Valerie Henitiuk, Vice-President Academic and Provost, Concordia University of Edmonton

Valerie Henitiuk, Vice-President Academic and Provost, Concordia University of Edmonton

BY: Catherine Nygren

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Valerie Henitiuk

Valerie’s dissertation in comparative literature, on liminality in women-authored courtship narratives in English, French, and Japanese, drew on her experience from her two master’s degrees and working overseas in France and Japan. Because she was a mature student with writing and job experience (including her own freelance translation business), she was very independent; nevertheless, she appreciated the supportive student community and department, and she has kept in contact with many of her cohort. In particular, she was inspired by the many female academics she worked with, who were excellent role models and were pivotal in shaping her career.

Internal and external fellowships meant that she didn’t need to teach: instead, she could focus on her work and travel. These scholarships were also critical for Valerie, as a first-generation university student, in thinking of herself as an academic and gaining confidence in her work. In particular, fellowships for research in Tokyo and Dijon were essential for her development and growth, even if it extended the time spent in her degree by a year; she considers this fifth year of her doctorate an “investment year.”

After her degree, she moved to a two-year postdoc at Columbia, and then a full-time tenure-track position at the University of East Anglia in Britain, with a one-year sabbatical at Harvard. After six years overseas, however, she moved back to Edmonton as Executive Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (a faculty development centre) and a professor in English at MacEwan University. She also advised the university on Indigenous initiatives and is editor-in-chief of Translation Studies. This spring, Valerie is moving to a new position: Concordia University of Edmonton’s new Vice-President Academic and Provost.

Although administrative duties are dreaded by some, Valerie prefers the opportunities and energy that administrative work brings: “I love to make things happen, and administration lets me do that. I love to bring people together, and watch what explodes around that, and innovate with it.”

 

Valerie Henitiuk

Valerie’s dissertation in comparative literature, on liminality in women-authored courtship narratives in English, French, and Japanese, drew on her experience from her two master’s degrees and working overseas in France and Japan. Because she was a mature student with writing and job experience (including her own freelance translation business), she was very independent; nevertheless, she appreciated the supportive student community and department, and she has kept in contact with many of her cohort. In particular, she was inspired by the many female academics she worked with, who were excellent role models and were pivotal in shaping her career.

Internal and external fellowships meant that she didn’t need to teach: instead, she could focus on her work and travel. These scholarships were also critical for Valerie, as a first-generation university student, in thinking of herself as an academic and gaining confidence in her work. In particular, fellowships for research in Tokyo and Dijon were essential for her development and growth, even if it extended the time spent in her degree by a year; she considers this fifth year of her doctorate an “investment year.”

After her degree, she moved to a two-year postdoc at Columbia, and then a full-time tenure-track position at the University of East Anglia in Britain, with a one-year sabbatical at Harvard. After six years overseas, however, she moved back to Edmonton as Executive Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (a faculty development centre) and a professor in English at MacEwan University. She also advised the university on Indigenous initiatives and is editor-in-chief of Translation Studies. This spring, Valerie is moving to a new position: Concordia University of Edmonton’s new Vice-President Academic and Provost.

Although administrative duties are dreaded by some, Valerie prefers the opportunities and energy that administrative work brings: “I love to make things happen, and administration lets me do that. I love to bring people together, and watch what explodes around that, and innovate with it.”

 

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