Category: faculty Page 1 of 2

Get to know your CMU profs! | Cassidy Brown

Do you remember when you were just starting elementary school, and you learned that the teachers did not in fact live in the school? If you’re anything like me, the idea of your teachers having lives, or even houses, outside of school was enough to blow your mind! Fast-forward to now, and believe it or not, your professors have lives and even hobbies outside of teaching!

Kenton Lobe

Today I want to highlight three of our CMU professors, and what occupies them when they aren’t shaping the minds of those who walk these halls. The first of these is Kenton Lobe, Teaching Assistant Professor of International Development and Environmental Studies, who also operates a community shared agriculture program, Prairie Lights, in Neubergthal, Manitoba. As a part-time professor, Kenton’s work on the farm is his second job away from the city and CMU. Working on a farm has not only been impacted by his work in the fields of development and environmental studies, but also impacts how and what he teaches. Working with the land and knowing the land has pushed him to bring his students outside (even when it seems too cold to do so), in order to make learning more embodied with the earth. If you haven’t taken a class with Kenton yet, and you’re interested in learning about the history of this earth, what are you waiting for?!

Craig Martin

But a passion for farming isn’t where it ends! Craig Martin, Assistant Professor of Business, spends his days teaching, but also dabbles in amateur astronomy and radio. While his interests aren’t as connected with his teaching here at CMU, he finds it’s important to have a hobby to create a space to disconnect from rigorous academia. The one chance accident that led to marrying these interests was during the Red River Flood. Craig was deployed as a communications person through his amateur radio club, where he ended up working with CMU and sand bagging houses! So, if you’re interested in business, radio, or space, stop by Craig’s office for a chat!

Irma Fast Dueck’s dog, Pelo

If you’re anything like me, the introduction of Zoom classes back in March, and professors and students introducing their pets, was a thrilling adventure! One professor in particular that has what might be the cutest dog is Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Irma Fast Dueck. Irma’s dog Pelo is a Lagotto Romagnolo. You may be wondering, what is so spectacular about a dog? This particular breed is almost extinct! Some fun facts about the Lagotto Romagnolo that Irma has gifted to us: they are nicknamed the “truffle dog” after their ability to hunt for mushrooms and they frequently appear in medieval art! When asked which Biblical “character” Pelo most resembles, Irma answered, “I’d have to say the disciple Peter. He is faithful and dedicated but he can seriously mess up. He means well though! Not sure I’d call him the rock that I’d build a house around, like Jesus did. Unless it was a toothpick house.”

The Lagotto Romagnolo dog, Pelo’s breed, is often featured in medieval art!

And those are just three of CMU’s many staff and faculty with second lives that may surprise or excite you! I encourage you to take this opportunity to pop into your professor’s metaphorical Zoom door and use the question “what do you do outside of school?” to begin to build a relationship outside of the classroom with your professors. Having this makes asking questions about assignments and projects much easier. Plus, you might get some cute dog pictures!

Cassidy Brown is a third year Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies student.

Perseverance, perspective, and a lot of papers: My experience at CMU

portrait of Christina Waldner for post - Perseverance, Perspective, and Lots of Papers: My Experience at CMU
When I started going to CMU in 2006 (yes, it’s been that long), I was so nervous.

I had many reasons to be uneasy, one being that I had a physical disability. You see, I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a chronic degenerative disorder. SMA is a complex condition but can be best summed up in the phrase, “The mind says go, but the muscles say no.”

Since the age of three, I have been in a power wheelchair and need physical assistance in carrying out daily tasks. I struggle a lot with fatigue but have been chipping away at my BA one course at a time.

Instinctively I knew I had an uphill battle in terms of professional opportunities, and thus became laser-focused on my education.
To me, attending university wasn’t about my social calendar or dorm life. It was about my GPA, the skills I would learn, and studying as much as I could. I felt the need to work twice as hard to open doors in a competitive job market. (Does it sound like I was fun at parties? Nerd alert!).

Perhaps similar to the experiences of international students, first generation students, or students with financial responsibilities, I felt enormous pressure to succeed.

That being said, the faculty and staff at CMU have been nothing but supportive, from helping me find note-takers, to advocating for accessibility on campus, to always offering a word of encouragement.

Once some of the staff found out I was an artist, they were quick to offer support and someone even suggested I sell my cards in the bookstore. Feeling overwhelmed, I turned the offer down. After all, university is strictly about academics, right?

Cristina Waldner with a friend and classmate at CMU. Perseverance, Perspective, and Lots of Papers: My Experience at CMU

It wasn’t until midway through my time at CMU that I realized how misinformed I was about my university experience. I came to a crossroads where the pressures of perfection were pulling me under.

Recognizing that I had created an idol of my education, I surrendered my academics to God. In this surrendering, I found a peace that was as liberating as it was transformative.

My perspective shifted as I began to appreciate CMU in a more holistic way. My eyes were opened, and my heart was ready for new friendships and new opportunities.

I approached the manager of CommonWord about selling my artwork and to my amazement, she said yes. My cards and paintings are now sold in the bookstore and I’ve been blown away by the positive response.

samples of Cristina Walder's cards on sale now at CommonWord Bookstore. Perseverance, Perspective, and Lots of Papers: My Experience at CMU

Soon after, Sandra Loeppky asked if I would share about being a student with a disability at forum. Feeling emboldened, I agreed and the morning turned out to be an incredible blessing. Other students shared their experiences as well and I began to realize the power of storytelling.

No longer feeling like I was just “that girl in a wheelchair” on campus, I was now in charge of my narrative. Recently, I started a blog to bring awareness to SMA and build a community-like space where people can relate to my experience in some way.

While health concerns have forced me to take more distance education courses as of late, I’m still a CMU student at heart. I am nearing the end of my studies but have cherished my time on campus.

To every freshman out there, know that there will be stress and probably more exams and papers than you know what to do with. Yet, there will also be experiences that will enrich your life in profound ways beyond the pages of a textbook.

New year. New semester. New opportunities. Let’s get started!

Cristina Waldner is completing a 4-year Bachelor of Arts in Counselling Studies, as well as a 3-year Bachelor of Arts in English.

Professors: The good, the better, and the very best


As a student, a course can be good because of the textbook, the topic, the time of day, or the amount of work. But for me, what makes or breaks a course is the professor. I’ve never had a professor that I hated, but I’ve started to figure out who teaches in a way I can best understand, and then I love taking classes. My professors have made my CMU experience what it is. Here are a few examples of professors I’ve had and how they have enriched my experience:

1. Editing papers if they are submitted a week early                                Writing papers is always stressful, and I often find myself second-guessing my topic and wondering if I’ve even understood the assignment. One of my professors tells all of his classes that if students submit their assignments a few days early, he will read them and make comments so that students can revise them before handing them in again.

2. Taking the biology class to the forest                                                               Sometimes it feels as though classes are disconnected from life outside the classroom and it’s hard to grasp how they fit together. For one of the biology classes I was in this semester where we were learning about ecology, our professor had us go outside and walk through the Assiniboine Forest together. This enabled the concepts of ecological succession and methods of environmental conservation to be more concrete.

3. Taking time to talk                                                                                            Before I came to CMU, I thought that professors were going to be scary academics who used long, complicated words and would only talk about school stuff. But my profs always take time to talk to their students. Every time I have a meeting with a prof, whether to ask a question about a paper or a course, the conversation is longer than I expect because they ask about my life and what I care about. I feel as though my profs know me beyond what I write in my assignments. They know what I care about and have helped me to grow as both a student and a person.

4. Bringing food to class                                                                                            Whether it’s the last class of the semester, their birthday, or paper writing season, when professors bring snacks to class it is always appreciated!

The professors at CMU care about their students and love what they teach. Every day, I feel so lucky to be able to sit in a classroom with these people who want to share with me the things that they are passionate about. It makes all the difference!


Meeting Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne RobinsonIn the first semester of my third year I decided to take a course called Literature & Theology taught by Dr. Paul Doerksen. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I made during my degree. Paul taught the class in a different style than he had before; we spent the whole semester studying the work of one scholar named Marilynne Robinson. Robinson’s confidence in her writing and awareness of the world are some of the qualities I admired in her.

10 benefits of attending a small university

On the daily, I am impressed by this school’s ability to inspire kindness and a passion for learning. How is CMU able to reach students in such a meaningful way, you may ask? That would be because of our size – we’re a small university! Here are 10 reasons why studying at a small university is a smart choice.

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