Dr Tara Hyland Russell

Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell


Phone: (403) 254-3771

Email: Tara.Hyland-Russell@stmu.ca

Office: A410

PhD English, University of Calgary

MA English, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo

BA (Honours) English/Social Developmental Studies, University of Waterloo

Specialization/research interests: life writing, transformative learning, Radical Humanities programs for marginalised learners, Indigenous literature, twentieth and twenty-first century literature, interdisciplinarity, critical pedagogy.

Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell has always been interested in how stories impact people’s lives, both the stories they read and the ones they believe about themselves.

English Professor Blends Literature and Social Justice

(February 3, 2012) — Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell has always been interested in how stories impact people’s lives, both the stories they read and the ones they believe about themselves.

The St. Mary’s University English professor once considered a career in social work, but her love of literature prevailed. She earned a Joint Honour Bachelor of Arts degree in English and interdisciplinary Social Development Studies at the University of Waterloo in 1996.

By the time she was writing her doctoral thesis on life writing and narrative therapy at the University of Calgary—about the same time she accepted a teaching position at St. Mary’s in 1999—she had developed a lifelong interest in applied literature.

“We all have stories that we believe about ourselves, or that others believe about our lives, that affect us in many ways,” Dr. Hyland-Russell said. “I am particularly intrigued by how these stories can affect the way we learn.”

Much of her academic research has focused on the use of literature to spur personal, social or political change. She is a leader in the exploration of how the lives of marginalised non-traditional adult learners can be transformed by studying the humanities at the university level.

St. Mary’s University’s commitment to social justice, and its goal to teach from an interdisciplinary perspective, proved to be a perfect fit for Dr. Hyland-Russell.

Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell is the faculty advisor to the St. Mary’s University Literary Guild, a student club that recently produced the 10th anniversary edition of SightLines, a literary journal featuring the creative writing of students, staff and faculty. She also leads the All Sorts Writers Group, which meets at St. Mary’s on the first Tuesday evening of the month.

She is leading 19 students in a travel study to Rome in May 2012, where she will teach Romantic and Victorian Authors in Rome in conjunction with renowned Art History Professor Dr. David Bershad, who will lead Art and Architecture of Rome. Dr. Bershad will guide students through the streets, churches and buildings of Rome, explaining their symbolic and artistic significance. Dr. Hyland-Russell is focusing on the place Rome and Florence hold as figurative and literal sites of literary development for major Romantic and Victorian authors. She is able to integrate her interest and expertise in fairytales and their authors by including works by Hans Christian Andersen (The Poet’s Bazaar; “The Ugly Duckling”) and Robert Browning (“The Pied Piper of Hamelin”) on the syllabus.

She is also past-president of the Association of Bibliotherapy and Applied Literature (ABAL), and an active member of CALA, the Canadian Applied Literature Association.

“I am a non-linear thinker and an interdisciplinary approach allows me to walk all around a problem,” she said. “Interdisciplinarity brings robustness to intellectual pursuits. And certain issues—especially social problems—cannot be adequately addressed by a single discipline.”

In 2003, Dr. Hyland-Russell helped establish Storefront 101, a program that offered humanities courses to people who would not otherwise be able to attend university.

Based on Earl Shorris’s New York-based Clemente Course in the Humanities, Storefront 101 harnessed the resources of St. Mary’s University, Athabasca University, the University of Calgary, the City of Calgary and other agencies to offer courses to people whose lives were affected by poverty, addiction or violence.

Dr. Hyland-Russell taught a Storefront 101 literature course in 2005, an experience she says changed the way she teaches and the direction of her research.

“These were people whose life experiences were getting in the way of their learning,” she said. “These were students eager to learn and terrified at the same time. They taught me a lot about respecting one another and forming a community in a classroom situation.”

Working with Dr. Janet Groen of the University of Calgary, Dr. Hyland-Russell soon embarked on a federally-funded research project examining the effect of teaching the humanities to people “in the margins.” Many published articles and conference presentations have resulted, including three articles in 2011 and one forthcoming in 2012.

Storefront 101 (now called Humanities 101) was offered on the St. Mary’s University campus in 2009-2010. Dr. Hyland-Russell is working to bring it back to St. Mary’s as a sustainable program in the near future.

“St. Mary’s is the perfect place to offer a program of this nature,” she said. “We are flexible enough to respond to students’ special needs, like making the registration process easier for them, for example. Our class sizes are small and diversity is well accepted here.”

  • “Foreword.” First and Last. Eugene Stickland. St. Mary’s University Press, 2020. Calgary, AB.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Indigenous Novels in Canada.” Eds. Coral Ann Howells, Paul Sharrad, and Gerry Turcotte. Oxford History of the Novel in English, vol. 12: The Novel in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific since 1950. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2017: 360-374.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Syrnyk, Corinne. “Narrative Possibilities of the Radical Humanities: Shaping Participatory and Justice-Oriented Citizens for Democracy.” Eds. Cory Wright-Maley and Trent Davis. Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity. New York: Routledge UP, 2017: 210-226.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Crossing a Cultural Divide: Transgressing the Margins into Public Spaces to Foster Adult Learning.” Eds. Darlene Clover and K. Sanford. Lifelong Learning, the Arts and Creative Cultural Engagement in the Contemporary University. Manchester: Manchester: 2013: 42-53.
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Riches from the poor: teaching humanities in the margins.” Ed. M. Alfred. Learning for Economic Self-Sufficiency: Constructing Pedagogies of Hope among Low-Income, Low Literate Adults. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2010: 29-47.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Swallowed Alive by the Grief Beast: An Autobiographics of Healing.” The Positive Psychology of Meaning & Spirituality. Eds. Paul Wong, Lilian Wong, Marvin McDonald and Derrick Klaassen. Abbotsford: International Network on Personal Meaning, 2007: 301-314

  • Weaving Words of Wisdom: Intergenerational Life Writing. Eds. Tara Hyland-Russell and Jocelyn Williams. Calgary: St. Mary’s University Press, 2019.
  • Re-Rooting: At the Junction of Identity and Form in the Canadian Long Poem. Ed. Tara Hyland-Russell. Foreword Robert Kroetsch. Calgary: St. Mary’s University College Publications, 2005.

  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Syrnyk, Corinne. “Challenging Change: Transformative Education for Economically Disadvantaged Adult Learners.” International Journal of Lifelong Education (2015) DOI:10.1080/02601370.2015.1030349
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara “‘I Will Write to You with my Eyes’: Reflective Text and Image Journals in the Undergraduate Classroom.” Studies in Higher Education 39.6 (July 2014): 1055-1069. DOI:10.1080/03075079.2013.777403
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning: The Impact of Program Origins and Negotiated Community-University Partnerships on Canadian Radical Humanities Programs.” International Journal of Lifelong Education, 31.6 (2012): 779-797.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Marginalized Non-Traditional Adult Learners in Canada: Beyond Economics.” Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 24(1), 2011: 59-77.
  • Fraser, Wilma and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “The Wisdom of Sophia: Adult Educators and Adult Learners as Wisdom Seekers.” Eds. Elizabeth Tisdell and A. Swartz. Wisdom and Adult Education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011: 25-34.
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Humanities Professors on the Margins: Creating the Possibility for Transformative Learning.” Journal of Transformative Education 8(4), 2010: 223-245.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Bookworks and Sculpture by Lise Melhorn-Boe.” Artists’ Book Reviews Autumn 2005, 21: 4-5.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Scriptotherapy.” Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography, Vol. 2. Eds. Victoria Boynton and Jo Malin. Connecticut: Greenwood P, 2005:503-505.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Creative Meaning-Making: Reading the Bookworks of Lise Melhom-Boe.” JAB: Journal of Artists’ Books (Spring 1999): 11-15

  • Broomfield, Catherine; Calihoo; Keith; iHuman Youth Society; Hyland-Russell, Tara; Scott, Michelle; and Twomey, Sarah. “Grief, Loss, and Conciliation: Are we Ready Yet for (Re)Conciliation? Seeking Healing Medicine through the Arts for Traumatised Indigenous Youth and Learners.” Position Paper for SSHRC
  • National Dialogue: Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation, March 2019.
  • Kohlhammer, Jennifer; Lindsay, Alyssa; Mitchell, Lindsay; Scott, Michelle; Shaw, Jacqueline; Showalter, Steven; and Hyland-Russell, Tara. Preparing the Lodge: Decolonizing Academic Assessment and Learning for Indigenous Learners, Final Report. July 2016.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. Humanities 101: An Odyssey. Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, 2010.
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. Radical Humanities: A Pathway Toward Transformational Learning for Marginalized Non-traditional Adult Learners. The Canadian Council on Learning, 2009. http://www.ccl-cca.ca/ccl/Research/FundedResearch/201009GroenHylandRussellRadicalHumanities.html

Hyland-Russell, Tara. Review of Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C. S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin, by Jeffrey Berman. Biography 35.2 (2012): 45-47.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. Review of Leylines of My Flesh, by Vivian Hansen. Canadian Ethnic Studies. April 2003, 35.1: 211-213.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. Review of The Voice of the Mother: Embedded Maternal Narratives in TwentiethCentury Women’s Autobiographies, by Jo Malin. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue Canadienne de Litterature Comparee. Sept 2002, 29.2-3: 256-261.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. Review of The Intimate Empire: Reading Women’s Autobiography, by Gillian Whitlock. Ariel. April 2001, 32.2: 191-194

Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Ripe with Possibility: Re-Imagining the Book Through an Artist’s Eyes.” Jan-April, 2020. The Mauro Gallery, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, AB.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Inspired Illuminations; a showing of selected works by Suzanne Moore from The Saint John’s Bible.” November 2018. The Mauro Gallery, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, AB.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Sometimes You’ve Got to Wake up the Frog: Bookworks by Lise Melhorn-Boe.” June – August 2005, White Water Gallery, North Bay, Ontario.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Phantasmagoric Imaginative: Femme by Vicki Myers.” Sept. 2004. The Woman’s Show at Room 2 Gallery, Calgary, Alberta.

Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Telling Tales? Telling Lives: Quest for Meaning in the Fairy Tales and Family Fables of Lise Melhorn-Boe.” June 2003. Shawnessy Public Library, St. Mary’s College Library, and Special Collections, MacKimmie Library, University of Calgary, Alberta.

  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “‘At Home Where Goodness Resides’: Safe Space, Brave Space, and Transformative Learning.” What We Know and Don’t Know About Transformation: Building a New Community in Research and Praxis. The European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA), Transformative Processes in Learning and Education (TPLE) Network in Collaboration with the Hellenic Adult Education Association. Athens, Greece. June 2020. (Conference cancelled due to COVID pandemic).
  • Scott, Michelle and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Whose Fire is it, Anyway?: Indigenous Led and Settler Supported Community-University Arts-Based Programs.” Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), Regina, Sask, May 2018.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Teaching from the Margins: Democracy Depends on the Humanities.” Rouge Forum. May 2016, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, AB.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Becoming ‘Agents of Curiosity’: Narrative, Transformative Learning, and the Role of the University Teacher.” XI International Transformative Learning Conference Proceedings. Eds. Aliki Nicolaides and Dyan Holt. University of Georgia, Athens. 2014: 757-763.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Extending Hospitality: Transforming the Margins.” Eds. Janet Groen and Colleen Kawalilak. Pathways of Adult Learning: Professional and Education Narratives. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2014: 148.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “‘Reading is Where the Wild Things Are’: Negotiating a Learning Identity.” Researching Learning Lives: On Discipline, Inter-Disciplinarity and Imaginative Imperatives in Auto/biographical and Narrative Research. Annual ESREA Life History and Biography Network Group Conference Proceedings. 2013. http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/education/conferences-events/esrea2013/docs/038.pdf Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Arts-Based Adult Education and Research
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Arts-Based Adult Education and Research for Social Change in the Contemporary University: International Perspectives“. Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), Victoria, BC, June 2013.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “‘A Million Porcupines Screaming in the Dark’: Teaching Traumatic Texts with an ‘Ethics of Care.’” Literature, Trauma, and Healing: Refusing to Silence the Discourse. Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA), Rochester NY, March 15-18, 2012.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “1001 Nights of Snowfall: Worth its Salt?” International Conference on Memory, Mediation, Remediation. Wilfrid Laurier University, ON. May 2011.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Orange Seeds in the Cracks: Storytelling as Bordercrossing and Healing in a Radical Humanities Program.” Association of Bibliotherapy and Applied Literature (ABAL). Congress, Vancouver, B.C. June 2008.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Emotion Scanted: Reason Deprived.” Life History and Biographical Research Network, European Society for Research On the Education of Adults (ESREA). Canterbury Christ Church University, England, 6-9 March, 2008.

  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Disruptions and Opportunities: Leading Through Times of Uncertainty.” Campus Stores Conference, Campus Stores Canada. 1 February 2021. Campus Stakeholder Keynote Address. Online.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. Stakeholder Panel. Campus Stores Conference, Campus Stores Canada. 29 January 2020, Niagara Falls, ON.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “The Transformative Potential of Humanities 101.” Catholic Women’s League, Holy Spirit Church, Calgary, AB. 18 September 2019. Invited lecture.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara; Scott, Michelle; and Steven Showalter. “Resistance & Healing: Contemporary Indigenous Graphic Novels in the High School Classroom.” Treaty 7 Education Conference. November 2016, Calgary, AB.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “History of Graphic Novels.” St. Augustine School, Calgary, AB. Invited presentation.
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Riches from the Poor: Teaching Humanities in the Margins.” NOW Conference, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. October 2009.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Exploring Hope: Transformative Learning from the Outside In.” Celebrating our Research Community, University of Calgary. May 2009.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Riches From the Poor: Teaching Humanities in the Margins.” Central Branch, Calgary Public Library. 4 April, 2009. Invited presentation.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Exploring Hope: Transformative Learning from the Outside In.” St. Mary’s University Speaker’s Series. 19 March, 2009. Invited presentation.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara and Groen, Janet. “Report on Research to date: Providing Access to Transformational Learning for Non-Traditional Adult Learners: A Study of the Clemente Program as a Model for Lifelong Learning.” Working Committee of Discovery University, Ottawa. 1 Nov, 2007.
  • Groen, Janet and Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Report on Research to date: Providing Access to Transformational Learning for Non-Traditional Adult Learners: A Study of the Clemente Program as a Model for Lifelong Learning.” Lakehead University. Nov. 13, 2007. Invited lecture.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Transformational Learning and Storefront 101.” St. Mary’s University. January 2007. Invited presentation.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Journalling a Woman’s Life.” Invited feature speaker for Woman to Woman, an ecumenical series. Midlands United Church, Calgary, Alberta, 11 October, 2005.
  • Rickey, Russ; Davis, Roger and Tara Hyland-Russell. “The Online Project as a Pedagogical Tool.” Learning Commons, University of Calgary, November 1999.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “The Lyric as Transformative Site: Adrienne Rich’s “Sources” Poems.” A panel presentation on the Poetics of the Lyric Subject, University of Calgary, April 1997.
  • Hyland-Russell, Tara. “Storied Systems in Social Work.” Renison College, University of Waterloo, 1997.

First and Last Segment during Eugene-At-Thon, hosted by Wordfest, 18 June 2020. https://wordfest.com/2020/eugene-a-thon/

Graduation Greetings. June 2020. https://stmu.ca/vice-president-dr-tara-hyland-russell-stmu-graduation-2020-celebration/

Catherine Carlyle. “Biblio Blog: Rare Books Reimagined.” Blog on “Ripe with Possibility” exhibition. https://library.stmu.ca/?p=8306

“Deep thinking, Social justice” The Globe and Mail. 22 Nov. 2019.

Laura Kolbe. “Imprisoning Mental Health: Facing our Failures and Searching for Solutions.” Panel Discussion Event for STMU. Kolbe Times: Faith, Arts & Justice. 6 June 2018. https://www.kolbetimes.com/imprisoning-mental-health/

Hyland-Russell, Tara. Seeking Truth and Wisdom Beyond One Classroom.” Carillon, March 2008.

“Are we in Kansas Toto” Books2Eat with CBC TV news. March 29, 2008

Interview with Terry Campbell on Daybreak, CBC Radio with Books2Eat Festival. March 30, 2009.

Interview on Books2Eat Festival, Shaw TV. March 31, 2008.

X-Weighting. With Angela Joyce. (documentary on women’s body image and weight loss). Filmed Nov. 2005. Aired April 2006.

“Tara Hyland-Russell is ‘Telling Tales’ as an Assistant Professor at St. Mary’s in Alberta.” Renison Report, Spring 2004: 8.

“Good Future Lies in Learning.” The Calgary Herald. Dec. 23, 2004.

“Free Classes Boost Esteem.” Graeme Morton. The Calgary Herald. Dec. 26, 2004.

Interested in one of our programs?
Click here to chat with us!