Be Informed

Checking in with Mount Royal alumni: David Dozois

 David Dozois

Your name, program & year of graduation at Mount Royal
I attended Mount Royal (then College) for one year (1988-1989) as part of the Bachelor of Arts — University Transfer program. I then enroled at the University of Calgary where I completed a B.A. in Psychology (1992) and my M.Sc. (1995) and PhD. (1999) in Clinical Psychology.

Your career path in 140 character or less...
I am now a full professor of psychology and director of the graduate program in clinical psychology at the University of Western Ontario.

What three words describe your student experience at Mount Royal?
Inspiring, Encouraging, Supportive

What was the most important course you took at Mount Royal & why?
I enjoyed a number of courses at Mount Royal. Three courses stand out in particular: 1. My Introduction to Sociology course was incredible. I had a professor who was so enthusiastic, interesting and encouraging. She also served as such a great role model and helped me to think critically; 2. I took a Philosophy of Ethics course that was fascinating and so well taught; 3. I took an Introduction to Psychology course that inspired me to go on to complete both undergraduate and graduate work in psychology.

How have you invested in your community since graduating from Mount Royal?
I have been very involved in the leadership of psychology in Canada, having served eight years on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Psychological Association (and as its President in 2011-12). I am currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the International Association of Applied Psychology. I also provide regular free community workshops/talks on dealing with depression and anxiety. In addition to my regular faculty position, I also have a private practice (two nights a week) where I treat individuals using cognitive behavioral therapy.

What is the best piece of advice you received at Mount Royal that helped prepare you for
your career?

This isn’t necessarily advice per se, but more a meta-message that I received during my time at Mount Royal which was very influential both in my education and career. It was because of Mount Royal that I initially gained the confidence I needed to pursue my career aspirations. Mount Royal taught me that hard work pays off and that you can excel at something if you find your passion.

What is your claim to fame?
I hope that I have contributed important research on the etiology, treatment and prevention of depression that will make a difference in the lives of individuals who suffer from this disorder, their loved ones and society as a whole. I also hope that I have inspired my students and played some role in their career development. I have published over 146 scientific papers, book chapters and books and presented over 290 research presentations at national and international conferences. One particular honour for me has been to publish some papers and book chapters with Dr. Aaron T. Beck, the developer of cognitive therapy.

What do you miss most about being a student?
Mahatma Gandhi said “Live as though you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” In this sense, I feel like I still am a student because I continue to learn and grow every day. I do, however, miss some aspects of being a student. I really enjoyed studying late at night with colleagues and friends at Mount Royal and then at the University of Calgary. I really appreciated the opportunity to work hard with others and then to laugh, have fun and discuss various life issues during study breaks. I had a great group of “study buddies” who supported me throughout my education.