Meet KPU: Bev Wake

Wake is a KPU journalism instructor who has worked extensively in sports media

Bev Wake is a journalism instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (Submitted)

Bev Wake is a journalism instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has worked as an editor, reporter, photographer, and radio personality with several publications including the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun

She has attended eight Olympic Games, including the most recent 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. In 2017, her leadership in sports media was recognized by the Paul Carson Broadcast and Media Awards. Her areas of interest include sports journalism, gender and diversity, social media, citizen journalism, visual journalism, and the future of journalism.


When did you join the KPU community and why?

I started teaching at KPU in 2019. I knew Chad Skelton and Tracy Sherlock, who worked in the department. I knew they were enjoying their jobs at KPU and we talked about teaching. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, even way back when I was doing my undergrad degree. I knew one day I wanted to teach. So the opportunity just worked out really well for me, I wasn’t working in journalism anymore and there was a contract position open at KPU. I applied and got the job. It started as one class in the summer, but I really enjoyed it and it evolved from there.


What is your favourite story of your time at KPU?

There’s nothing better than when you see students struggling to understand something and you can see that moment when they finally get it, particularly in journalism, because it’s such a tangible product that people end up producing.

Outside of the classroom, my favourite KPU moment happened when I first started. I volunteered for convocation as an usher and I’d been out of school for so long. I think that was a really cool moment for me, just being there with all these students that I had never met or talked to before who were graduating. 

This was 2019, so before COVID, all their family members were there. I got to revisit that sense of excitement and pride and accomplishment that comes with graduating. To see it not only from the perspective of students, which I remember vaguely from my time but also from the parent’s perspective. It was just a really cool moment for me, particularly with the student body like it is at KPU with students from all over the world. To see how far some family members travelled to see students graduate, it was a pretty awesome early introduction to KPU for me.


What is something you’d like to say to people new to the community?

Take advantage of every opportunity you get at KPU. I think, particularly given that so much learning has been online in the last while, it’s easy to stay to yourself and focus on your own individual work. But the best part of getting an education is getting to know all the people that you’re at school with, including your instructors, and everything else on campus.

I think it’s so important, not just for students but instructors as well, to take advantage of that opportunity to be a part of human life and campus life, and the many opportunities that are presented at work to get involved. 

As students, I can’t tell you how often over the years since I’ve graduated that I ran into the many people I went to school with, or instructors that I had. It’s great to have connections when you get out in the real world, you never know who may have a job available at some point, who you are able to lean on for advice, or people who have gone through similar experiences. I think it’s important as things open up again that everybody takes advantage of that opportunity.


What are you working on right now?

This is my off-semester but it hasn’t really felt like an off-semester. I was in China for six-and-a-half weeks, and I was working as an editor for the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. That was really awesome. They were my eighth Olympics, so I’ve been there before. But it was a really interesting experience now with the last two, having done them under COVID protocols and being in a very tight bubble in Beijing. It opened my world up to an entirely new experience in terms of covering big events.

I’m also the incoming Executive Director of the National Newspaper awards. So we’ve been busy with that the last couple of months as well. The 2021 award winners are going to be announced at an online banquet in May, so I’ve been busy with that as well. And then putting a new course together for journalism, the News Reporting class which is being offered for the first time this summer. 


What is something you would like people to know about you?

I think with most instructors, sometimes students look at you in front of the class and think, “Okay, you’re an expert,” but we’re real people too. I would like to think that the students I work with in my classes take the opportunity to get to know me a little bit and talk to me about their hopes for the future. I’m really happy to talk about anything. If they’re thinking about what to do next and what steps to take in a career, I’m really happy to talk about that, act as a mentor maybe, or just to offer advice or be a sounding board. I hope that when I’m teaching my classes and talking to students that we can develop relationships on that level. 

And I travel a lot. A lot of times the last few years and other parts of the world from India, Nepal, Libya, through Europe, and Asia. I love to hike, I did Everest base camp and it’s fun to connect with students and share stories on that level. I think as journalists, it’s all about collecting and telling stories. So I hope students take advantage of that opportunity to kind of get to know us as real people.