Susan Drain (2006)

drainAffiliation at the time of the award: Mount Saint Vincent University, English.

Citation: “I am a teacher of writing, not because I love red ink, but because I love precision, or the endless struggle to approximate it.”

For Susan Drain,“writing is as important to university study as health is to productive, enjoyable lives.” This passionate, influential professor sees the teaching of writing as the best teaching one can do, and her students and colleagues have recognized her as one of the best in the Atlantic region, honoring her with the Association of Atlantic Universities Instructional Leadership Award.

Susan says her teaching comes down to two central points: helping her students to interpret the world and to ask “So what?”

Ask “so what?” about Susan’s teaching and leadership, and the answers are clear. Innovative—her students describe in words exhibits in the art gallery so that their peers can identify them on the wall. Inspiring- colleagues from every discipline at Mount Saint Vincent University look to Susan for guidance in writing, assessment, and other aspects of teaching. They attend her frequent brown bag lunch sessions, read her Bright Ideas Bulletin, and look to her as a mentor.

“When I think of Susan,” says her nominator, “I think of her garden. No ready-made dependence on a professional landscaper. Susan works on her hands and knees to prepare the soil and then plans carefully to determine just what blend of textures and colors will bring her creative vision to life.” Her students, like her plants, flourish under her care.