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Virginia Cooke

Virginia Cooke, Professor Emerita

Retired Faculty; Sessional Instructor


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I taught briefly at Queens and at the University of Toronto before moving to (then) Fraser Valley College. In my many years teaching at UFV, I have taught a wide variety of courses: English 105, 120, 130, 150, 230, 231, 338, 361, 368, 371. My favourites are drama and poetry—both forms of literature best heard. The human voice, with its rhythms, emotional nuances and power, brings literature alive for me.

Along with teaching, I have been heavily involved with the life of this institution as it has grown and matured. From 2000 to the end of 2005, I was Dean of Arts and Applied Arts, and as challenging and interesting as administrative work was, I missed being immersed in literature and sharing it with students, so in 2006, I returned to teaching.

Outside working, my two most frequent pastimes are theatre and hiking. In fact, my idea of the perfect day is to come home from a mountain hike, have dinner with close friends or family, and see a splendid production of a play. My favourite playwright is probably the contemporary Irish playwright, Brian Friel, but I’ll settle for Shakespeare, and Canadian Robert Lepage is no slouch, either.


Ph.D. in English, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
M.A. in English, Simon Fraser University
B.A. (Honours) in English, University of Oregon

Teaching Philosophy

My sense of teaching is that we (everyone in a class, including myself) are engaged in a process of discovery. It should be exciting, though as in all voyages of discovery, there are always some slow or just plain difficult times. I have a great deal of respect for students, and I expect them to respect the literature, and to engage fully in it. Ideally, I am not standing in the way of the work we are studying together, but am helping to direct people toward the path of their own discoveries.

Teaching Interests

Canadian theatre; Anglo-Irish literature; introductory and advanced drama; composition

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