Taking the Plunge into Postgraduate Education

Taking the Plunge into Postgraduate Education - Linda Cameron receives her award

Linda Cameron (MSc Information Management, 1998) talks about her decision to go back into education in 1997 for the first time since the 1960s.

"I entered the MSc program in 1997 as a mature student. I was 45 years old. It was the first time in my life since leaving high school in the 1960s that I was able to devote my time to studies without working at a job at the same time. I saved for a long time to be able to have that opportunity and freedom. 

At the time I entered the MSc programme I was completing a five-year contract with the University of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica where I was the founding director of the University of the West Indies Press. My life's path had not been a straight or an easy one; however, I had already achieved some career success to the point where upon learning my plans to attend Lancaster a friend said, 'What the hell are you doing that for at this time of your life?' My answer was simple. I wanted to do it for me. It was not about career aspirations, it was about learning. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Lancaster. I studied alone and in groups. I got to know others in my area of study, many of whom were a lot younger than me and who were there with career goals in mind. I opened my mind to "thinking" as opposed to "doing". It felt great. 

When I returned to the Lancaster campus in late 1998 to take part in the graduation ceremonies and receive my degree I wore the cap and gown for the entire day. I was really proud and happy about what I had accomplished. 

The degree led me to a great position as Manager of Information Services at The Gleaner Company Limited in Kingston, Jamaica, which is the oldest English-language newspaper in the Caribbean. I enjoyed that work until 2001 when I was recruited to the position of Director at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  As I'm originally from Saskatchewan, the province east of Alberta, and lived in Alberta for nearly 20 years before my foray to Jamaica, it was a kind of coming home. (Interesting fact of history: The district of Alberta was created in 1882, and enlarged to become a province of Canada on September 1, 1905. The name was suggested by the Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883, in honour of his wife, H.R.H. Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria.)

Since assuming the role of Director of the University of Alberta Press I have had many highlights including Publisher of the Year (2005 and 2011) and most recently the Association of Canadian Publishers President's Award (2015) where the President commented:  

'Linda is an outstanding advocate for Canadian writers and publishers. 'In addition to running one of Canada’s top publishing programs at the University of Alberta Press, she is one of the industry’s most dedicated volunteers. Her thoughtfulness, business acumen and tireless efforts for Canadian books are an inspiration to many of us in the industry.' 

In September 2014 I was pleased to be able to attend the reunion at Lancaster. I barely recognised the campus as there have been so many physical changes since I attended classes there; however, it felt good to return and walk around the place. Regrettably no one else from my class of 1997/98 was there, but I did enjoy meeting alumni from other years. It was also special to be able to share the place with my partner as he has heard me talk glowingly of my time at Lancaster."