What is your role at Tyndale? How long have you been at Tyndale?
I serve as Chair and Professor of English. I was recruited to Tyndale in a hybrid role as an Associate Academic Dean and Associate Professor in 2014. Then in 2018, I transitioned by choice into a full-time faculty position. I keenly missed being in the classroom with the students!
What lead you to Tyndale?
Dr. Rich Davis (Chair of Philosophy) sent me an email message in the Fall of 2013 asking if I would consider coming to Tyndale to serve in a leadership position. I was in the U.K. on a research fellowship at the time. The opportunity intrigued me. I prayed about it and sensed a strong call to move (back) to Toronto.
What is your favourite thing about working here?
Honestly, I love being plugged into the energy of Toronto. Tyndale faculty have many connections to the University of Toronto and to arts and cultural organizations such as Imago and Roy Thompson Hall, as well as to the diverse ecclesial communities in the city. It's great how Tyndale is located on the edge of the GTA; so we have students who commute in on the subway, as well as students from more rural areas in the nation who appreciate our over 50 acres of green space.
What sets Tyndale students apart?
Diversity in Unity. In a Tyndale classroom you will find students from Romanian, Nigerian, German, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Indian, and Korean families sitting side-by-side. There is also huge theological diversity within our student body, reflecting not only the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist founders of the institution now known as Tyndale, but also Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Mennonite, and Methodist communities around the world. I love the fact our incoming student council president for the University College is an Egyptian-American woman who is a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
What do you hope your students will do with their degree?
Spread truth, beauty, and goodness. I hope our students will be like a breath of fresh air wherever they serve, nurturing openness to new possibilities with their creativity and ability to think outside the box. Wherever they serve, they can model disagreeing with civility and working collaboratively across differences due to Tyndale's nature as a liberal arts community of diversity in the unity of Christ.
Why is Christian higher education important?
The Christian perspective still allows space for wonder, imagination, and active love, which draw us outside of ourselves to contemplate constructive solutions to problems in the world today. Admittedly, things look bleak; there is a lot of fear due to realities such as accelerating environmental degradation and, in places such as Toronto, the skyrocketing cost of living. Our faith in the triune God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- helps us not retreat from these problems but instead face them realistically with courage and creativity.
What does 125 years of Tyndale history mean to you?
The sustained existence of Tyndale is truly a miracle enabled ultimately by the continuing grace of God. My response at this point is deep gratitude to Christ, who is at the center of all we do, and to the people over the last 125 years who have contributed to this wild and audacious experiment that is Tyndale. I am especially grateful for those who have taken bold risks and leaps of faith, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, from the beginnings of the institution right up to the present day.
About Dr. Natasha Duquette
My name is Dr. Natasha Duquette, and I serve as Chair and Professor of English at Tyndale. The courses I have taught at Tyndale include Foundations in Writing, Aesthetics, Romantic Poetry, and Indigenous Literature. I live walking distance from Tyndale with my husband Fred and our two sweet dogs: Esmée the pug and Zamor the papillon. I enjoy writing and editing and am about to submit the manuscript for my new book project titled A 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (forthcoming with Fortress Press in 2019).