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Staying Healthy with Assistant Professor Keir Vallance

The College of Law provides support to students to stay healthy through its new series of profiles of faculty members showcasing strategies to achieve balance. Learn how to create and maintain balance from first-hand experiences and insights shared by Assistant Professor Keir Vallance.

With a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan, Assistant Professor Keir Vallance joined the U of S College of Law in 2014 and says the college is an excellent fit with his passion for teaching and writing.

Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Keir spent his formative years in Fernie, British Columbia. He moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1997 to attend law school.

Prior to joining the college of law, Keir worked in private practice for many years, primarily as a litigator in the areas of labour, employment, human rights, and family law. He also worked with Legal Aid and as a union representative.

Having always held a keen interest in labour and employment law, Keir brings a strong grounding to law offerings in both subject areas.

When asked why he made the move from private practice to academia as an assistant professor, Keir quips, “because the dean’s job was (already) taken.”

Keir’s ability to find humour in life’s defining moments has played a significant role in his ability to balance the demands of work and personal life.

Reflecting on other effective strategies used to achieve balance, Keir says “I try to make sure to do something that isn't work- or school-related at least once a week.” He adds, “that could mean having a weekly hockey or basketball game. Or a board games or poker night. Or a book club. Or music lessons. Or playing Dungeons & Dragons. Anything.”

With regards to exercise, Keir notes that “it doesn't have to be anything dramatic.”

“I try to cross-country ski (slowly) in the winter, and jog (even more slowly) in the summer. I let exercise drop by the wayside during my articling year, and that absolutely made a stressful year worse,” he said.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses also helps with juggling work-life balance according to Keir.

“I’m an introvert, so sometimes it's a struggle to socialize. I worry, so it's a struggle not to worry about work and obligations. I'm disorganized, so focusing on one task at a time is difficult.” He points out that simply knowing your own weaknesses “is a strength, in a way.”

Worrying is a trait shared by many. To manage this emotion, he says “either work or don't work, but don't worry about work. If you're worrying about work, either sit down and do the work, or do something else to take your mind off it. But don't putter around your place worrying that you should be working.” Keir speaks from first-hand experience adding that “working on one task at a time, if at all possible” is also helpful.

As for his greatest achievement to date, Keir says “it is getting my fiancée to agree to marry me. Finishing my Master's degree was a pretty cool (but distant) second.”