Below is a short speech I prepared as a public ‘thank-you’ to Janice Johnson, my long-time mentor. Jan retired from the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology in 2016, after a long career there.
Jan hired me as a graduate student assistant to work on a teaching portfolio initiative at the teaching and learning centre, then called TAG.
At that time, I had never heard of a teaching portfolio nor of a teaching and learning centre.
Does that mean Jan was a poor decision maker?
No, it means she was (and remains) an outstanding mentor.
It is my pleasure to be able to thank you publicly today.
You have shaped my professional life in significant ways and mentored me in the field of educational development for over a decade.
You introduced me to a pocket of academic culture that I was unfamiliar with as a graduate student. I only knew a culture of fierce competition and one-upmanship. At the teaching and learning centre, people shared openly, supported one another, and collaborated meaningfully. And, this is the approach you took with me and others you have hired and worked with.
Over the years, you have introduced me to a host of communities and projects…instructional skills network, bc teaching and learning folks, peer review of teaching, to name a few. You identified opportunities I was often unaware of and gently invited me in, honouring the fact that I tend to be cautious and seek information before making decisions.
I have learned so much from our conversations and from watching you—from near and afar—“facilitate with ease”. Your skills as a facilitator are ever so masterful and have been revealed to me over time, as my awareness of facilitation has grown.
You are a generous leader, who has never, ever, EVER turned me away when I’ve knocked on your door with “do you have a few minutes?”.
Once you’re not longer at CTLT, I will walk past your door and think of you. And, as a nod to the wrap up in the peer review of teaching workshop that we co-facilitated so many times together, here is my top 10 about Jan:
- Music enthusiast
- Dog lover