This year’s PSYC 3403 online addiction class will be the last to be taught by longstanding, time-hallowed psychology professor John Weekes. As an institution within the Psychology Department, Weekes will be missed dearly by his students, colleagues, and the greater Carleton community as he takes his next steps in his career at the Correctional Services of Canada.
About 25 years later, thousands of students and countless online classes, Weekes will be saying a heartfelt goodbye to the school that offered him much more than a day job. “Frankly, I will miss everything about teaching – including my courses that have an online section that is supported by the amazing staff of CUOL,” Weekes said.
Weekes will hold a spot in Carleton’s metaphoric Hall of Fame as a professor who was always driven by his students. “I love the university environment – as a place for ideas, discussion, innovation and critical thinking,” he said, “Students are key to this for me. They bring energy, ideas, passion for learning and enthusiasm and promise for the future.” The students Weekes has taught have made just as much an impact on him as he did on them. Even from his early days teaching as a graduate student at Ohio State, Weekes said he has always needed to know who the students are in his courses. He said “at a minimum I need to know students by name, even the big lecture courses…easier said than done with 175+ students in class!”
The psychology professor’s passion for teaching is evident in his awards received and praise from both faculty members and students. Most recently, he was the 2018 recipient of the Maud Booth Correctional Services Award by the Volunteers of America. Maud Booth and her husband began going into prisons in the U.S. as humanitarians to work directly with prisoners to improve their living conditions and circumstances. Recognized for his career contributions to humanitarian and evidence-based corrections and criminal justice internationally, Weekes said he is humbled by this honour.
The award follows after Weekes started the position of Director, Research and Academics at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, Ontario in May. Working at one of the four major psychiatric hospitals in Ontario, and the only one with a high security forensic unit for individuals who have been deemed by the courts to not be criminally responsible for their actions due to major mental health issues, Weekes’ dedication to his field extends far past Carleton.
In fact, for the past three decades, Weekes has been working at both Carleton as a professor and with the Correctional Service of Canada as a psychologist, researcher, program manager and administrator. Due to the distance from Ottawa, Weekes has decided to put down his red pen and leave his position as a professor for now. Despite his career change, Weekes will not fully be saying goodbye to teaching, however. His academic appointment at Carleton was just renewed for another five years, and he intends to continue supervising his students, as he has for many years now. Recently, Weekes joined the School of Medicine at McMaster University as a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, as per his new position at Waypoint to foster relationships with both students and staff. In addition to that, Weekes plans to develop a similar affiliation with psychiatry and medicine at the University of Toronto in the near future to expand Waypoint’s formal partnership with U of T.
On the eve of his last class at Carleton, Weekes reminisces as both an undergrad and graduate alumnus. “I’ve worked in a variety of professional roles as a psychologist and researcher over the past 30 years and I’ve worked in a variety of senior management roles,” he added. “The training I received at Carleton coupled with further studies and degrees at Ohio University has been vital to the contributions I’ve made to my roles in government, nongovernmental organizations – and now the major psychiatric hospital where I work as part of the leadership team.”