While studying for his PhD, Dr. Paul Stuewe (PhD 2000) struggled to improve his pedagogical skills. For him, much of what he absorbed at UW contributed to his teaching ability, whether it was through assignments given by various professors or conversations with his fellow students. Finding that teaching is best learned through application, Paul would often have friends sit in on his classes to critique his performance. His peers gave him the kind of frank but friendly feedback that not even faculty guidance could provide.
Paul’s career followed a long and interesting path prior to his arrival at the University of Waterloo. He had a successful career both in publishing and as an author in his own right. Having completed his MA from the University of Toronto at the age of 37, he came to Waterloo at 51 to earn his PhD as a “late bloomer.”
Before embarking on his doctorate, his career consisted of equal parts freelance writing and bookselling. In 1990, he became the Editor of Books in Canada, a national literary review. Paul found the eminent company he kept in this position to be intellectually stimulating and consistent with the type of career he wanted to follow. In 1992, he completed Hugh Garner’s uncompleted work entitled Don’t Deal Five Deuces; the novel was not finished when Garner died in 1979. Four years later, Paul published a detective novel entitled This Dark Embrace.
While studying here, he came under the mentorship of Dr. Stan Fogel, such a terrific personal teacher and guide that Paul still refers to him (only half-jokingly) as his “rabbi.” His two favourite classes were taught by Professors Dave Goodwin and Lynne Magnusson; both classes involved a mini-seminar assignment, thus allowing Paul to improve his teaching skills by presenting his own research to a class. He also built upon teaching strategies by speaking to other PhD students, who were in the same predicament as he was. Finding that the professors were incredibly busy and thus often unable to assist the PhD students on teaching-related matters, the students themselves became each others’ most valuable pedagogical resource.
After graduation, Paul obtained an Assistant Professorship at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. In 2008, he was promoted to Associate Professor. Paul is in an interesting position at the college (as are many professors south of the border) because he doesn’t teach only English. Thanks to the liberal arts educational model in the U.S., he teaches world literature, detective fiction, creative writing, film studies, philosophy, and history as well as more traditional survey courses on English literature. “I’ve become a generalist,” he says, and is happy not to be walled within a particular specialization. A broad approach to the liberal arts, he finds, keeps him in touch with the greater scheme of things.