Personal questions :
1. My greatest passion
This may sound boring, but my favourite thing to do is to read. I read science books, biographies, fly-fishing literature, contemporary fiction, true-crime stories and news websites. I very much like to learn new facts and be exposed to new ideas. I like to be reminded of how many ways there are to be human. Much of my teaching material and many of my research projects are direct results of integrating what I learn from reading.
I went to university because there was a lot of reading involved (or so I was told). I became a university professor because reading is part of the job. For most of my career, I’ve organized academic reading groups. It saddens me when I hear colleagues say they do not have time to read. When I introduce myself to students in class, I tell them about what I am currently reading, and I ask them to do the same. Student do read interesting things, and they have given me many good suggestions over the years (two recent examples: Educated: A Memoir and The Body: A Guide for Occupants).
2. The most important part of my day…
Interacting with students, whether in class or in research meetings. Most of my research and writing is done with them, and they are my junior colleagues. It is very satisfying to see them achieve their academic goals.
I very much am looking forward to this new challenge in my career. I am grateful to Dean Vicky Barham for giving me this opportunity, and to outgoing vice-dean Nathan Young for showing me the ropes.