Nathan Wilson is a full-time faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. He is the coordinator of the General Arts and Science (GAS) program. In addition to teaching courses in GAS, he also teaches communications and general education courses as well as courses in the Pre-Health program.
Wilson jokes with his friends that he is simply a teacher of “stuff.”
Wilson’s educational background began when he earned a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, double majoring in journalism and history. He continued his education at Dalhousie University where he completed a Master’s degree in 20th Century European History, focusing on Germany. In addition to teaching full time, he is currently completing a PhD in History at York University. “My work looks at the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust and how memories of those events informed later social movements in both the US and West Germany,” Wilson explains.
Wilson would find his way to Durham College (DC) while he was writing, researching and publishing his works, teaching contractually with multiple universities such as York, Ryerson, the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and more.
“I happen to apply for teaching at Durham College, because I wished to gain more experience in the post-secondary sector, not just the university system,” says Wilson. “Kevin Baker and Bev Neblett, who were the Dean and Associate Dean of the School of IS at the time, threw me a bone. They gave me a shot and allowed me to get my feet wet with college teaching.”
Wilson says he was impressed by the emphasis DC placed on student success, on top of the supports for faculty and students alike, such as the CAFE and SALS.
Today, he teaches various courses across multiple disciplines and says he not only enjoys his job, but actively works to keep his curriculum innovative for his wide variety of students.
“I feel fortunate that my courses allow me to engage with so many different students – it’s never dull and I learn so much about the college and what folks are doing here in the process,” says Wilson. “In terms of keeping things innovative, I try to engage students in a variety of ways. In Human Relations, for example, I deploy a range of active learning strategies such as one-minute papers, think-pair-shares, in-class case studies, role-play scenarios, debates, concept mapping and self-assessments.”
Next year, Wilson says the General Arts and Science program is undergoing a comprehensive review, which could see new changes on the horizon.
“This is a systematic assessment of the program that only occurs every five to seven years. The CAFE helps to facilitate this process,” says Wilson. “The conclusions drawn from this process lead to recommendations for improvement. It’s pretty extensive and should yield some interesting results. The last time that we did this, GAS and Pre-Health were the same program so a lot has changed.”
While things may change for Wilson and the program in the future, one thing remains the same: his passion for his job and his students.
“Every group is different. I find it challenging and exciting. I thoroughly enjoy our discussions. It sounds cliché but I learn so much from engaging with students,” he says. “I hope all students enjoy their time at the college. I hope they find value in what they do, here and in the future. I wish all of them nothing but success.”
Written By: Jacklynne Graves, Third Year , Journalism – Mass Media Student