Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Excellence in Teaching: StFX English professor Dr. Kailin Wright named an AAU Distinguished Teaching Award recipient

September 22nd, 2021
Dr. Kailin Wright

Dr. Kailin Wright, a StFX English professor and Jules Léger Research Scholar, has been honoured for her teaching excellence, receiving the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The award recognizes excellence in university teaching over a number of years, primarily at the undergraduate level. Award recipients demonstrate a proven commitment to enhanced student engagement and learning, a reflective and intentional approach to teaching practices, and dedication to teaching improvement.

“I want to say how honoured and humbled I am to be receiving the AAU Distinguished Teaching Award. I am sincerely grateful to the AAU Committee for their hard work and to the StFX community for their support. I am also delighted to share this award with such dedicated teachers as Dr. Kate Krug and Dr. Magdalen Normandeau. At my home institution, I have been inspired by the dynamic teachers around me and in my department. Professor Angie Kolen went above and beyond in guiding me through the application; she is a real leader of teaching at StFX,” says Dr. Wright, who is also a recipient of the StFX University Outstanding Teaching Award.

Since joining the StFX faculty in 2012, Dr. Wright, a specialist in Canadian literature and drama, has made a strong and positive impression with students, and been a tremendous voice for Canadian, feminist, and Indigenous literature on campus. 

She works to ensure student success. She is known to spend whatever time necessary with each student to meet their needs, and Dr. Wright continually looks for ways to enrich her teaching and foster rigorous learning experience. She says she believes learning extends outside the classroom and uses visiting speakers and interactive digital tools to demonstrate the relevance of the works studied. Notably, she gives students a chance to meet and talk to the writers they study. Canadian poets, novelists, playwrights and scholars have all visited her classroom, in-person and virtually. 

Her students have remarked on her positive commitment to the learning process and to StFX. “I believe that teaching can facilitate positive real-world change in five ways: by unsettling inherited stories, by amplifying diverse voices, by breaking through the four walls of the classroom and extending our learning outside the course, by close-reading the world around us, and by enacting positive real-world change.”

Dr. Wright has developed several new courses at StFX including Adaptation: Myths, Film, and Popular Stories; What’s Canadian About Can Lit?; Canadian Drama; and Canadian Adaptions. She also taught Introduction to Literature and Critical Writing; Literature in English: Genres, Media, and Forms; Literature and Academic Writing I; Children’s Literature and Canadian Literature.

Dr. Wright published a book, entitled Political Adaptation in Canadian Theatre in 2020 with McGill-Queen’s University Press. She holds several research grants including a SSHRC Partnership Grant and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. She has often been an invited speaker and panelist. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian theatre; Canadian literature; social justice; identity; gender; race; Indigenous literatures; political theatre; performance studies; feminism; adaptation; Shakespeare adaptation; film and television adaptation; dystopia; reproductive justice; digital humanities; and children's literature. 

“Ultimately, I think good teaching is important because, like stories, it shapes who we are and how we define our place in the world,” she says. “I believe that if students can be open to changing their opinion about a literary work, then they can be open to diverse perspectives more broadly. Afterall, if stories and language change over time, then so can we.”

Also recognized with 2021 AAU awards are Prof. Kate Krug, Department of L’nu, Political and Social Studies, Cape Breton University, who is also a recipient of the 2021 AAU Distinguished Teaching Award, and Dr. Magdalen Normandeau, Department of Physics, University of New Brunswick, who receives the 2021 AAU Anne Marie MacKinnon Educational Leadership Award.

The AAU represents the 16 universities in Atlantic Canada and serves as an advocate for the important role Atlantic universities play in preparing future leaders of our communities, in path-breaking research and innovation and in contributing to the economic prosperity and quality of life of the Atlantic region.

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