New faculty member fuels passion for Aboriginal language and education
By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer
Lindsay Morcom is passionate about both linguistics and education: a combination that makes her position as the newest coordinator of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) a perfect fit.
“I came to a knowledge of aboriginal culture through the education system,” says Dr. Morcom, a Saskatchewanian who became an Assistant Professor at Queen’s in April 2013. “I got really interested in the importance of language preservation,” she explains, “because when a language dies, all the knowledge carried within that language, including how you think about the world, is lost.”
It was that fascination which spurred Dr. Morcom to study linguistics, ultimately leading her to Oxford University where she earned her doctorate as a Rhodes Scholar in Linguistics in 2010.
In her role at Queen’s, Dr. Morcom will oversee a team of three within the campus- and community-based program that allows teacher candidates – particularly those with Aboriginal heritage – to specialize in Aboriginal education. “We aim to look at different ways of knowing,” she says, “so we bring in the basic tools that are part of the Ontario curriculum, but we also acknowledge the wisdom that is held in Aboriginal communities and languages.”
Alumni from ATEP, which has been running since 1991, currently work as teachers and administrators with school boards right across the country, as well as in museums and with the government. “It’s really exciting,” says Dr. Morcom of the program, which is run at West Campus as well as at three community sites in Ontario, including Six Nations Polytechnic, the Manitoulin-North Shore region, and Seven Generations Education Institute. “Because the program is campus- and community-based, it allows learners to operate in the context they are most comfortable with.”
While she admits things have been busy since her arrival at Queen’s, Dr. Morcom is enthusiastic about what her future holds. “This is such a fantastic position and I’m so excited to be here,” she says. “If Queen’s will keep me, I’ll stay here ‘til I’m 100!”