For Kathleen Bazkur, her Master of Education wasn’t just a conduit to advancing her career, but it also demonstrated her commitment to lifelong learning and satisfied her insatiable curiosity and appetite for education.
Bazkur graduated from Yorkville University’s MEd in Adult Education in 2016 and, in the same year, was appointed Dean of Loyalist College’s School of Media, Arts + Design and Continuing Education. Prior to the appointment, Bazkur had been Acting Dean and before that, the co-ordinator of and professor in the Television and New Media Production program.
“I fell into teaching. I had worked in television, branding and programming for over 20 years in Toronto,” Bazkur said. “It was really interesting, that the more I became successful, the further away I was from what truly inspired me.”
The pillars of her personal values, Bazkur said, were creativity and mentoring young people, but that had been lacking in the later phase of her career in television. But when she moved to Prince Edward County and took a part-time job teaching at the college, it allowed her to actualize her desire to be creative and mentor young people.
Her decision to go back to school herself furthered her capacity in these areas and Yorkville University was the perfect avenue to do so.
“I’ve always been a curious person and I am committed to lifelong learning, so the ability to attain a credential of MEd in Adult Education and to do it completely online with Yorkville University, was not only convenient for me and the challenges of my schedule, but it also seemed to exemplify the innovation that is happening in learning,” Bazkur said. “It was a wonderful journey on which to embark.”
The credential was also important to Bazkur securing the deanship and demonstrated her commitment to educational leadership.
“We are in the business of offering experiential learning opportunities that lead to credentials that then lead to people attaining career success,” she said. “So, in a way, that is the role of a dean, to attain a credential that underscores what the job is about.”
Realizing her masters was also a meaningful thing for Bazkur to do, she said, as it meant she was walking the talk.
“When I think about the power that faculty has in our classrooms, labs and studios, it’s really exemplifying a commitment to lifelong learning,” Bazkur said. “I wouldn’t ask faculty to do that without demonstrating that myself.”
Bazkur said she found Yorkville’s MEd in Adult Education to be a nice blend of literature review and she also found the online discussion forums to be a very valuable learning experience.
“The sharing of different perspectives as we made our way through each course, was just wonderful,” Bazkur said.
Here final action research for the program was on first generation students and the supports available to them, content, which she found immediately applicable to her role at the college.
“I was a first-generation learner when I embarked on post-secondary decades ago and I think those students who take that leap and are the first in their families to go to college or university need as many supports around them as possible,” Bazkur said. “They are really charting a course that is different from anyone in their family and that can be sort of a lonely place at times. Our work should be to surround them with possibilities.”