Thea Rutherford

"I knew that the Faculty of Education at SFU was the place for me after reading several of Dr. Lynn Fels’ academic papers online."

Year Graduated: 2016
Program/Degree: Arts Education MA

I am a writer, teacher and former journalist. I worked as a print/radio/TV reporter at home in the Bahamas for seven years, before teaching English at the junior high school level for two years. I received a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007, and a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from McGill University in 2004. My experiences as a teacher gave birth to questions for which I wanted answers and creative solutions, thus my presence at SFU.

Please tell us how you first discovered your program.

As classroom teaching piqued my curiosity about the field of education in general, I knew I wanted to return to university. I prayed for direction. In the summer of 2011 I surfed the internet, specifically for schools in British Columbia because I had always thought that it was a beautiful place. I found SFU, and was excited about the Arts Education program.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.

I knew that the Faculty of Education at SFU was the place for me after reading several of Dr. Lynn Fels’ academic papers online. I started reading about “being wide awake” (Maxine Greene) and “natality” (Hannah Arendt), and felt rejuvenated and inspired. I knew that this was the kind of work I wanted to be doing, the kind of life-inspired research in which I wanted to be involved. I saw pieces of myself and my own teaching experiences and passions in the readings.

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?

Since enrolling in the program in Fall 2013 I have taken Dr. Vicki Kelly’s class and Dr. Fels’ class. I have enjoyed working with both professors immensely. In Dr. Kelly’s class I experienced a freedom to explore and to return to what she and others have referred to as the “Beginner’s Mind” in approaching any discipline. In Dr. Fels’ class I was given the opportunity to step into the world of “performative inquiry”, and to experience the freedom that comes with bounding, unfettered, through the door of “What If?”.

What inspires you to learn and continue your education?

I am inspired by love, freedom, and a sense of limitlessness that comes from my faith in God. I am also inspired by the wealth of knowledge that exists, free for the taking. With each text I read, each theorist I encounter, my curiosity grows. I want more answers, more views, more possibilities. Finally, I am inspired by the learners and facilitators with whom I have worked, the people of all ages that I have known, and the exciting opportunities I anticipate in the future.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school in the Faculty of Education?

You are standing at the threshold of a new and exciting portal. Cross it boldly and expectantly, valuing what you bring as well as what you will learn from your teachers and classmates!