We asked Christina Neigel about what is great about being a department head for a Library Technician program.
Below is her thoughtful response.
I marvel at the miraculous ways in which the world works. As a budding library technician and student at the University College of the Fraser Valley, more than 15 years ago, I thought it would be really “neat” to work in the library technician program as a teacher. I shrugged it off as a fleeting sentiment – it seemed to be such a remote possibility. I really had no idea that I might actually get my wish. Dancing around the idea of teaching children when I was an undergraduate student in the early 1990s, my desire to teach resurfaced when I became an instructional librarian at the University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University). I realized, quite quickly, that teaching adults was something that I was very good at. It was not long before I began looking to UFV for an opportunity to, at the very least, teach on contract.
Surprising myself (and not really anyone else), I began a permanent position at University of the Fraser Valley as an instructor in 2003. Three and half years later I was hurled into this strange role as a “department head”. Quite honestly, it is not a position free of challenges and angst. Tasked with the roles of administrator, teacher, mentor, course designer, counsellor, leader and much more, it is a position that carries tremendous responsibility. Of course, with this responsibility comes the delight in watching people find their passions, confidence, vision, knowledge and skill. For so many, the program is part of a journey of self-discovery that is only partly about “going to school”. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you had a small role to play in helping people grow.
As one who leads (and this is not as glamorous as it sounds), I am convinced that my role as department head is one that is intended to monitor, reflect, motivate and adapt to the changing expectations of our communities and organizations. Like most technician programs, our team is small but our commitment to teaching and learning is huge. We deliver an outstanding education that constantly raises the bar for other programs – even within our own institution. The contact that I have with so many interesting people feeds my perpetual drive to learn and share – making this job a labour of love.
Department Head, Library and Information Technology Program
University of the Fraser Valley