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Meet our Team: Dale McCarthy

  • Meet our Team: Dale McCarthy

Meet our Team is an ongoing blog series that features faculty and staff.

Dale McCarthy has worked at Bow Valley College since May 1982. In her tenure, she has worn numerous hats, some of which include: instructor in ELL, School of Business and academic upgrading, president of the Faculty Association, curriculum developer, coordinator of International ELL and a project lead in Canadian International Development Agency projects carried out by Bow Valley College in Namibia.

Dale is currently the Staffing Coordinator . Key to her role is to support and maintain the highest caliber of instructors in the numerous ELL classes and programs that are offered within the Centre. A typical workday for Dale involves hiring and orienting new faculty members, conducting classroom observations and learner perceptions, and providing ongoing instructor and program support. After 33 years of dedicated work, Dale is retiring on June 26, 2015. Her contributions to the Centre and to the field of ELL are vast.

To capture a snapshot of her tenure at the College, we asked Dale to share some insights about her work and herself.

What do you like most about your job?

The people I work with. It inspires me to know how committed the people, who I work with, are. It feeds my soul and has made me better at the work I do. It’s inspiring. We all seem to be on the same road at the same time – and it’s a good road.

What’s one thing that you have learned since working here?

Everything is about process and destination points have to be flexible. I have come to realize that most things are fluid, meaning things change all the time and there are always better ways to accomplish things. As a result, I am not as product-oriented as I was before, and I experience a sense of joy in the course of continually reviewing and refining ways to do things.

What do you value most in your colleagues?

I admire their level of commitment in the work they do. In my role, people tend to share personal stories with me, and I have gotten to know a great deal about the people I work with. I am humbled, in many cases, by all the things my colleagues do in their lives and their jobs. A regret is that I don’t have enough time in the day to connect with everyone personally.

Who is an educator that has impacted your work?

I had the distinct pleasure of job sharing with Clare Myers for many years. It was a magical time for me because there was a synergy between us that I had never experienced before. It was effortless. Our learners were so engaged that I did not think I could go back to teaching on my own again. And, I didn’t. Clare helped learners become self-directed, self-actualized people. It was powerful to contribute to that.

What are three traits that are important to your role?

  • Tough like Teflon: You need to have the ability to let things roll off your back. It’s difficult to make everyone happy, and it is important not to let decisions ruin the relationships you have at work. This took time for me to learn as I did not anticipate this challenge in my role.
  • Strong organizational skills: I am random abstract but this position requires effective organizations as I am responsible for many things – lots of different items come across my desk that need to be addressed simultaneously. For me, it looks like an organized chaos as I don’t file anything away until it is complete.
  • Empathy – Many of the challenges that I face on a day-to-day basis are things I can empathize with because they are situations that I have experienced myself. My tenure at BVC is so vast that I am able to focus on recovery versus disaster. In most cases, I have already experienced the disaster and have come out on the other side; therefore, I am able to empathize with and support people.

Can you describe a memorable moment in your career?

There have been a few. One that stands out is winning the Faculty Award of Excellence in 2005. The award is presented to a member of the Bow Valley College Faculty Association who has shown outstanding performance, and it is a peer nomination. Being nominated by my peers has touched me deeply, and the award itself is a tangible object that has sat on my desk since the day I was presented with it. It acts as a reminder that if you work hard, people notice you. On the day of my retirement, it is coming home with me. It will be prominently placed in my house, so it can provide the same inspiration in my retirement that it has at work.

Name one thing about yourself that people don’t know.

Hmmm…I think I am an open book. Actually, people think that I am tougher than I am. Things get to me more than I let on at work. I try not to bring unpleasant things home, but I am not really made of Teflon and I have had to work at not letting things bother me.

What advice would you offer to new faculty members in the Centre?

Listen to and feel what is around you. Try to understand your place in the current culture and try to articulate what you bring to the situations as a unique individual. If you can see it and feel it, you will point yourself in the right direction.

What do you look forward to in your retirement?

I really look forward to not taking public transportation and not hearing my alarm ring at a ridiculous time every morning. Most of all, I look forward to saying ‘yes’ to the things that I want to do and not letting what I need to do get in the way. My new motto is, ‘yes’ or, perhaps, “Sure, I can pack my bag right now.”

A note from Dale’s colleagues: Dale, you will be missed. We are so very grateful for the expertise you have brought to the College. Thank you for your long-term commitment and congratulations on your retirement.