Jen Currin awarded for their dedication to student success

Mon, Jun 24, 2024

Jen Currin, creative writing instructor at KPU, has won a Dean of Arts Teaching Award, recognizing their commitment to teaching excellence and academic achievement that has left a lasting impact on students and the university itself.

Currin has been teaching creative writing in KPU’s Faculty of Arts for 14 years, having started with KPU in the fall 2010 semester. They have also taught in the Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation in English upgrading for nine years.

“Jen’s dedication to fostering each student’s unique voice and creativity has provided their students with a deeply meaningful and enriching academic experience,” says Dr. Shelley Boyd, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at KPU.  “Jen always works diligently to create an inspiring, supportive learning environment.”

Currin’s dedication to fostering their students’ creative impulses has left a major impression on both students and colleagues alike. This was Currin’s third nomination for a Dean of Arts Teaching Award, something they are profoundly grateful for.

Jen Currin receiving their award from Holly Longair, Associate Dean pro tem, Faculty of Arts
Jen Currin (left) receiving their award from Holly Longair, Associate Dean pro tem, Faculty of Arts.

“It's very sweet to win the award but I'm actually the most touched by having been nominated because it shows that my students and colleagues have believed in my teaching enough that they wanted to nominate me three times over the last decade,” says Currin. 

“With teaching, there are the instantaneous rewards that happen when you see students help and inspire each other, but many of the rewards of teaching come years later when a student reaches out to tell me they’ve published their first poem, or that a topic in my class really mattered to them and had a lasting impact. It’s the best part of the job.”

The list of ways that Currin has left their mark on the KPU community is a long one and showcases their dedication to creating an even better place to learn and teach. They have served as the faculty liaison for student clubs, organized reading series, arranged the year-end student awards ceremony and judged the student scholarships. Currin has also organized faculty training on working with Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) students and neurodivergent students, and served on the curriculum committee that oversaw a huge curriculum revision in 2016. 

“That was a huge amount of work but it was worth it because the outcome has been great,” says Currin. “It's been easier for students to get through the pathway.”

Currin is currently a co-chair of the Creating Writing Department, along with 2023 Dean of Arts Teaching Award recipient Nicola Harwood, and they both have started work on another curriculum revision for the department.

The creative writing doesn’t stop when Currin leaves the classroom. Currin is celebrating the recent publication of their short-story collection Disembark: Stories, which showcases modes of realism and speculative storytelling and gives readers insight into the ways we relate in this world and worlds beyond. Currin has also been nominated for, and won, multiple awards for their published poetry and short stories, which emphasize feminist and queer themes.

Off campus, Currin stays active in the local writing community by organizing poetry readings, attending literary events and mentoring writers outside of KPU. Currin also enjoys tilling the soil at the local community garden.

“I'm obsessed with growing lots of different kinds of greens because I like to eat a lot of salad,” explains Currin. “It's also a fun way to connect with the community and with my neighbours. Sometimes gardening makes its way into my writing, especially my poems. I might write a short story about gardening sometime soon too.”

Currin will be holding public readings from their newest book throughout the summer. Find more details here