Have You Met... Tommy Mayberry?

Meet Tommy, executive director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.


Have you met Tommy Mayberry, executive director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning and childhood horseshoe champ? Spend a few minutes getting to know them a little better.

What is your first U of A memory?

Oh, this one’s easy! In August 2020 I was the keynote speaker for the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s Online Teaching Institute. Not only was it my first formal connection to the U of A, but it was also my first time doing digital drag and drag across time zones!

What is something your coworkers do not know about you?

I’m going to have to retire this one now, but that’s okay! When I was quite young, I was a provincial horseshoe champion in Ontario and I competed nationally, placing third in all of Canada!

What is your favorite distraction?

People always tell you not to read the comments on social media, but I can’t help myself. My favourite distraction is clicking the comments section and losing myself entirely in that alternative universe of I-don’t-even-know-what-this-is-anymore.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

It absolutely would be a BA honours in Native Studies here with our Faculty of Native Studies. I recently completed the Indigenous Canada MOOC and I still have so much left to learn, unlearn and relearn here.

What is a weird pet peeve you have?

That most novelty mugs aren’t designed ambidextrously. Nearly every time I find a really good mug, I am the only one who can enjoy it because, as a lefty, I end up holding it with the good stuff facing me! Especially on Zoom meetings my mugs just look boring to everyone else and like they have no personality.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

Oothoon — a minor character from romantic-period poet and painter William Blake’s mythopoeia. They were one of the first gender transgressive and avant-garde characters I encoutered in art and literature, and I’ve studied them for longer than I’ve been doing drag.

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

Alyssa Edwards’ Alyssa: Memoirs of a Traveling Queen. Her tour isn’t coming north of the border this year, but it has a fabulous tagline: Snatched. Waxed. Double vaxxed. So there is that.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Please be kind to yourself. You just survived high school — and we didn’t know if you would — so take your time in university and be good to yourself because you will thrive in grad school and beyond.

What is one thing you cannot live without?

Sharpie pens. Another lefty-in-a-righty’s-world moment: Sharpie pens are the only ones I have found that don’t bleed through the pages but that also dry quickly enough to not smudge as I drag my left hand across the page while I furiously scribble notes.

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Online, people, laughter.

About Tommy

Tommy Mayberry (he/she/they) is a white, queer- and trans-, settler-scholar and academic drag queen, and they are the executive director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Tommy grew up on the Haldimand Tract in what is now called southwestern Ontario and has a partner who is also named Tommy. Their family is complete with their 16-year-old Pekingese Chihuahua, Sam.