Experiencing outstanding minds


After much contemplation, I decided to pursue my doctorate at Simon Fraser University. I had investigated the possibility but was still uncertain. I emailed the Education Faculty contact, which led me to Dr. Jeff Sugarman. He emailed me back inside of one hour! We chatted and he suggested that due to my research area, I might contact Dr. John Nesbit. I emailed, and John met with me and generously shared his knowledge and insights about the program and my specific research ideas. 

Meeting John meant I would apply to SFU. I felt like I had indeed found the right place to continue my education. I was accepted. That first term, I had the outstanding good fortune to have Dr. Phil Winne instruct me in both EDUC 971: Advanced Topics in Educational Psychology and EDUC 840: Graduate Seminar.

There was a small group of us in 971 and the topic was metacognition. The discussions were mind-boggling and intriguing. That class with Phil Winne was what I had been waiting for my entire educational life: a brilliant professor, articulate and thoughtful students, and vital and intelligent content.

In EDUC 840, students were asked to read a text about ethics and given the rare opportunity to ask Phil about virtually anything touching upon education and psychology. At coffee break, students would marvel about how “Phil knew everything.” It was undeniable. We’d ask him questions about ethics, education, self-regulation, metacognition, statistics, design, research—anything—and he would tell us with great depth and detail everything and anything we wanted to know. His knowledge was all in his head. He never once consulted a book or computer or piece of paper. Phil is a legend.

Throughout my years at SFU, I have known that I chose SFU because of Dr. John Nesbit. His writing talents along with the methodological and statistical direction he provided led me from the beginning of the program to the final realization of my doctorate. I am so grateful. His patient willingness and flexibility to conduct many research discussions online meant that I could finish my research from afar when I landed a position instructing at another university. Every single meeting, in person or online, with John always made me eager to grow, try, believe and self-regulate.

Now that I am a professor, I reflect upon John’s style to guide me as I navigate uncharted waters. My life changed because of my exposure to these individuals. I have dwelt in academia my entire life as my father was also a professor and I have now become one. I am privileged to have experienced these outstanding minds. Attending Simon Fraser University has been pivotal in my life.

Sabrina Fox
PhD 2015

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