After 13 years at UBC’s Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS), Dr. Stéphanie Palisse, Assistant Professor of Teaching in French, reflects on memorable moments during her time at UBC.
“Leaving UBC has been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I loved working at FHIS and will miss my colleagues; I’ve learned so much from them.”
I started working at UBC in 2009 in the Extended Learning program, particularly on intensive programs such as Explore and the Quebec Summer Institute. I really wanted to work at FHIS before that, but was waiting for an opportunity to arise. I worked for a year in Toronto, but by the end of the year I was really missing Vancouver so I looked on FHIS website one day and there it was: they were hiring sessional instructors!
FHIS first offered me a sessional instructor position to teach one course, which I initially declined, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to afford rent with only one course, and that the time of day in which the course was offered would prevent me from finding something on the side. Serendipitously, the department never read my original declination and contacted me again a few weeks later to follow up on the offer, so I decided to take a leap of faith and accepted it. Soon after, they offered me a second course to teach, so I knew I had made the right decision!
“I felt like I was right in the middle of a significant change… like I was part of something big.”
There were many highlights of my career, but perhaps one that stands out to me is the day I got an email from Ralph Sarkonak on a Friday afternoon, telling me not to stress too much over the weekend because I got promoted to Assistant Professor of Teaching. I remember calling my parents, who were taking a vacation in Spain, crying tears of joy—and they couldn’t understand a word I was saying!
There were so many rewarding aspects of my career in terms of teaching, but also collaborating with colleagues in French, Spanish and Italian. The time we collectively made the decision to change the course textbooks to follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) made me feel like I was right in the middle of a significant change… like I was part of something big.
Since moving to France, my biggest fear has been not fitting in and not finding a job that could be even 50% as awesome as my job at UBC. Right now, I’ve been working part-time at Sciences Po Paris as the Summer School Academic Advisor, which has been very interesting and exciting! Their campus is amazing. I’ll also be working as the Studies Director of the International French Centre at the Lumière University Lyon 2. And I’ll still be teaching, of course! Keeping busy!
Leaving UBC has been the HARDEST decision I’ve ever had to make. I loved working at FHIS and will miss my colleagues; I’ve learned so much from them (they know who they are). I’ll miss the discussions, the mix of languages, the richness of the professional and personal interactions. Merci, gracias, grazie, thank you!