Meet the Faculty: Ian VanderBurgh

Our “Meet the Faculty” interviews provide a window into the work lives of faculty across the University of Waterloo—and how much that work differs from person to person. We’ll talk about the day-to-day joys and struggles of academia and share tips for getting the work done and staying mentally and physically healthy in academia.

Ian VanderBurgh is a lecturer and director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) in the Faculty of Math.

What is the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing and what do you do as director?

CEMC is the outreach arm of the Faculty of Mathematics. We do activities in elementary and secondary schools to promote mathematics and computer science to students and teachers: contests, school visits, workshops and conferences, and an online master’s program for teachers.

My role is to help other people do what they love and need to do, and to try not to get in the way. And help solve problems when they need to be solved.

What do you teach these days?

Most of my teaching comes in our Master of Mathematics for Teachers, which is an online, part-time, professional master’s program for active high school teachers—and occasionally undergrad classes.

What other roles do you have on campus or in the community?

On campus, I am the chair of the University’s Complementary Teaching Assessment Project Team. We’re looking at ways of assessing teaching other than student course perception surveys. That’s been a great experience for me so far and it’s an important thing for the University to be looking at. I’m heavily involved in undergrad admissions for Math as well.

Outside of the University, I’m the pianist for the Grand Philharmonic Choir and also accompany the Wilfrid Laurier Concert Choir sometimes, too.

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Meet the Faculty: Kim Hong Nguyen

Our “Meet the Faculty” interviews provide a window into the work lives of faculty across the University of Waterloo—and how much that work differs from person to person. We’ll talk about the day-to-day joys and struggles of academia and share tips for getting the work done and staying mentally and physically healthy in academia.

We’re starting with Kim Hong Nguyen. Kim Hong is an assistant professor in Communication Arts and a faculty representative for Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays.

Kim, what do you teach and research?

My research and teaching explore the relationship between equity, power, and identity in public controversies related to communication practices. I teach students how our communicative practices and interpretative frameworks intersect with race, gender/sexuality, class, and other visible identity markers. I write about controversies that raise new questions about how to perform and talk about identity. Controversies that interest me are ones that focus on the use of one word, a trope, an expression, or a cultural practice and create questions about who can say, do, and perform them.

What are you passionate about in your work?

Though I might not be the best public speaker, I am passionate about communicating well and all that that entails. This means I want all of my students to communicate well, but also learn how to be good, forgiving listeners. I hope my teaching provides them a space to explore what that means and a space to practice. This also means that my research explores how the public communication practices of visible minorities are interpreted and tries to identify the different frameworks that allow for that public communication to be seen as effective and not effective.

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