University of Calgary

Education graduate no stranger to new beginnings

UToday HomeJune 11, 2013

By Clayton MacGillivray

Allan Broughton is this year’s recipient of the Clarence Sansom Gold Medal in Education.Allan Broughton is this year’s recipient of the Clarence Sansom Gold Medal in Education. Before coming to the Faculty of Education, Broughton served with the Canadian Forces for 11 years.Rudyard Kipling once wrote that a man is measured by his ability to lose and then start again at his beginnings. This is a notion that gave Allan Broughton some solace when he failed his final flight test of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s pilot training program.

“Basically, I could not learn to fly a plane as fast as the air force needs one to learn for their extremely demanding positions,” says Broughton, who is this year’s recipient of the Clarence Sansom Gold Medal in Education.

Though he could not make this childhood dream come true, Broughton did start again with an assignment as a communications and electronics engineer during the early days of the Internet.

“As it turns out, failing pilot training was the best thing that could have happened to me. I entered a field which was growing exponentially and in which my methodical problem solving skills were an asset.”

Broughton remained with the Canadian Forces for 11 years, during which time he travelled to every province and territory in Canada. He says this time of his life was exceptional both personally and professionally.

“Great challenges and hard work were balanced with great friends. The leadership and management skills I gained were valuable assets I took with me to other professional pursuits.”

After his service hitch was over, Broughton worked for a supplier of military communication systems and eventually came to what he says was a disturbing realization.

“The human species expends an extraordinary amount of time and resources fighting or preparing to fight against each other. I developed a personal belief that we would all be better off if we spent more time co-operating and learning from each other.”

Time to start again.

Broughton looked for a position that would allow him to work with people on a more personal level and decided on the Faculty of Education.

“Education is a field which thrives on co-operation and mutual respect and where I feel I can apply my knowledge and experience to the benefit of others.”

“I hope to become part of a collaborative team of teachers who are focused on the success of every student.” 

Broughton understands that there will always be challenges but wants to work with other teachers and students to turn these challenges into opportunities.

“By experiencing both triumph and disaster you become a better role model.”

And, Kipling would say, a better man.


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