A Lifetime of Learning

October 07, 2004, vol. 31, no. 3
By Roberta Staley

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There is a saying: the truly educated never graduate. For SFU employees, Jana Milloy and Hilary Jones, who successfully juggled fulltime work and education, this month's convocation is a continuation, not the end to a lifetime of learning.

As a program assistant in the faculty of education's professional development program, Jana Milloy provides administrative support to nearly two-dozen faculty and 300 students.

A decade ago, Milloy, a native of the Czech Republic, achieved a SFU bachelor of fine arts, specializing in conceptual and installation art. Like many creative people, she had to seek work outside her chosen discipline.

She joined SFU's education faculty as an administrator, which allowed her to take advantage of a policy that waives tuition for employees. As passionate about writing and research as she is about painting, Milloy couldn't let such a golden opportunity slip by.

She entered the masters program in the faculty of education, writing the somewhat esoterically titled thesis, Incarnate Words and Phenomenology of Writing the Self where she explored the “importance of the body, its animation and gestures, and the implication of these movements in identity making.”

Highly structured time management allowed Milloy to finish her master of arts in education in two years, while continuing to run a household (Milloy, 46, has two grown children and two teens and a husband) and work at SFU.

Milloy has just started a PhD in education and hopes, eventually, to teach. She continues to work fulltime. “If you want something, if you are passionate about it, you find time for it,” says Milloy.

Hilary Jones is a departmental assistant and student adviser in the department of geography. Jones attended a two-year business program in England, where she grew up, then immigrated to Canada where she began working at SFU when the campus first opened in 1965.

Since then, she has worked as a secretary at SFU, taken time off to rear two children and returned to the university. Despite running a household and a career, Jones could never shake off the urge to continue her formal education.

She finally took the plunge three years ago and started a bachelor of general studies in the liberal and business studies program at Harbour Centre, a degree that is specially designed for those who hold down a fulltime job.

About 30 students take the same courses together, three semesters a year. “That was the best part of the program, getting to know everybody; the support you get from the other students is pretty incredible, ” says Jones, who is particularly grateful to the geography department for allowing her to take every third Thursday and Friday off work to attend classes.

Jones and her cohorts are planning to start an alumni group for graduates of the liberal and business studies program, which is now in its 10th year. “It will allow us to extend our learning experiences as well as our professional and social contacts,” says Jones, who is in her early 60s. “It's never too late to learn,” she adds.

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