My Story

I despise the self-serving, self-aggrandizing, humblebragging autobiographical sketches that have infested the internet like a nest of mice in an old stove. So I offer instead this heartwarming tale:

I grew up on the hardscrabble earth of the Canadian prairie. My parents raised me and my four elder siblings to be God-fearin', family-lovin' folk, and we wandered about the prairies as travelling threshers, stacking hay, feeding horses, and hauling water from nearby creeks for our monthly baths. After learning my three Rs by scouring abandoned seed catalogues, I was able to enter university when a foppish city youth was foolish enough to bet his admission papers in a game of dice at a rural speakeasy. At university I surprised myself with my interest in languages, and went on to learn 14 of them. Graduate school seemed like a pleasant route to go, and that took me to the U. S. of A. where I earned an undistinguished but beautifully framed doctorate at a distinguished university.

The return to my home and native land saw me teaching at universities in the eastern and central provinces. I now spend evenings on the front porch wondering if I will ever again hear the song of the Western Meadowlark and or see the shimmer of the northern lights.

My video

Universities nowadays do all sorts of things to attract students. This includes making promotional videos like the one on this page, though you could argue that this one defeats the purpose.

My Reality

I'm Associate Professor of German Studies at the University of Waterloo and Director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies.  I teach courses in cultural, literary, and film studies, and I have a special interest in online learning and open education. My research focuses on the representation of German political history and thought in the narrative arts. I have received diplomas and/or degrees from Albert School Kindergarten, Bishop Murray Elementary School, Holy Cross High School, the University of Saskatchewan, and Princeton University. I am co-director of the university's United Way workplace campaign and a University Senator. I have also served as a Teaching Fellow at the university, and am currently an Open Educational Resources Fellow with eCampusOntario.

Feel free to download a copy of my cv if you can find nothing better to read (telephone books are hard to come by nowadays). Or contact me if you would like to get in touch.

The only remarkable thing about my personal life is that I live in a house called Villa Herbert.