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Dr. Jessica Riddell

COLLABORATING ACROSS THE ACADEMY TO ENHANCE QUALITY UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION IN CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD

Dr. Jessica Riddell is a Full Professor of Early Modern Literature in the English Department at Bishop’s University (Quebec, Canada), specializing in early modern dramatic and non-dramatic literature.

She holds the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University; in this capacity, she leads conversations on quality undergraduate education in Canada and around the world. This role takes many forms: Dr. Riddell researches, designs, and implements innovative teaching and learning practices, creates mentorship opportunities for students and faculty, engages in public scholarship and knowledge mobilization, and participates in a wide range of consultations as a key note speaker and visiting scholar at the national and international levels.  

 

Dr. Riddell is also the Executive Director of the Maple League of Universities, a consortium of four universities – Bishop’s, Mount Allison, Acadia, and St. Francis Xavier – that share a focused commitment to quality undergraduate experience. Dr. Riddell works closely with university presidents across Canada on local and national initiatives to enhance undergraduate student experiences, including on issues of funding, domestic student mobility, undergraduate research, but also on defining and advocating for a 21st century liberal education. This role enables her to extend her role as the Jarislowsky Chair beyond institutional silos and engage in meaningful and high impact 

 

She engages in public-facing activities and projects as an active contributor to public scholarship through her work as an award-winning columnist for University Affair Magazine, as a keynote speaker at international conferences and speakers series, and a regular guest on national news programs, including the CBC Sunday Edition, CBC Sunday Magazine, CBC Quebec AM, and the Globe and Mail (as a panelist and contributor). 

 

Dr. Riddell sits on a number of external boards, including for Conference Board of Canada (Council of University Executives), Future Skills (Social and Emotional Skills Advisory Council), and the Future Talent Council. She was also a long standing Board member on the 3M National Executive Council (2015 - 2020) and VP Canada for ISSoTL (2017 - 2020). Jessica has been VP Canada on the Board of ISSoTL (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) since 2017 and designed and is now Co-coordinator the ISSoTL Fellows program, which welcomed its first cohort of Fellows at ISSOTL 2019. 

 

In all these endeavours she is dedicated to making the academy more equitable, diverse, and inclusive, creating spaces for emerging scholars and amplifying student voices, decolonizing our institutions, advocating for teaching and learning as scholarly endeavors, and arguing for the relevance of the humanities. Dr. Riddell seeks to build communities and ecosystems animated by a generosity of spirit with a focus on mentorship, leadership, and a commitment to support established and emerging learners and scholars in the pursuit of knowledge creation and sharing. 

JARISLOWSKY CHAIR

She holds the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University; in this capacity, she explores innovative teaching and learning practices, creates mentorship opportunities for students and faculty, and participates in a wide range of consultations at the national and international levels.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAPLE LEAGUE OF UNIVERSITIES

Dr. Riddell is also the Executive Director of the Maple League of Universities, a consortium of four universities – Bishop’s, Mount Allison, Acadia, and St. Francis Xavier – that share a focused commitment to quality undergraduate experience. Dr. Riddell works closely with university presidents across Canada on local and national initiatives to enhance undergraduate student experiences, including on issues of funding, domestic student mobility, undergraduate research, but also on defining and advocating for a 21st century liberal education.

Championing the humanities in Higher Education has been at the very center of my academic career, and over the last decade I have taken increasingly active leadership roles in advocating for a 21st century liberal education as the inaugural Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University. Working with an incredible team of colleagues at my institution, across Canada and around the world, we have developed a series of initiatives that have sought to enhance a culture of educational leadership, pedagogical excellence, and research related to higher education within our campus community and farther afield through interuniversity collaborations at Canadian and international institutions.   

 

As we imagine the future of work – and the future of democracy more generally – we are compelled to think carefully and creatively about our current university system and imagine a model that provides a better, more ethical, and more rigorous education for all students. I believe that major trends – ethical use of technologies, increasing internationalization, and shifting job sectors – are exciting, especially at institutions that have a clear guiding vision about quality education. Furthermore, we must not merely respond to but in fact take the lead on pressing human rights issues, including fulfilling the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and decolonizing the academy, tackling sexual harassment and gendered-based violence on our campuses and beyond, and ensuring universities are places where we think carefully, responsibly, and ethically about some of the major social, economic, and philosophical issues of our time.  

 

Academic leadership must be transformative - and inspire us all to create and support innovation in a climate that compels us to think carefully and creatively about our current university systems; in doing so we must imagine a model that provides a better, more ethical, and more rigorous education for all students. Universities must be on the forefront of recovery efforts in a post-COVID world: the landscape of higher education in Canada has changed dramatically over the past year and our understanding of a 21st century university have shifted under intense pressures and tensions. As we cross the pandemic portal, we must be willing to think differently, dream big, and lead creatively and courageously.  

STRATEGIC VISION

FEATURED PROJECTS

The WYRD House brings together three National Teaching Fellows and Renaissance specialists, Dr. Lisa Dickson (University of Northern British Columbia), Dr. Shannon Murray (University of Prince Edward Island) and Dr. Jessica Riddell (Bishop’s University) to talk about critical hope in teaching and learning and the ways that literature can help us to navigate the challenges posed by the wicked questions and problems of our modern world. Here is the website: www.thewyrdhouse.com,. As part of this research and teaching space the "Wyrd sisters" host a podcast called "Wyrd Words", which is available on iTunes and Spotify.

THE WYRD WORDS Research Space

Conversations About Literature and Learning in Higher Education

 Lisa Dickson 
Shannon Murray, &
 
Jessica Riddell

SHAKESPERIENCE

Shakesperience is a an immersive learning experience that turns the Stratford Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, into a classroom. This is — at its heart — a transformative experiential learning course, so the students will participate in workshops like learning a song and dance from Chicago in the morning and then watching the musical in the afternoon. 

 

The participants have unprecedented back-stage access to the theatres — peeking behind the scenes with close up views of the sets, and so much more! They enjoy an insider peek into the costume warehouse where we can see first-hand how the magic is created and dress up in some of the fabulous Stratford costumes! This truly is a once in a lifetime experience.

INTERNATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH CONFERENCE

The mission of Heart & Soul is to enable students and professors from across Canada to connect and share their research in a comfortable, collaborative environment that fosters the pursuit of knowledge and the love of learning.

 

This is a chance to network, build connections, and encounter different world-views and perspectives all while highlighting undergraduate academia and scholarship.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN HUMANITIES - ENG459

A practical course in the assessment, editing and publication of undergraduate academic work. In consultation with a faculty advisor from the English Department and the QUEUC conference coordinator, the student will coordinate the selection of student papers for the conference and oversee the subsequent publication of conference proceedings.

RESILIENCE WORKSHOPS

Dr. Riddell offers multiple workshops on resilience. 

Riddell is the chair of undergraduate teaching excellence at Bishop’s University. On May 2, 2018, she delivered a talk as part of the Teaching Matters seminar series for SFU faculty on how faculty can address what she sees as an increasing and concerning trend among students: an inability to cope with adversity.  

LIBRARY LEARNING COMMONS

The Learning Commons at Bishop’s University is designed to explore the rich intersections between learning, space, and technology. The John Bassett Library is in the process of being transformed into a 21st century hub for knowledge creation, knowledge mobilization, and knowledge sharing.

SHAKESPEARE ON TRIAL

Dr. Riddell developed a mock trial project that forged collaborative ties between her ENG223 Elizabethan Shakespeare class, members of faculty, Bishop’s alumni, and the student body across disciplines. On February 24, 2012 Shakespeare was prosecuted for fraud in the Canadian Criminal Court system. Groups were asked to compile research related to their topic, synthesize information, and present it.

TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTRE

In the fall of 2011, we founded the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at Bishop’s University, and Dr. Riddell has been the Chair since January 2015. Together they have organized pedagogical development workshops, hosted round table events, and we conduct monthly talks around relevant topics as diverse as technology in the classroom and formative assessment. With a focus on three pillars:

1) Pedagogical excellence

2) Educational leadership and

3) Research on scholarly teaching

MEDIA

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