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). She holds the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence; in this capacity, she focuses on systems-change in higher education that fosters human flourishing; in her research, teaching, leadership, and administration, she participates in a wide range of conversations at the national and international levels about how universities fulfil the social contract to a broader society.
An award-winning educator and scholar, she has published on Shakespeare, institutional culture change, inter-institutional collaborations, experiential learning, and inclusive high-impact practices. Her recent book, with collaborators Dr. Lisa Dickson and Dr. Shannon Murray, is called Shakespeare's Guide to Hope, Life, and Learning (University of Toronto Press, 2023) and was nominated for the Gordon Book Prize. Her newest book, Hope Circuits: Rewiring Universities and other Systems for Human Flourishing, is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press in early 2024.
Dr. Riddell was awarded the William and Nancy Turner Award for Teaching Excellence (2011-2012) at Bishop’s University, received the 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2015, was the recipient of a D2L Innovation Award for Teaching and Learning in 2022, and won the inaugural awards from Forces Avenir (Quebec) for Most Engaged Faculty/Staff Member in 2022.
She has received research funding from SSHRC, ECQ (Entente Canada et Quebec), and STLHE (Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education), and was awarded funding for innovation from the McConnell Foundation, The Jarislowsky Foundation, CEWIL (Canadian Experiential Work-Integrated Learning), and Business Higher Education Round Table (BHER).
Jessica Riddell has a robust leadership portfolio in higher education and serves on several boards, including the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Research Advisory Board for Future Skills Centre, and has served on the 3M National Fellows Council and as VP Canada for International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. At Bishop’s, she currently sits on the Board of Governors and at Senate as a Humanities senator.
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).
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.
IMAGINING A 21ST-CENTURY MODEL OF HIGHER EDUCATION THAT GRADUATES CITIZENS AND LEADERS
Dr. Riddell 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.
Re-Wiring Universities and Other Organizations for Human Flourishing
Hope Circuits: Rewiring Universities and other Systems for Human Flourishing, is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press in early 2024.
The Wyrd House
A GATHERING PLACE FOR REFLECTIONS AND CONVERSATIONS ABOUT LITERATURE AND LEARNING
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.
FOSTERING AN ENRICHED SENSE OF CURIOSITY AND CREATIVITY THROUGH LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
"Humanities students are uniquely equipped to thrive in a rapidly changing 21st-century economy, but sometimes they do not realize how their course of study builds competencies in writing, analysis, comprehension, and critical thinking skills development, which are highly valued in the workplace. Therefore, I developed new courses and projects that are problem-based and explore experiential learning through the lens of the humanities."
Publications & Media
EMBRACING QUESTIONS ON HOPE, RESILIENCE AND FLOURISHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Dr. Riddell engages in public-facing activities and projects as an active contributor to public scholarship through her work as the most senior columnist for University Affair Magazine, as a keynote speaker at international conferences, and a visiting scholar, most recently at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK and the university of Oslo.
CHAMPIONING THE HUMANITIES
IN HIGHER EDUCATION
"This 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 at 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 has 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."