Award for Tracey Kinney a cherry on top of a 30-year KPU career

Thu, Jun 20, 2024

History instructor Dr. Tracey J. Kinney has won a Dean of Arts Teaching Award, recognizing her commitment to teaching excellence and academic achievement on the eve of her retirement.

Kinney has been teaching at KPU for 30 years. She was hired in 1994 to teach first- and second-year European and world history and over time expanded her interests to include the medieval world, the historical role of textile production, and most recently global food and pandemic disease histories.

“Tracey has taught thousands of students during her time at KPU and has become known for her exceptional ability to keep courses engaging and interesting,” says Dr. Shelley Boyd, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at KPU. “She has had a transformative impact both inside and outside the classroom. Her dedication and innovative pedagogies have been recognized by both students and colleagues. Congratulations Tracey.”

According to Kinney, receiving the award in her 30th and final year of teaching is a tremendous honour and a major career achievement.

Tracey Kinney
Kinney (left) received her award from Holly Longair, Associate Dean pro tem, Faculty of Arts.

“Receiving this award confirmed what I had always hoped: that I could be as effective on my last day of teaching as I was on my first,” says Kinney. “While my classroom has changed dramatically over the years, my goal to centre and value the contributions of every single student has not.

“It’s easy to teach a student who loves history. Engaging the student who ends up in a history course because it’s the only available elective is the real challenge. But every class produces teachable moments — opportunities to make the day’s topic relevant and to build skills that every student will use in the future. Recognizing and embracing those moments, to me, is the key to effective education.”

One of Kinney ’s crowning achievements during her time at KPU was leading a curriculum revitalization during her third term as Chair of the History Department. The revamp saw old areas of study scrapped and new thematic courses integrated into the history department's curriculum to make it more relevant to the world today. Another highlight for Kinney was working with her colleagues to create a new arts practicum course, ARTS 4800.

“The ARTS 4800 course allows students in areas that didn’t traditionally have access to a practicum, or any form of work-integrated learning, to gain real-world experience as they complete their undergraduate degree,” explains Kinney.   

The course was successfully launched in 2019 and runs every year in the fall semester.

For the first time in three decades Kinney won’t be prepping for the fall semester this summer, but she still has plans to keep herself busy heading into retirement.

“I’ll be heading off to my favourite city in the world — London — at the end of summer,” Kinney shares. “On the first day of classes I’ll be sitting in the café at the Tate Modern, eating a ridiculously overpriced sandwich, and thinking back on all of the amazing students I’ve taught over the years.”

Kinney isn’t planning on stepping away from academia entirely, as she entertains the possibility of teaching a class or two in case she gets bored at home.

“I’d like to recognize my colleagues in the History department. Working alongside each of them has been a genuine pleasure and a constant learning experience. The department is poised to do amazing things over the next few years and KPU’s students will benefit immensely from the dedication of my colleagues. And I just want to extend a very sincere thank you to all of the students I’ve taught over the years, some of whom took as many as five or six courses with me. Thank you for all of your contributions over the years.”