How I became an academic: my first day of teaching & September 11, 2001

In the last six posts, I have described, in a somewhat impressionistic fashion my journey from elementary school through to getting hired as an assistant professor at McMaster University. In today’s post I describe my first teaching experiences and how September 11 marked them. The story starts on September 11, 2001, really, but first a […]


How I became an academic: Getting hired into the tenure-track at McMaster

In the last five blog posts, I described to you my journey from elementary school to the end of my postdoctoral fellowship among the Mìgmaq and how it all led to me becoming an academic. In this blog post, I will describe how I was hired at McMaster. I got a phone call from my […]

How I became an academic: My brief postdoc with the Mìgmaq and Danielle Cyr

In the last four blog posts, I described how my experiences in elementary school all the way to my PhD thesis defense influenced how I became an academic. In this post, I will describe my brief post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Danielle Cyr, during her time as interim Vice-Rector of the Université du Québec […]

How I became an academic: my year in Paris at the ENS

As I mentioned in my last blog post,the last thing I did in the second year of my PhD was to apply to spend a year as a guest of the French state. I applied to become a pensionnaire étranger at the École Normale Supérieure on the rue d’Ulm in Paris. I wasn’t sure why […]

How I became an academic: First part of grad school (1995-1997)

In my two previous posts, I gave an impressionistic account of how my experiences in elementary and high school, and undergraduate studies influenced my eventual journal to academia. In this post I will discuss my grad school experiences and how they contributed to who I am now. I finished my B.A. with the idea that […]

How I became an academic: My undergrad years

In my last blog post, I talked about how my elementary and high school years influenced me to become an academic. In this post I will talk about university. For a synopsis of my undergrad experience, you can read the first part of this post on why I am a university professor. I had an […]

How I became an academic: Part 1: My Elementary and High School Years.

Sometimes committing to something years in advance is a tricky thing. Your life can change significantly in the intervening time and you can find yourself feeling a little anachronistic when the moment of fulfilling your commitment arrives. That’s what it felt like for me to organise and host the LACUS linguistics conference a week ago. […]

Co-organised LACUS Conference.

Last week I organised a conference called LACUS – Linguistics Association of Canada and the United States. I love event planning. I love hosting people. I love throwing parties and cooking for people. So, last year, I agreed, with my colleague Dr Michael Kliffer from the Department of French, to host the Annual Meeting of […]

Why I am a professor

A friend of mine challenged me recently to explain why I am a university professor. “Why did you choose this path?” she asked me, over a glass of pinot grigio and nibblies on the terrace of the Bad Dog Café on trendy Locke Street in Hamilton, Ontario. “You’ve sacrificed a lot of your private life […]

Quite the day of airports and hot air balloonists.

Quite the day of travel today. I left my car in the long-term parking at Pearson airport and walked over to the Maple Leaf Lounge to wait for my flight. I love the ML lounges, because they really make for a happier trip, especially for someone like me – I can be a nervous flier […]

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