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INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Act I Scene I

Student Voices- Dirk Rodricks

My name is Dirk Rodricks. I’m a first-year doctoral student in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning here at OISE. What drew me to OISE specifically was this amazing convergence of social justice, pedagogy and drama. A convergence that I never thought was possible in a single department and in a single discipline. So the trans-disciplinary work here is something that drew me here and keeps me here. And it keeps me here in the presence and productivity of Dr. Kathleen Gallagher. What amazes me about Kathleen is her process. I think for me it is really fascinating to watch someone approach research without any preconceived idea of how she may want it to turn out. Now don’t get me wrong, I think she has a sense of it. But she approaches it with this delicious ambiguity and it is that sense of ambiguity that is contagious, not only as she kind of lives it and performs it but it is contagious as a member of her team and I haven’t been here long so watching her and watching her work and create and develop and produce knowledge is as amazing an experience as the research itself. For me, a lot of my experiences have come from post-secondary education. 

I have worked in higher education in the United States for the past ten years. And before that I was in India. So I approach higher education and post-secondary education as very much of a meaning-making experience. I am a brown, queer, third-culture kid. I was born in Mumbai, India and came to the United States when I was 20 and I have thrived in the environment to understand difference better. My experiences in India and in the United States are markedly different from who I was and how I identified as a person, and just kind of my awareness about difference. The program here allows me to explore difference in others, but also allows me to explore my own difference and how I make meaning of my identities and how I make meaning of myself as an aspiring scholar and a doctoral student. I love the fact that I can bring my international experiences to my work here at OISE. I don’t have to explain critical theory. I don’t have to explain what queer theory means. I can- it is systemic here. It is systemic in the classes that I take. It is systemic in the curriculum, in the instruction and in the research. That is a very, very good place to be, to be able to make meaning.

In Kathleen and as part of Kathleen’s team, there is so much that I can relate to and there is so much that is new to me, that I LOVE and that I want to learn a lot more about. So, I am excited to be here at OISE and excited to be here as part of Kathleen’s team doing the kind of work that I believe is going to be really, really impactful. I think understanding the relations of schooling, understanding students and student experiences as they make meaning of K-12 experiences is something I believe is instrumental in creating agency and access. And my focus on historically marginalized populations is something that gets encouraged here every day. I am excited to be here. I am excited to be here as a meaning maker and I look forward to that process.


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