My name is Nicky Didicher, and I am from British and German settler peoples. I was born in North Bay, Ontario, on the territory of the Nipissing First Nation Anishinaabe, covered by the Robinson Huron and Upper Canada treaties. I want to acknowledge and make visible the harm that settler peoples have done and continue to do to the First Nations, and I hope that there can be a reconciliation that actually recognizes their land rights. For starters, we SO need to change the name of this university!
At Simon Fraser University, we live and work on unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the Səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. I was hired as a Senior Lecturer in SFU’s English dept. in the Fall of 2002, and I was promoted to University Lecturer in the Fall of 2018. Before working at SFU, I had eleven years of teaching experience at universities in four different Canadian provinces and one American state. My doctorate (1989) and MA (1985) are from Queen’s University in Kingston ON, and I did an Honours BA in English at the University of Guelph (1983).
My PhD dissertation was in 18th-century British literature (specifically on Oliver Goldsmith’s parodic works), and I did my MA project on Chaucer. Here at SFU I regularly teach 18th-century British literature, children’s literature (my field of secondary specialization), and the only Quantitative Analysis course in English, 212 Metrics and Prosody, which I developed. I also occasionally teach medieval literature, Romantic and Victorian literature, and science fiction and fantasy.
I am a firm believer in learning-centered teaching, which means I try to design my courses and my classroom activities in ways that will most benefit student learning. I think seriously about what my goals are with each course and each class within each course, and try to suit activities and assignments to match those goals. I rarely lecture, since lecturing is not often the best way to increase student learning in English as a discipline. My students will find themselves more often talking to each other, exploring and developing their own ideas, doing hands-on analysis of text, capturing a group’s observations and conclusions in an online collaboration, and so on, rather than passively sitting and listening.
Other teaching-related highlights from my c.v. include
- being a Faculty Tesching Fellow for two years for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- being a co-facilitator and co-leader for the Re-Thinking Course Design Workshop for several years
- serving on the Senate Committee for University Teaching and Learning for a few years
- helping occasionally with workshops for Teaching and Learning Grants recipients, and undertaking a grant myself
- attending pedagogical workshops and conferences, frequently
- winning the Lesley Cormack Innovative Teaching Award from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (2010)
- using Canvas in interesting and learning-promoting ways
- allowing students in some courses to choose what texts the class will read
- allowing students in some courses to choose what assignments they will do for marks, how much each will be worth, and when their due dates will be
- having students in some classes build group wikis or course wikis, and
- doing experiential & authentic learning (see publishing projects page and library project page).
I also enjoy singing, stage dance/gesture, and dressmaking. I try to make my period literature courses more interesting and relevant by wearing period dress to class, incorporating fine art and music into lecture classes, and encouraging students to blend their own creativity with forms and genres available in the period.