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Profile: Dr Gail Wilson

This issue of Gatherings profiles Standing Committee on Awards and Prizes (SCAP) Chair Dr Gail Wilson.

When and why did you join IPEd?
I joined IPEd in 2019 as an Associate Member when I started my studies in editing and electronic publishing at Macquarie University. It seemed appropriate that I join IPEd and learn more about the editing profession.

What is your current and past involvement with IPEd?
I initially did some work for IPEd as a volunteer award-panel member, and that led to me responding midway through 2020 to an expression of interest for volunteers. I was asked to take on the SCAP Chair role, which I attribute largely to my experience in chairing committees and working with national and university-based teaching awards in higher education. I am learning a lot about IPEd and how it operates by doing this.

What does IPEd mean to you?
For me, IPEd presents as a professional association supporting editors in their work and it is actively expanding its reach to editors across Australia and New Zealand. IPEd branch activities are Zoom-based and available to all members, and that has proved very attractive to me in terms of learning more about particular aspects of editing. Being involved with IPEd has given me a better appreciation of the wide variety of editing roles that exist within the editing profession.

What is your current job?
Since my retirement from full-time work in late 2018, I work part-time as a higher education consultant and am a registered Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency expert. I work with universities and independent providers of higher education in the broad areas of course and unit design, assessment design, review of new courses for accreditation purposes and professional development of academic staff. I also do both substantive and copy editing for national teaching awards applications.

Some background on your career path — what led you to editing?
I have always edited documents and resources as part of my job roles over the years and like the attention to detail that editing requires. As a volunteer journal editor for a UK-based research journal, I get plenty of practice in receiving and scrutinising manuscripts and looking at an article from the perspective of how much editing the article requires to get it to the publication stage. I would like to do cookbook editing but have heard that this is a difficult area to move into.

What do you do in your spare time?
COVID-19 brought my international travel plans for 2020 and even 2021 to a halt, like everyone else’s. I want to travel to northern Europe and the Gaspé area of Canada as soon as international travel is open again. I am very involved on the body corporate committee of my new complex where I live on the Gold Coast. I have been a quilter since 1994, so my sewing room is a place I go to frequently. I usually have four to five quilts on the go at any one time as I get bored with working on one for too long.

Do you have any pets?
I have a rescue cat named Lilly who came to live with me in September 2020. She is a five-year-old Abyssinian/domestic shorthair cross with very large green eyes. We get along well and she is good company for me. She has her own quilt to lie on in my sewing room and that keeps her from sitting on my current quilting project.

Who do you admire most and why?
I have moved away from admiration of people as role models to admiration of general qualities in people like strength, self-efficacy, commitment, and honesty. This is something that helped me in my early work career when I was fortunate to have mentors. I am drawn now to read more about historical figures whose backgrounds I didn’t take time to explore when younger.

What would you never give up?
My built-in coffee machine and the fact I can have beautiful espresso coffees every day. I am learning to appreciate the differences between coffee-growing regions and the coffee they produce.

What are your favourite books/movies?
My reading varies according to the mood I am in or what has triggered an interest for me. I distinguish between the huge amount of reading I have had to do in my professional career and doctoral studies and reading for pleasure. I was trained as a historian in my undergraduate studies and love reading about historical figures. But I am equally interested in fiction writing and, in particular, the work of Margaret Atwood, Lionel Shriver and Alice Munro. I try to ensure I have read the book first before I see the movie about the book. But that doesn’t stop me from watching Netflix and Apple TV and reading the book afterwards that the story was based on!

What’s something very few people know about you?
I have lived in Australia since 1975 but my Canadian accent is still fairly strong and many are quite shocked that I have been here that long and haven’t lost the accent.

Dr Gail Wilson

Dr Gail Wilson