Vic Cowan (2013)

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Guelph

Citation: Vic volunteers as a teacher-intern with the Inspired Minds: All Nations Creative Writing program at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre. S/he facilitates workshops for a small group of inmates and edits a publication of inmate art and writing. Vic’s work is motivated by a desire to work with diverse perspectives and pedagogies and by the importance s/he places upon reciprocal learning and community building. Hi/r vision of leadership is deeply informed by hi/r experiences as a peer facilitator and co-learner. S/he is also a firm believer in the value of taking risks and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. The courage and vulnerability required to do so become a means to strengthen understanding and, thus, enhance learning.Experiential learning is at the heart of Vic’s leadership practice. Sustained volunteering with the University Learning Center’s Learning Communities and Community Service-Learning programs has helped facilitate hi/r understanding of leadership as a non-hierarchical, inclusive process. Additionally, hi/r experience this past summer with The Otesha Project, an environmental organization that empowers youth to make sustainable lifestyle choices, has profoundly influenced Vic’s approach to meaningful leadership and social change as communal and collaborative in nature.