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Alumni

Duet: Jane Howell and Charlice Hurst

  • Pat Morden
  • |
  • Jul 1, 2013

Professors Jane Howell and Charlice Hurst share a passion for research and a talent for teaching that inspires.

Duet: Jane Howell and Charlice Hurst

What were the important early influences on you?

Howell: My family. My grandfather, a United Church minister, was a real scholar. He was open-minded, selfless and incredibly compassionate. My mother was a great listener, a great story-teller, and an exceptionally talented teacher. My father had an insatiable curiosity, boundless energy and was dedicated to community service. Learning, empathy and excellence were important family values.

Hurst: Being a member of the post-Civil Rights generation in the South was a big influence on me. My parents were both fiercely intelligent people, passionate about civil rights, very active, very principled. When I think about all the people who sacrificed so that I could have the opportunities I have, I keep moving forward.

Why Ivey?

Howell: I was toiling away finishing my thesis at UBC when I got a call from Jim Rush, an OB professor at Ivey. He took me out for a long lunch, and shortly thereafter I was invited for an interview. My husband Cam graduated from Ivey’s MBA Program so I was familiar with the School. I was attracted to the Case Method, the focus on relevant research and the collegial culture.

Hurst: When I came to Ivey I was sold on two things — Jane, who made me feel so wanted and valued, and case teaching.

Why a career in academia?

Howell: The intellectual stimulation, the freedom to explore intriguing ideas that matter in the real world, and the joy of imparting knowledge and being enriched in the process of learning from my colleagues and students every single day.

Hurst: I’m just not suited for anything else! With academic work I get the level of autonomy and flexibility I need, along with a sense of community.

What do you like best about your job?

Hurst: I really love my research. It’s very frustrating work at times, but I can’t imagine not doing it. I love the friends I’ve made at Ivey — the colleagues, the students, the alumni I’ve met. And it’s really neat seeing students evolve through the program and beyond.

Howell: It’s a joy to work with incredibly talented and motivated students. I’m jazzed by collaborating with colleagues about research ideas and keeping in touch with my students. It’s a privilege to work in an environment where there are opportunities to grow personally and professionally.

What makes you a good teacher?

Howell: I’m passionate about what I teach and how I teach it. For me the classroom is a thrill ride. Great classroom debates crackle and sparkle, engaging and enriching everyone and resulting in deeper learning.

Hurst: I’ve only been doing this for three years so it’s still a work in progress. But I think I’m a good teacher because I care about people, and it shows. Plus, I have a sense of humour. It’s corny and my jokes sometimes don’t go over very well, but my students know it’s okay to laugh and have fun!

What have you learned from one another?

Hurst: I’ve learned from Jane that it’s possible to be successful in this field and have kids, even kids with challenges. Jane has taught me that you can be respected without being one of the most prolific researchers. What matters is that what you do is really good.

Howell: I’ve learned that Charlice’s brain never stops thinking about intriguing research questions. She is a wonderful collaborator and a caring colleague and friend. She has extraordinary demands on her time, and I think she balances her life extremely well.

Photo: Nation Wong
Art Direction: Greg Salmela, Aegis