Peter Poeschek started his career at what was then Cariboo College in 1989 as an electrical instructor. He’s been an integral component in the institution’s evolution over the past three decades and is the recipient of the 2018/19 Chair Leadership Award for his 20-year tenure as TRU School of Trades and Technology’s construction trades chairperson.
“It’s an honour to be recognized for the contributions I have made as chair by my colleagues,” said Poeschek. “It’s a challenging position to be in as a faculty member, especially since part of the role requires you to be an administrator.”
His first experience on campus wasn’t as a faculty member, but rather as a student. As an alum of Cariboo College’s Electronics Technician program, he moved on to acquire both a Construction Electrician Red Seal designation as well as a Provincial Instructors Diploma. When he returned to the Kamloops institution to start teaching, he already had eight years of Red Seal experience in his trade to bring to the classroom.
Ten years into his teaching career, Poeschek added to his lecturer responsibilities by taking on the position of chairperson.
“As a chair you are heavily involved with the day-to-day operations of all our trades training, working with the dean and faculty to manage teaching schedules, hiring of faculty and staff, class schedules, budgets, equipment maintenance and purchases, mentoring faculty and dealing with student and faculty issues and concerns,” he explained.
The Chair Leadership Award provides up to $2,000 from the provost’s office for a leadership workshop or conference. Poeschek plans to use the award to participate in a conference specifically for chairs, where he hopes to gain some new ideas and fresh approaches that he can share with his colleagues who are serving, or considering serving, as chairs.
“I have had the opportunity to help the School of Trades and Technology grow, first by expanding the trades training already being offered and then by adding new training programs,” said Poeschek, commenting on his highlights in the position. “I have also been in a position to contribute to electrical training in Canada at both provincial and national levels, which I believe has helped strengthen TRU’s reputation in trades training.”
Asked about his leadership style, Poeschek says that if there’s a task to be completed, he always strives to get it done:
“I have also been a good listener and believe that open communication, transparency, being honest and being straightforward are so important. I like to work collegially and promote a positive environment with the departments.”
He has most enjoyed working with everyone in the School of Trades and Technology as a chair and contributing to the success of all the trades training they provide.
“I have watched Cariboo College grow into a university college and then into Thompson Rivers University. During that time, the overall growth in student numbers at University College of the Cariboo saw the need for expansion, which resulted in trades moving into their own building in May of 1997. We then had the opportunity to offer more trades programs and training, which has just led to a second trades and technology building,” said Poeschek, referring to the recently completed Industrial Training and Technology Centre.
Moving forward, he wants to embrace more initiatives like the university’s new Instrumentation/Engineering Technology diploma program—where trades can be integrated with other traditionally academic programs at TRU—and look for international training opportunities. He hopes to continue working with the Industry Training Authority to improve access to trades and apprenticeships, and ensure TRU’s School of Trades and Technology stays technologically current with its training equipment, which he says is always a challenge.
Previous Chair Leadership Award winners:
- 2017/18 Hasnat Dewan, School of Business and Economics
- 2016/17 Faheem Ahmed, Department of Computing Science
- 2015/16 Krista Lussier, School of Nursing
- 2014/15 Rob Hood, Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism
- 2013/14 Peter Tsigaris, School of Business and Economics and Wendy Kipnis, Faculty of Education and Social Work
- 2012/13 Rob Anderson, School of Business and Economics
- 2011/12 David Sheets, Faculty of Science
- 2010/11 Jeanette Murray, School of Nursing