Four RDC instructors honoured for ‘going beyond classroom duty’ with special projects

Publishing and research projects brought acclaim to the college

Four Red Deer College instructors are being recognized for going beyond the call of classroom duty to make sizable contributions in the fields of research and publishing.

Laura Davis, Jenna Butler, Trish Campbell and Elaine Spencer were rewarded with monetary prizes, as well as certificates, from the faculty association on Thursday. The four shone a positive light on the college with their accomplishments and deserve acclaim from their peers, said Jeff Wigelsworth, chair of the association’s scholarly activities committee.

Davis, chair of the humanities department and social sciences, wrote the book Margaret Laurence Writes Africa and Canada.

A life-long Laurence fan, Davis wanted to examine how the late author’s negative feelings about colonialism, while living in Africa with her engineer husband, led to her later sympathetic portrayals of Aboriginals in her Canadian stories.

“She started writing about reconciliations with Indigenous people,” said Davis, who teaches English and specializes in Canadian literature. Her book was published by Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Butler, a creative writing instructor at the college, contributed a chapter called “Unbodying the Bawdy in Robert Kroetsch” in a book of essays on the acclaimed Westerner Canadian novelist, poet and non-fiction writer. It was compiled by editor Nicole Markotic.

Robert Kroetsch, who died in 2011, was an influential figure, introducing ideas about postmodernism. Butler said she got to know him, first as an admirer of his poetry, then as a mentor and friend.

Inspired by Kroetsch’s honesty in Too Bad: Sketches Towards a Self-Portrait, Butler wrote an essay about how the author considers the aging process almost a form of “body alienation.”

The essays on Kroetsch were published by Guernica Press.

Social work instructor Elaine Spencer spearheaded, contributed to, and co-edited Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical and Relational Approaches. Spencer said there are always new ethical dilemmas in this fast-changing world.

For instance, social workers are now considering eco-ethics — not only care about humans but the Earth. “There are concerns about the future of the whole planet,” said Spencer, and as a result social workers have been compelled towards environmentalism, “or have stood at the sidelines of peace activism.”

Her book, co-compiled by Duane Massing and Jim Gough, is published by Oxford University Press.

Twenty-five-year RDC instructor Trish Campbell, who couldn’t attend the award ceremony, undertook the project: Making sense of the abortion pill: A socio-technical analysis of RD486 Canada.

Her research focused on the social contexts of technology and the public understanding of bio-medicine.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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