People of Georgian: Professor swaps science career for law and co-authors first textbook
April 16, 2021

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Our Georgian College community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives, and we’re sharing different ones each week.

People of Georgian: Meet Alison Kossowski

When I made the commitment to co-author a textbook, it was a pre-COVID-19 world.

I thought, “Oh, that’s no problem. I’ll be able to balance my teaching and personal responsibilities at home, and I’ll have a day or two during the week that I can just commit to writing the textbook.”

And then basically COVID-19 happened.

A person stands and smiles at the camera while holding a textbook reading "Foundations of Criminal and Civil Law in Canada, Fifth Edition."

I was teaching from home online and juggling other responsibilities.

So basically, this book got written in the wee hours of the morning in between teaching at Georgian and everything else.

But I’m quite pleased with it. At some point COVID-19 will be a distant memory, and I will be able to remember this positive outcome. It’s a positive, tangible thing that came out of what was a challenging time for a lot of people.

It’s nice to have a physical copy of the textbook in my hands as a solid reminder of all that went into it.

The book, Foundations of Criminal and Civil Law in Canada, Fifth Edition, is a new edition of an existing textbook. It’s a general introductory law textbook that’s aimed at students in policing and community services programs.

I’m a dedicated lifetime learner, and I like finding out about new things.

Alison Kossowski

It was a really exciting project to be a part of. It touches on so many different areas of laws – topics everyone should have a little bit of background on because they’re things that really shape your life.

For instance, most people have a cellphone contract or real-estate contract.

We were really able to pull from the news headlines really interesting examples of relevant cases, situations and protests, things that would be interesting to police students. It’s extremely up to date.

Alison started her career as a cancer scientist

I had a whole other career before I became a lawyer.

I’m a scientist by training and have a PhD in molecular genetics. I was a cancer researcher at the University of Toronto.

I’m a dedicated lifetime learner, and I like finding out about new things.

While I really enjoyed my scientific career, I found science was a bit of a lonely career. You’re at the bench working with test tubes and your experiments, and you’re toiling away fairly individually, even if you’re working as part of a research team. I wanted to work more with people.

After law school, I also did my master’s degree in education, so I’m actually a licensed secondary school biology teacher.

Ultimately, my career led me to teaching at Georgian.

You never know where your path is going to go.

Alison Kossowski, lawyer and professor in Georgian’s Business and Management programs. Alison co-authored her first textbook, Foundations of Criminal and Civil Law in Canada, Fifth Edition, which was published in March 2021.

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