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Faculty Profiles

Faculty: In Their Own Words - Dr. Heather Campbell-Enns

Dr. Heather Campbell-Enns, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Heather Campbell-Enns, Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Heather Campbell-Enns is Associate Professor of Psychology. She has taught at CMU since 2019.

What are you teaching right now that you're most excited about?

"Identity and Intersectionality." That class has been just a pleasure. We're asking questions of identity, looking at concepts and theories of identity. Students are really wrestling with, "Who am I?" Questions around how stable is my identity and how much am I changing and who am I becoming? It's such a beautiful experience, with these students who come into this course at the end of their degree, thinking about: who have I become in this program at CMU? They come into the class with a lot of curiosity, and I see them go through this uncomfortable time of being faced with these questions. I've taught it a few times, and by the end of the course they're grounded into knowing something about themselves and accepting that they are becoming someone and that it's a lifelong journey. That has been really beautiful—including students talking about who am I in relation to the church and the God I've always known and who I am still knowing. It's been impactful for me to witness that with students because it's a journey we're all still on and to have them share that with me is pretty remarkable.

Where or how do students give you hope?

This is connected to why I love being at CMU. Seeing students for multiple years at a time in a smaller environment, you get to actually observe students change and grow and transform over time. Connected to that, there's a lounge where my office is and it's pretty active. I get to hear and see students relating to each other when maybe they wouldn't otherwise. These are probably not students from the same social circle, but they're doing group projects there, which turns into playing cards and hanging out. A few years ago they put up a makeshift ping pong table in that lounge—I think books were paddles. There's just a lot of play that happens there, so I get to observe a lot of fun and that brings me hope because I know these students are also struggling. They've got heavy loads, not just academically, but a lot of burdens they're bearing. To see that play before the pandemic and happening now after the pandemic, that's a pretty hopeful thing.

What are you researching and writing?

Right now I'm doing work with families who have older adults that are living with dementia. We look at family dynamics and interpersonal relationships and how those change during caring for someone with dementia. What goals of care families have, are those being met, and how the health system can be helpful and also limits the family in the care they provide each other. I have been doing that work for the last few years—it's about the family that is experiencing aging and are trying to do that work together. It's not just the traditional family, but whoever we consider to be family. Usually the research I do tends to produce articles for peer review journals, reports to government, and reports to organizations, like the Alzheimer's Society of Manitoba, for example. It's meant to be really practical work.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I'm thinking a lot right now about BIPOC people in the church. I am a white person in a transracial family, so there's that piece of it where I'm fairly sensitive to it and also know I need to really be an ally for people who are BIPOC in the church. Also following the lead of people in my family who are people of colour and trying to help fill gaps—it's very personal, but I am still the bystander. I think there's room for the Mennonite church to really grow in how we listen to and involve people who are people of colour or Black and Indigenous people. That's an area that I think will grow for me in the next few years.

What are you reading for enjoyment?

I tend to read certain genres—historical fiction, comforting mysteries. But for enjoyment, I tend to do other things, not reading. I like to sew and I like to do mixed media artwork. That to me is fun and a really good way to detach myself from thinking about teaching.

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