100 Stories

Jan Purnis, B.A. Hons (Guelph), M.A., Ph.D. (Toronto)

Associate Professor of English, Campion College, University of Regina

Jan Purnis

Jan joined Campion’s faculty in 2010.

She enjoys a kaleidoscope of experiences that make up her every day’s work at the college. If her course load does not raise your curiosity, nothing will:

“ In my teaching I focus attention on how stereotypes are constructed and perpetuated, and thereby work to challenge them. I do this through my Shakespeare and other Renaissance literature courses, including courses on the body, colonialist discourse, shrew plays, and early modern horror, and in my first-year critical reading and writing courses, one of which is focused on the cannibal motif in literature.”

Jan values the many unique people she meets at Campion:

“I have been fortunate to have very supportive colleagues at Campion, and I have had the opportunity to teach many delightful students. I can think of numerous occasions when someone’s sense of humour made everyone else’s day. In a recent class, a student presented his short research presentation as instructed, but then brought out a guitar and sang a song he’d composed on the topic. I have also had the opportunity to supervise several dedicated tutor mentors assigned to my English 100 course; a very talented M.A. student as my research assistant over several years; and a highly motivated honours student’s thesis project, which received a prize. I have enjoyed the public lectures organized by Campion, like the inspiring Nash Lecture given by Sister Helen Prejean.”

Great accomplishments to Jan really mean having varied life experiences…some of which involve a challenge and a measure of risk:

“While I take pride in my scholarship, I am also proud of the hundreds of thousands of trees I planted over seven summers working as a tree planter in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. In our younger days, my husband and I also did a self-supported twenty-eight-day trek around much of Mount Kanchenchunga in Nepal and cycled around China for three months.”

She is thankful for the leadership shown by her teachers at each stage of her life and for the financial support of scholarships and grants. She in turn mindfully mentors the students she teaches now:

“Throughout my many years as a student, from elementary to graduate school, I have benefitted immensely from the many wonderful teachers and professors who taught me important skills, encouraged my intellectual curiosity, and offered crucial mentorship. In return, I make every effort to do the same for my students, and I am very happy to be teaching at Campion, where class sizes allow me an opportunity to do so…. Campion College strives to create a community in interaction with the broader community, and I am an active participant in college events.”

In gratitude Jan aims to serve others by engaging with her community at every opportunity:

“In addition to presenting my research findings to various audiences and hiring students to help with my most recent project on representations of cannibalism (which received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), I have participated in grant-writing workshops aimed at assisting students with their own applications and have adjudicated at the national level.”