Sunday, December 17, 2017

Know Your Profs: Camosun’s Nancy Yakimoski says education more than just good grades

September 21, 2016 by Adam Marsh, student editor 

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profiles on the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor at Camosun the same 10 questions to get to know them a little better.

Do you have an instructor that you want to see interviewed in the paper? Maybe you want to know more about one of your teachers, but you’re too busy, or shy, to ask? Email editor@nexusnewspaper.com and we’ll add your instructor to our list of teachers to talk to.

This issue, we talked to Camosun Visual Arts instructor Nancy Yakimoski about the role of networking in procuring employment after post-secondary, the mess in her office, and her second collection of poetry.

1. What do you teach and how long have you been teaching at Camosun?

I teach creative photography, art history, and visual culture courses in the Visual Arts department. I’ve been teaching at the college for 20 years.

2. What do you personally get out of teaching?

Learning new material as I tweak my lectures and assignments—it’s my ongoing education as I educate. I also enjoy the challenge of creating new ways to teach material. And it’s very satisfying to help students take their ideas and finesse them into an essay or an art piece.

Camosun College Visual Arts instructor Nancy Yakimoski (photo by Jill Westby/Nexus).

Camosun College Visual Arts instructor Nancy Yakimoski (photo by Jill Westby/Nexus).

3. What’s one thing you wish your students knew about you?

I am fully invested in their success before they step into the classroom—but they need to take an active role in their learning. I would like them to be travellers, and not tourists, in their education.

4. What’s one thing you wish they didn’t know about you?

For some reason, I am unable to keep my office space tidy.

5. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here?

The best thing is witnessing students’ successes—in all its forms. A real thrill, though, is having students tell me a class they took with me made them see the world in a different way, or, better, they chose that field to pursue after leaving Camosun.

6. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here?

Budget cuts—and a climate of fear and uncertainty that it creates while it is happening, plus the long-term effects it has on the college community.

7. What do you see in the future of post-secondary education?

It troubles me that education is advertised in terms of time, for example, 10 months equals a job. I understand the economic reasons, and how enticing this must be. I am of a different philosophy, one that has guided my own education. As a student, I realized that to achieve my career aspirations would take more than a piece of paper with good grades. I needed hands-on experience, a large network that included people from a variety of communities, plus the flexibility and creativity to adapt to the job market. This all comes with time, plus an education outside the classroom. What I hope to see in the future of post-secondary education is more formal and informal mentorship opportunities. I was excited when the BC Arts Council included funding for this kind of learning.

8. What do you do to relax on the weekends?

I hang out with my kids, work on the garden and yard, and write poetry. I’m working on my second poetry collection, investigating aspects of photography from the perspective of an artist and art historian.

9. What is your favourite meal?

Not to brag, but I make an outstanding beef wellington—a Rachael Ray recipe. Add to that a side of steamed broccoli and a glass of Shiraz, then finish it up with custard and fresh berries… I think I know what I’m making for supper now.

10. What’s your biggest pet peeve? 

Closed-minded people. Luckily, there are all types of creative people working against that.

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