“Best Professor” winner, Maureen Bracewell, talks about her path to academia and bringing inspiration to the classroom
GABRIELA STRAUCH COSTA PINHEIRO // CONTRIBUTOR
Maureen Bracewell was surprised and touched when presented with the title of Best Professor at the second annual Best of Capilano Awards presented by the Capilano Courier. “I think we have so many fabulous teachers here at Capilano University, and support faculty in development to become better teachers,” she said.
Bracewell is a busy member of the CapU community. She’s been teaching at the school since 2001 and has long been active in many aspects of campus life and culture. Bracewell is a member of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, teaching both Anthropology and Women’s & Gender Studies. She also acts as the Coordinator of the School of Social Sciences, represents the University in articulation meetings for anthropology and works with David Kirk of the First Nations Student Services on the Indigenize the Academy Committee. Her involvement with the committee focuses on how CapU “can bring more indigenous faculty, more indigenous curriculum into the university… and then truly respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report,” she said.
Recently, Bracewell sat in as a panelist during a meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW). “It was four students from CapU and me as a faculty member talking about women in post-secondary education today,” she said.
Bracewell is bustling and curious, and keeps her hands full with being on a variety of committees and attending conferences, such as the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) of which she is a member.
“I love learning,” she said. “From the beginning, I found energy in the classroom, in what students give back, the perspectives that they bring from their own lives, it’s just so interesting.” On her role as an instructor, Bracewell reflects that same energy back to her students, hoping to inspire them. “For teaching, you need to be organized and communicate clearly with your students,” she said. “I think it starts with a passion for what you’re teaching and then comes passion for the students in what they are going through.” Bracewell hopes that students take away practical, everyday knowledge from her classes and encourages her students to “find value in looking at issues from a different perspective, using different approaches, and… just see learning as valuable.”
Bracewell did her major in Ethnomusicology, an area of interest that came from her fascination of looking at cultural diversity and the various kinds of musical cultures that exist. For Bracewell, it was the combination of her interest in musical culture and cultural diversity that brought her to her chosen field. “I went out that path and ended up majoring in Ethnomusicology,” she said.
Her other passion? Knitting. Aside from that, Bracewell spends her free time with her family, hiking, reading and relaxing.
Bracewell will go above and beyond for her students, and is a perfect example of a mentor. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that she would take home the award for Best Professor, nominated exclusively by students and other community members at CapU. “Make the most of your time here at Capilano University,” she said. “Try to get involved in extracurricular activities. It’s valuable to be involved in a life off the campus beyond going to class.”