Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe

Retired Educator from the Burnaby School District
Burnaby, Canada
Vancouver and Annapolis Royal, Canada
Parent perceptions and understandings of arts-integrated schools of choice
Deirdre Kelly

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

Now that I am retired, I choose to write children's operas that depict bravery during times of great tumult. I also write and research arts integration in relation to current social issues.

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

My graduate degree examined parent understandings about the visual and performing arts. It also included teacher perspectives on how the school had changed since its transition to arts-based learning. When one is conducting a study, one needs to learn to listen, and to listen accurately. I felt that my own understandings of the world were broadened extensively and I wanted to keep learning and reading more. I have continued to do this. Graduate school helped me to see things more broadly, to take more chances, not to be afraid to fail and to believe that I had things worth sharing with others. In the crafting of children's operas, I believe that my doctorate gave me the confidence to conduct research as part of the process of teaching the operas to students.

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

As an adjunct professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, I am expected to publish and this, of course, is a challenge in terms of subject matter, and submission and acceptance of the proposal or research paper.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

I wouldn't say I had necessarily intended to pursue graduate studies or undertake research, but it does show how we develop and change our interests as we travel through our careers.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I believed that I had not fulfilled myself in previous degree programs. I was very young when I completed my Bachelor of Music degree, had two children under the age of three while I was undertaking my master's degree. The doctorate was simply about my own interests and self-fulfillment.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

I enjoyed the fact that we could all come together and discuss an issue, a book, or an article; disagree, but have a healthy conversation about that disagreement and not take things personally.

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

I didn't listen to the rumour mill. It is very destructive because it always issues forth negative experiences. I kept my goals and tried not to be intimidated by what others were hearing or saying. That was their situation, not mine. And, I worked on my doctorate every single day.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

Finish your degree! Don't take time off! Write 15 minutes every day even if it seems like nonsense. Don't let time get in the way.

Did you have any breaks in your education?

My education is widespread. B.Mus. 1980, M.Ed. 1992, Ed.D 2014. Partly it was because I had a family, but also, because I'm the kind of person who needs to have space - I can't just move from one degree to the next. I have to think about what I have learned and what directions I am going to take.

What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?

I don't feel that I had any real challenges - although I am quite deaf, and needed a captioner for some of my classes. That was uncomfortable. But it didn't stop me from finishing. I don't think I would have done things any differently. I really enjoyed my graduate studies.


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