During the first week of her five-year term as vice president, the Advancement Office grabbed Kim Kierans for an interview. Kim had previously worked as director of the King's School of Journalism. (For a full biography, see her faculty profile here.)
She succeeds Dr. Chris Elson in her appointment, which runs from 2010 to 2015. Kim has been with the School of Journalism since 1997 and Kelly Toughill will be taking over as director. We caught up with Kim the morning after she returned to Halifax from a whirlwind, month-long trip through Asia. We met in her office at the journalism school, surrounded by boxes and piles of books.With typical graciousness she invited us in so we could ask a few questions.
Where were you during your travels and what were you doing?
I was in Phillipines, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia. I'm still on the faculty at the Asian Centre for Journalism in the Phillipines, so I was teaching there. I also taught a couple of workshops at a conference for emerging Asian leaders in multimedia. I travelled to the other areas to do research for a book called Asian Media Innovators.
You're incredibly busy.
Oh yes - I still have a full teaching load. We're here for the students, aren't we? If we can't be with students, what's the point of being here? That's what I love about the administration here. We're not just administering, but we're actually teaching as well. It's really important to have that connection with students.
I always remember my first day of J-School - you almost seemed more excited than we were! Obviously you really enjoy working with students. How do you intend to maintain that connection as VP?
I'm teaching the first year Foundations of Journalism course - I just love teaching that class. I'm also teaching Research for the BJ program, taking over from Kelly (Toughill). So I'll have a connection to both first yearstudents and the BJ students. And after Christmas, I'm doing assignment jobs for UNews for six weeks. I know some people might think it's crazy to do all this. But it keeps my hand in all of this in various ways, which is very important to me. Outside of the School of Journalism, I'm really close to the KSU as well. I really value the connection with the students' union and I plan to work with them on their projects, visions, and dreams. We've got to engage all of these future alumni. We must never forget that - it's why we're here.
In terms of your position as VP, what are some of the things you'd like to focus on at this early stage?
There are some really exciting things happen in the university. The School of Humanities - I want to see that become successful. And there's the Master of Journalism program in the works. I'm hoping I can play a positive role in helping those programs happen - just generally keeping the good ship King's running smoothly. We're going through a search for a new president which is a big and important decision that we have to make collectively, especially considering the finances. We need to figure out how we will navigate the financial difficulties waiting for us.
And what's your plan for the rest of the summer?
I'll be focused on the presidential search committee, and I'm going to read the procedural books - the pink book, the purple book, the yellow book (laughs) - I'll read them carefully, meet with Chris and he'll do a handover. I'm also going to go camping on the fjords of Saguenay, to try and keep a balance in my life. And I have to prepare for my courses - I've got to have portfolios ready by August 1. It's busy - really busy. I'm just finishing the J-school's annual report right now and that's probably my last act as director.
Will you miss it?
No - I'm not going to miss it. I'm not going to miss it because the (journalism) school is in such great shape. Kelly is fabulous and the state of the school is in really good hands. Everyone has a "best before" expiry date and I think it's a good idea to inject new ideas, energy, and focus, and Kelly's going to do that. She's just superb.
- compiled by Alison Lang