Battles with kilts and pastries

October 6, 2006

Name : Alasdair Blair. Age: 35. Job: Professor of international relations, Coventry University, and National Teaching Fellow. I am a fellow of the university's Inquiring Pedagogies Research Network and am involved in a Framework for the Development of Teaching and Learning 5 project with colleagues at Oxford Brookes and Warwick universities.

Salary : More than many of my friends earn, but not so much that I wasn't knocked sideways by the cost of nursery fees.

Background : MA in politics and economic history (Aberdeen University), MA in diplomatic studies (Leicester University), MA in learning and teaching in higher education (Coventry), PhD on Britain and European integration (Leicester). Previously worked at Loughborough, Nottingham Trent and London Metropolitan universities.

Working hours : I try to keep regular hours so as to avoid an early divorce.

How many staff and students do you work with? I contribute to teaching at all levels of our degree programmes. I oversee our MA in diplomacy, law and global change and act as postgraduate tutor for research students in the faculty.

Biggest challenge : Introducing placement opportunities for students and developing degree programmes. Other challenges have included getting into my kilt for the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme awards dinner having last worn it when I was considerably younger and had a great deal more hair.

Worst moment in university life : Despite being an optimistic individual, I am frustrated by the fact that the talent of many students is threatened by having to support themselves.

What is your office like? I'm extremely fortunate to have a nice and sunny office that overlooks the cathedral.

What university facilities do you use? In an effort to get fit, I have a note on my desk to renew my membership of the sports centre (used three times last year) and to buy fewer Danish pastries (two last week).

Do you socialise with people at the university? Although I am blessed to work in a friendly department, the demands of family life keep me away from the pub in the evening.

Do you interact much with other parts of the university? I meet colleagues from many different areas of the university, but I would really like to build a motorbike in the engineering department and spend some time sitting in the Harrier jump-jet that we have on campus.

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