There is something unique about the place of teachers in the world. From a very young age, people look to others who have more life experience to impart wisdom and to inspire wonder. This is the case in family settings – where children learn from their parents and caregivers – as well as in scholastic contexts (i.e. elementary through graduate studies). In fact, without faculty, institutions like Providence would simply not exist, since it’s the role and responsibility of professors to facilitate the process of education, through teaching, writing and public scholarship.
By way of years of instruction, extensive research, trial and error, and acquiring knowledge from their own mentors and colleagues, professors are experts in their field, and it’s a privilege for students to have the opportunity to study under their guidance. As the Japanese proverb says, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” Fortunately, students at Providence have much more than a single day in their programs, and the chance to study with many a great teacher – especially with the number of new professors who began working here in 2023.
Specifically, this past year there were eleven faculty members who joined Providence, which is a record number of hires. In January, Karen Jolly commenced her role in the Seminary as Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Liaison for Support and Reconciliation, Paata Brekashvili started as Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Buller School, and Ryan Coulling began as Assistant Professor of Sociology for the University College.
As for May, three Assistant Professors were hired for Providence’s downtown Winnipeg location: Nicole Barnabé in Business Administration, Daniel Rempel in Biblical and Theological Studies, and Ana Soares in TESOL (i.e. “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”). In November of this year, Nicole Barnabé was also appointed as Associate Dean for Providence Downtown, which is now operating out of the Massey Building (while awaiting possession of the new Prov Downtown campus at 447 Webb Place).
This brings us to July, when five more began their roles in the University College and Theological Seminary: Stephan Bonfield as Assistant Professor of Psychology, Jon Malek as Assistant Professor of History, Nate Wall-Bowering as Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Samuel Williams as Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology, and Mariama Zaami as Assistant Professor of Sociology (who will unfortunately not be returning in 2024).
Obviously, there are many links in the chain to the delivery of quality post-secondary education – from student services, to finances and facilities, to marketing and management. However, having quality faculty cannot be overstated as an integral part of who Providence is as a school, and this is something to be thankful for as 2023 draws to a close.