More Than Academics

Here are some personal stories from our beloved faculty association members, giving you a glimpse into the human side of higher education.

We also want to clear up some common misconceptions and provide some insightful information about the concerns and realities faced by faculty members today.




Testimonials | Myths v. Facts




Gül Çalışkan

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, St. Thomas University

Hi, I’m Gül Çalışkan, an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at St. Thomas University.

I joined the faculty at St. Thomas University in 2013. My passion for research on social justice and social change, and teaching about the issues I care about have defined my career. Colleagues, community members and students who have invested in social justice and social change motivate me daily.

I am a founding member of the group “No One is Illegal – Fredericton” which was founded in 2016. We’ve organized community events to support refugees and have had interns from both STU and UNB participate in this group. As a more personal example of community involvement, in 2018, I participated in the City of Fredericton’s Living Library event as a “living book,” and told a story about my grandmother’s Turkish rug, that is part of my immigration journey.

The best advice I’ve received is to not overdo it. Remember to take breaks, and slow down. The world won’t collapse if you take a few things, professional or community work, off your plate. This is my advice to myself, after having a major health crisis. Everything that is important to me had to stop. All the work of social change, and academic work continued without me. I am learning to slow down. I enjoy being present in the silence of nature, journaling, and cooking.

Angel Dionne

English Literature professor, Arts & literature department, Universite de Moncton Edmundston Campus

Hi, I’m Angel Dionne, an English Literature professor at Université de Moncton, Edmundston Campus.

I chose to be a professor because I see myself as a lifelong learner. This career has allowed me to continue to learn and explore. My proudest moment thus far was when I finished my Ph. D. in creative writing. I had finally accomplished what I set out to do.

In my downtime, I enjoy hiking with my wife, writing, and spending time with our cats.

The best advice that I’ve received? When I was twenty, my father helped me train for a marathon. On the day of the marathon, he told me that finishing was less important than trying and that it was alright if I didn’t finish, as long as I tried. That lesson stuck with me. To this day, I keep his words in mind whenever I undertake a difficult task. Effort matters.

My students motivate me the most in my job. I enjoy teaching them and learning from them.

Amel Kaouche

Mathematics Professor, Université de Moncton, Edmundston

Hi, I’m Amel Kaouche, a Mathematics teacher in the science sector.

My academic and university journey has not been linear (lots of moves, transitions, adaptations, etc.), but it can serve as an example, an inspiration and a model of resilience, adaptation, integration and academic, professional and personal success.

The best advice I received was from my parents, who told me to go to university so you don’t depend on someone. I did that, and received my doctorate, and I’m fulfilling my childhood dream, which was to teach. I love my job.

I’m involved in the campus community as Vice-president of the APPUMCE executive committee, Université de Moncton, Edmundston campus. I sit on several committees: tri-campus committee for the attestation of studies, health and dental insurance committee, scholarship committee, committee for life insurance coverage, long-term disability, etc. Outside of the campus community, I am a member of the board of directors of the resource center for newcomers to North-West Inc.

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my children.

Geordie Miller

Part time Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University

Hi, I’m Geordie Miller and I’m a part time assistant professor of English at Mount Allison University.

My areas of expertise include Creative Writing; Literary and Critical Theory; American Literature and Culture; Canadian Poetry.

I chose this career because my mother was a high school English teacher, which is where my love of teaching originates. In university I was lucky to be inspired by a number of professors. It seemed like ideal work–learning about, formulating, and discussing profound ideas.

My campus community involvement includes Vice-President of the Faculty Union; Planning Committee Member of the Faculty of Arts Speaker Series; a board member of the University Club; and a tutor/coordinator for the Writing Centre.

Outside the campus community, I am involved in many local events including Chair of Sappyfest; the Regional Representative for the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick; a radio host for CHMA 106.9; I co-host the Sweetest Little Thing; and host Nerds Rewarded Trivia.

The best advice I received? You must be willing to change and be changed, one day at a time. For example, when I started teaching, back in graduate school, I thought that I needed to have all the answers. My ego and my fears got in the way of growth and change. Gradually I learned that it’s the students who should run the show, i.e., have as much responsibility for their education as possible. But I can’t stop at this important lesson either, given my willingness to change and be changed. There’s always more to learn.

My favorite simple pleasure or hobby? Running (because reading is too obvious an answer). My sister and brother got me back into running during the pandemic. I competed in my third half-marathon in October.

Hilary Randall

Part time faculty member, Psychology Department, St. Thomas University

Hi, I’m Hilary Randall, a part time faculty member in the Psychology Department at St. Thomas University. My area of expertise is social/cognitive psychology.

I’m involved in my university community as a member of the Faculty Association of the University of St. Thomas, and a member of the Workplace Harassment Research group, and sing in the STU Singers group as an Alto. Outside of the campus community, I have also volunteered with the fundraising campaigns for the Fredericton Homeless Shelter.

When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family, friends, camping, swimming, picnics, movies, restaurants, travel, singing in the STU Singers choir (I’m an Alto) and going to the beach.

I’m fortunate to have had some amazing professors during my education and I want to strive to try to be that for my students, as well. I also love psychology and love teaching!

My proudest career moment? In 2006 I received an O’Brien Fellowship while my father was still here to share that day with me. I am very proud of being an O’Brien Fellow.

Elizabeth Stregger

Librarian, Mount Allison University

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Stregger and I’m a Data and Digital Services Librarian, Libraries and Archives at Mount Allison University.

I chose this career because every person at the university has a different research question or problem to solve, and with my area of expertise in data and digital literacy, I can help students develop as researchers as they apply new data and information skills.

My proudest career moment? Early in my career, a pharmacist told me that an article I found for him improved a patient’s long-term health prospects. Whether I’m suggesting software and learning resources, retrieving Statistics Canada data, or helping someone organize their data documentation, I’m sharing my skills to help others overcome hurdles in their research. Their research questions make a difference in one life or in a broader conversation.

When I’m not working, my simple pleasure is knitting. Color and texture are two of my simple pleasures which I explore through kitting. Of course, I don’t just knit, I learn and right now, I’m learning about Canadian-raised sheep breeds and yarns.

Myths vs. Facts

MYTH: All academic staff in New Brunswick have secure, long-term contracts and job security.

FACT: Did you know? In New Brunswick, at least 1/3 of academic staff now have uncertain job security, with contracts on part-time or full-time basis without a guarantee of renewal.

“Contract work is unstable and unreliable. I work as much as possible in order to build up my savings in case one term or one year I do not get any work. I’ve given up all other parts of my life to work as much as possible out of fear and instability.”

Related Documents

Contract Academic Staff – The Situation [PDF]

MYTH: A University degree is not worth the investment.

FACT: A university degree can lead to higher earning potential and open doors to new and varied job opportunities. The more advanced your degree, the more opportunities are available. Invest in your future and consider higher education.

Related Documents

Why Get a University Degree? [PDF]

MYTH: The amount of people getting a university degree is declining.

FACT: Over the last twenty years, the overall percentage of degree holders in Canada has risen almost 200%. However, New Brunswick trails the national average, with the gap having almost doubled from 3.1% beneath the Canadian average in 2000 to 5.3% behind in 2021. Don’t miss out on the opportunities and earning potential it can bring. It’s a valuable investment in your future.

MYTH: International student recruitment and tuition contributions can make up for the shortfall of university funding.

FACT: Did you know that since 2008, the number of international students at Canadian universities has more than tripled, but the funds from these students cannot replace the public funding of our universities? It’s important to understand the financial realities of higher education and stop viewing international students as a “cash cow”.


MYTH: Students can find all the information they need online, so university librarians and archivists are no longer necessary.

FACT: While it’s true that technology has made it easier to access information, university librarians play a vital role in helping students navigate the vast amount of information available online. In fact, each of the 35 librarians and archivists at FNBFA member associations serves an average of 391 students, not including the professors and researchers they also support. They provide personalized assistance, research help, and resources that students, professors, and researchers need. Don’t underestimate the value of a university librarian, they are here to help you succeed!

Related Documents

Librarian and Archivist Misconceptions [PDF]

MYTH: Universities are primarily hiring regular full-time professors to meet the increasing demand for higher education.

FACT: In reality, there has been a 79% increase in the number of part-time, part-year university teachers, while the ranks of regular professors increased by only 14% and the number of university students grew by 28%. This indicates that universities are increasingly relying on part-time, part-year teachers rather than hiring regular full-time professors to meet the growing demand for higher education.


MYTH: University academic staff have secure, well-paying jobs.

FACT: Wake up call: Universities are not immune to the issues of precarious work. In 2016, 1 in 3 part-time professors, many of them women, were earning below the poverty line.

“I’m a professor. They’re always impressed, until I tell them that I work in three schools in two cities, and have no benefits whatsoever and no job stability.”

MYTH: Public funding for universities in New Brunswick has remained consistent and stable over the past several decades.

FACT: Since 1980, public funding has dropped a shocking 26%. This decline in funding threatens the accessibility and quality of education in our province. We must act now to secure funding for our universities.

“I’m a professor. They’re always impressed, until I tell them that I work in three schools in two cities, and have no benefits whatsoever and no job stability.”

Related Documents

Public Funding Additional Info [PDF]


MYTH: University faculty have it easy with just a few classes and long summer breaks.

FACT: The reality is far from it! Full-time faculty members in Canada juggle a heavy workload that includes teaching, research, and service (which includes administration). And when classes have finished for the semester, they don’t get a break as they devote even more time to their research and admin responsibilities and community involvement. Let’s bust this myth and appreciate the hard work and dedication of our university faculty.

Related Documents

Workload Additional Info [PDF]