Bowled over by exercise science

June 29, 2007

Name : Tim Barry

Age : 42

Salary : Up to £40,000

Job : Senior lecturer in sport and exercise science, Lancaster campus, the new University of Cumbria.

Experience/ training : First degree in physical education with geography and sports science, Loughborough University, 1984-88. PE teacher in secondary school and sixth-form college, interspersed with playing professional cricket in New Zealand. I'm now captain of Lancaster in the Northern League. I also did an MA at Liverpool John Moores University. I've been at St Martins College (now part of Cumbria) for ten years, moving from training PE teachers to sports and exercise science. My research interests include spinal shrinkage in fast bowlers.

Your department : There are 26 staff over three campuses teaching sport and exercise sciences, sport studies, physical education and coaching-related degrees. We have about 350 students.

Biggest challenge this year : The formation of the new university. We now have the biggest school of outdoor studies in the country. The challenge is to develop a degree portfolio appropriate to the region and to attract students nationally.

Worst moment in university life : Playing cricket for Combined Universities at Lords and the game being rained off - but I did bowl to Mike Gatting.

What is your working environment like? The Lancaster campus is beautiful and overlooks Morecambe Bay. I share an office with Liz Mallabon, a sports psychologist who manages the British Bouldering Team.

Do you socialise with people at work? I chat to a lot of people from other departments in our common room. I may work with the radiography department on my research.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? Professional sports governing bodies. They often question the importance of your work and are wary of sports scientists. The new Newcastle United manager is an exception - one of my ex-pupils was his strength-and-conditioning coach at Bolton.

Best excuses for bad behaviour : I developed the PE teacher glare a long time ago, so I don't get bad behaviour. One female student did write in an exam that aerobic fitness is "based on age, gender and genital endowment", rather than genetic endowment. I framed it and gave it to her when she graduated.

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