spectrum of programs and courses at UBCO is a great fit for my interdisciplinary interests, where I see opportunities for research and teaching rhetorical theory in most of the programs that FCCS offers such as Visual Culture, Aural Culture, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, English, and Media Studies, Science Communication, and more.

Tell us about your research/teaching interests and what excites you about your field of work

I am interested in bringing rhetorical theory into an interdisciplinary framework to explain cultural artefacts, literary texts, film. I engage in these by combining classical concepts in rhetoric with more modern fields of study, such as cognitive science, sound studies, visual theory, and narratology to draw meanings hidden to non-interdisciplinary methods of study. I have utilized these hybrid regimes of analysis to explain anxiety in American culture as signaled in novels and films. I’m excited about the abundance of interdisciplinary activities in the realm of rhetoric. With the transition of universities toward interdisciplinary research in social and cultural phenomena, I see exciting opportunities to explore my favorite topics in culture, language, philosophy, science and technology.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor

Years ago, while I was a high school English teacher, I used to teach translation, literature, and literary theory. This experience brought my two passions together: I could teach and publish the same ideas, expanding my reach in the two realms. I think the desire to become a professor was incepted there.

What kind of learning experiences do you offer your students

Experiences that would equip students with life-long skills by internalizing these experiences through practice. Among these is “critical thinking”, which is vital to students “flourishing” in life, a skill that I foster through broadening students’ perspectives by exposure to conflicting perspectives. Th experience of adopting an enlarged perspective on the world (science, technology, and people) enhances students’ reasoning, argumentation, and cooperation with others.

What is your process in writing

My most recent publication began with several books in translation, basically fiction, literary theory, and literary dictionaries. Following a co-authored literary lexicon in 2009, I shifted to multimodal rhetoric, researching how rhetoric can be used to explain the psyche and motives of a culture through its manifestation in language, sounds, and images, for example anxiety in American culture in postapocalyptic films. Post-2015, I published a book in Farsi on Disability Studies, from the perspective of interdisciplinary rhetoric. Currently, I am re-shaping my research for publication, while I am also exploring the real of “rhetoric of science”.

What do you enjoy about living here and working at UBC Okanagan

I like UBCO both for its positive and diversified environment, and for its location on the landscape of Okanagan, which draws me to daily connection with nature. I was born in a mountainous small town, so I am endlessly interested in and grateful for the Okanagan mountains, lakes, and woods, where I enjoy hiking, walking, swimming, and paddling in the Okanagan. UBCO’s campus is a place of positivity, cooperation, and connectedness.

 

Kanako Uzawa demonstrating a traditional mouth harp

Local residents and members of the Indigenous community in Vernon enjoyed an introduction to the culture of the Ainu, the Indigenous people of Japan, in an outdoor event sponsored by FCCS on July 31. The event was entitled, Reframing Ainu Indigeneity.

Ainu scholar, artist and activist, Kanako Uzawa, discussed traditional and contemporary cultural and political issues, then demonstrated a traditional mouth harp and presented an original dance composition.

The audience also participated enthusiastically in singing an Upopo, a traditional song in the round, followed by a question-and-answer session. Dr. Uzawa was in transit between Banff, where she participated in a 3-week Indigenous choreographers and dancers lab at the Banff Centre, and Vancouver, where she spoke and performed at Haida House at the UBC Vancouver Museum of Anthropology.

More information about Dr. Uzawa and contemporary Ainu culture can be found on the Ainu Today website that she administers.

Photo credit: Wayne Emde Photography

FCCS prof, Nina Langton introducing Kanako Uzawa at the event

Kanako Uzawa presenting an original dance composition

Kanako Uzawa

Dr. Michael Treschow

Dr. Michael Treschow

Dr. Michael Treschow is the Head of the Department of English and Cultural Studies, and a researcher and teacher in early English Literature, both Old and Middle English. He was born in Calgary to parents who had immigrated from Denmark after World War II, and grew up in a quiet neighbourhood close to the Elbow River, which in those days was a wonderful playground. After graduating with a BA from the University of Calgary, Treschow began graduate work at Regent College in Old Testament Studies, but after a couple of years, he left Regent to do a Masters and PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. He has lived in Kelowna since 1990.

Dr. Treschow shared some insights on his research and teaching practices here at UBC Okanagan.

Tell us about your research interests. 

As a medievalist and Anglo-Saxonist, my scholarship is grounded in the early European tradition. My attention goes primarily to the Anglo-Saxon period (the time of Beowulf), secondarily to the later Middle English period (the time of Chaucer and the Pearl poet), and after that reverts to late antiquity. My large concern is with the transmission and transformation of classical and biblical literature into early English cultural forms. Lately, I have become particularly interested in early expressions of English mysticism in the Anglo-Saxon period. For some years, I have had an eye on the late medieval development of English mystical writing in the fourteenth century, when, for instance, an anonymous writer composed The Cloud of Unknowing (a wondrous invitation into apophaticism), and when Julian of Norwich wrote her beautiful and now celebrated Shewings. But I have begun to perceive expressions of the contemplative and mystical in some Old English writings from several centuries earlier. I am looking to understand how those texts function, how they affect the reader, but also how they developed, what their relationship might be to Carolingian writings in Francia, especially those of John Scottus Eriugena, another eloquent voice of apophaticism.

On another note, I have been working slowly for many years on a digital edition of the Old English Soliloquies (which I call the Soliloquiorum), a translation and adaptation of Augustine’s Soliloquia. Very recently, I have begun to collaborate with a couple of Digital Humanists at the University of Exeter, who are much more expert in XML encoding than I am. It looks like this project may finally have a chance to come to light. This edition intersects with my interest in Old English mysticism, since this text is one of those in which I have begun to discern the contemplative and mystical.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor? 

Strangely enough, when I began university, I intended to study Math or Chemistry. On a whim though, I took a course in Ancient Greek which in turn led me to a course on Biblical Hebrew. These old dead languages captivated me. As a result, my undergraduate degree ended up focussing on classical and biblical studies. After I had finished my BA, I took a course on medieval biblical exegesis. It led me to my first encounter with St. Augustine, my first reading of his Confessions and de Doctrina Christiana. With him, I discovered a new way to read that came to me as something entirely refreshing. At the same time, I was taking a side interest in my own Danish heritage, especially the heroic age of the North. I read Beowulf and some Old Norse Sagas, and began looking more closely at Tolkien and his scholarship on things northern. Thus, I found my way into the Anglo-Saxon period, especially the time of Alfred the Great, when both Augustine’s salutary writings and the brutal invasions of the Vikings were in play. That period caught my attention entirely, with the wealth of understanding that it offers. I started into it and just kept going. The clearest path was into the professoriate.

What kind of learning experiences do you offer your students? 

Formative ones, I hope. In the classroom, I rely on Aristotle’s insight that stories have a kinship with philosophy. A good story has both intellectual and emotional power. It brings about a sense of wonder, which, as Socrates said, is the beginning of philosophy. The academic investigation of the literary text is a way of taking care to notice its wonders and investigate them. It takes a bit of work, though, to develop the philological skills for that investigation: grammatical, linguistic, historical, and conceptual. One of my favourite books to teach is The Hobbit, though I haven’t taught it for a very long time. It is wonderful when we come to consider Gandalf’s concluding words: “My dear Bilbo! Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were.” We as a class, a small scholarly community, have journeyed with Bilbo “there and back again.” Gandalf invites Bilbo, and us, into a profound moment, a reflection on the getting of virtue and wisdom.

What most excites you about your field of work?  

Editing an early text from an old and damaged manuscript is painstaking, but it can be extremely satisfying work. The puzzles and problems that a manuscript presents bring challenges, sometimes insoluble ones. Working through them as best one can is what brings the text into the light, even with gaps, flaws, deficiencies. Preparing a digital edition adds further layers of complication, but with valuable analytic possibilities.

What I most appreciate in my work is the adventure of reading old, outdated books in old, outdated languages. That may seem escapist, and it may well be sometimes. But it can be a good thing to escape, as Tolkien says in “On Fairy Stories.” My reading is also often difficult and painstaking work, but when I pay attention, I sometimes find the task becomes more about the text reading me than me reading it.  Much as that may feel discomforting, it can also be like a dip in the ocean, that refreshes and renews for the drudgery of other things.

Dr. Jordan Stouck

Dr. Jordan Stouck

Dr. Jordan Stouck is currently the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. She is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of English and Cultural Studies, teaching English and Communications and Rhetoric. Her recent research has been focused on multilingual learning and graduate writing.

Dr. Stouck shared some insights on her research and teaching practices here at UBC Okanagan.

What brought you to UBCO?  

I came to UBCO in 2009, excited both to return to British Columbia where I’m from and to participate in the rapid development of the Okanagan campus. For me, the move has brought so many opportunities to work with great people and shape innovative programming.

Tell us about your research interests.

My area is writing and composition studies, and most recently the development of programming in Communications and Rhetoric. In teaching, my primary objective centres around giving students a voice to participate in research through better understandings of professional audiences, purposes, and knowledge-making conventions. I’m also in the Educational Leadership stream so my research focuses on scholarship of teaching and learning related to blended delivery, graduate writing, and, most recently, culturally and linguistically inclusive approaches.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor? 

I wasn’t sure I did want to be a professor until after my Master’s degree. At that point, I took a year away from studying and realized that I missed teaching and research. It wasn’t always a smooth path, but I am grateful for that “gap” year which gave me perspective and a renewed focus going into my PhD. In fact, as Associate Dean Undergraduate, I’ve seen how students – like I did – can really benefit from time away to identify priorities and assess where they want to be.

What kind of learning experiences do offer your students? 

I regularly teach English 109, 112 and now Communication (CORH) courses. All of my courses are workshop-based, encouraging students to develop their research writing skills in a hands-on way. While I have taught first year composition many times, I never find it repetitive because of the practice-based classes and student interaction. I sincerely want every student to leave my course with an appreciation for the language and writing styles that they have encountered there.

Tell us about a recent project that you are excited about.

I am currently a team-member on two projects that question the values embedded in university-level writing instruction. One project is looking at culturally and linguistically inclusive approaches to writing and composition, considering what we value when we create or assess a piece of writing and how academic communication can become more inclusive. A lot of this work is embedded in the Communications and Rhetoric certificate and now minor that we are developing. Connected to this, I am a team member on a second project, led by Dr. Kerrie Charnley, developing a land-based Indigenous writing guide. This resource, intended for Indigenous post-secondary students, links writing practice to Indigenous methodologies and both fills a gap in existing resources as well as contributing to the rethinking of current approaches. Both the Communications programming and Indigenous writing guide are supported by ALT funding.

Kohlbey Ozipko

Kohlbey Ozipko with her masters degree

Kohlbey Ozipko received her Master of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia – Okanagan (UBCO) in early 2021. Her thesis, “No eclipse lasts forever”: Confronting Gendered Violence in Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne, sparked her interest in contemporary feminism, which she continues to explore in her blog titled Little Feminist Movement.

We met up with Kohlbey to talk to her about her time here at UBC Okanagan.

Give us some insight into your thesis project.

In my thesis, I analyze representations of gendered violence in two works by American author Stephen King: Gerald’s Game (1992) and Dolores Claiborne (1993). King’s works are part of the Gothic literary tradition which oftentimes receives criticism for representing women as stereotypical “damsels in distress” and glorifying acts of violence against women. However, I argue that King’s works, and the Gothic genre do not glorify violence against women in any way. Rather, King’s works and the genre expose the flawed and violent treatment of women within our society and act as a call to action in order to invoke change.

Tell us a bit more about your research.

While I was in graduate school, my research spanned all the way from representations of women in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) to Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne (1993). I break down some of the archetypal representations we see in the Gothic and use the #MeToo Movement as a framework to discuss their significance in relation to contemporary North American society using a feminist lens.

Why did you choose UBC’s Okanagan campus? How did you change or overcome challenges along the way?

I chose to attend UBCO because I found a professor, Dr. Jodey Castricano, who shared my love for Stephen King’s works. It’s rare to find other academics who can appreciate King’s works. So, when I managed to find that person there was no question as to where I would be completing my degree. However, completing my Master of Arts in English proved to be a challenge. There were points throughout my journey where I seriously considered quitting or taking a break. I managed to battle my way through graduate school with the help of a few very good friends (also in the same program) and a committee that was determined to get me to the finish line. While writing my thesis, I came to realize that completing a degree and writing a thesis are not individual efforts. It really does take an army. It’s an army worth building.

You graduated in 2021. Can you tell us a bit about what you are doing now, your future plans, and how your graduate studies may have helped you with your career goals?

I’m currently doing quality assurance work full-time for a cannabis company in the Kootenays, working part-time as a yoga instructor at a local studio, and writing for my blog – Little Feminist Movement—on the weekends. My partner and I are also expecting a little one in the new year, so I guess I can add “mother” to that list, as well. My plan for the future is to find a way to work more closely with women, whether that be offering yoga workshops or women’s circles for self-empowerment, expanding the scope of my blog to reach more women world-wide, offering mentoring or personal support services for women, becoming a womb-worker or doula, or writing short stories or novels that focus upon women’s struggles and overcoming those struggles. I’d like to do all of those things, actually.

Lastly, what advice would you have for a student who is contemplating currently pursuing their graduate degree at UBCO?

I would advise a student to pick a topic that they’re passionate about because there’s nothing worse than writing a 15,000-20,000-word thesis on a topic that you don’t care about or that doesn’t interest you. I’ve written enough essays on Shakespeare to know that. I would also advise a student to start building their army as early as they possibly can. Make sure you have friends, family, and a committee with whom you feel comfortable enough that you can reach out for help and advice when you need.

Kholbey

Kholbey in her yoga studio