Paula Young’s relationship with Camosun College began in the 1980s when she enrolled in a first-year English Literature course. That led her, at age 34, to quit her job to attend Camosun full time. Her goal was to become an elementary special-ed teacher which meant she had to take two Canadian history courses. These courses encouraged her to think in entirely different ways about history. When the provincial government reduced funding for special-ed teachers, Paula shifted her goal towards obtaining a BA in History.
After completing two years at Camosun, Paula transferred to UVic where she completed a BA in 1994. She immediately began graduate studies and, in 1996, shortly before she defended her thesis, she was offered a contract to teach European History at Camosun. During the remaining 1990s, Paula took term contracts with the college whenever possible.
Around 2000, the History department had an opening and Paula was the successful applicant. She found herself working with Clarence Bolt and Larry Hannant whom she knew well. Susan Johnston, with whom she co-edited the history student journal at UVic, soon joined the team, as did Chris Morier. For her 16 years at Camosun, Paula could not have wished for better colleagues or friends.
Paula loved being involved in Camosun’s various communities. She sat on hiring committees and chaired the Humanities Department. She served in a variety of positions on the CCFA executive and was a member of the bargaining team for several rounds of bargaining.
Paula’s students were the primary focus of her world. In Paula’s classes, students read about, and discussed, issues that revealed the past in ways they had often never considered. They learned about First Nations and immigrant communities, politics, power, gender, ethnicity and class relations. Paula was particularly pleased when students questioned her or when they had their “ah hah!” moments.
One of Paula’s proudest achievements was working with her history colleagues to establish and fund the History Faculty Award, given annually to students who excelled in history.
Submitted by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree