Fond farewell to winsome women

October 27, 2006

Name: Greg Garrard.

Age: 37.

Job: Senior teaching fellow in English at Bath Spa University, with recent responsibility for the Publishing Lab (part of our Artswork Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning).

Background: My first two degrees are from Swansea University and my PhD is from Liverpool University.

Working hours and conditions: When I was at Swansea, and for the first few years at Bath Spa, I worked 70 to 80 hours a week. Eventually that went down to 20 to 30 (not including research time). With my new role, it's up again.

Number of students you teach: About 125 per semester. Biggest challenge this year: Confronting the Cetl emphasis on employability with the traditional values of English such as autonomy, deep literary analysis and appreciation, even anti-commercialism of some sort. I was hostile at first.

How you solved it: Reimagined English so I could do the Cetl job well. It's proving possible to come up with projects that are both very "English" and good for students in their university afterlives.

Worst moment in university life: I had to investigate a foreign student accused of sexual harassment. There was lots of evidence against him - some of which I'd witnessed - and other students were scared of him, so I decided to send him home. Then his mum phoned me. Her responses to my explanation were split between those of a mother and those of a woman. That was awful.

What's your office like? Smallish, shared, generally untidy. I've just moved out of the office I shared with a Gothic person, so no more dying, winsome women plastered everywhere.

Do you socialise with people at the university? Nope. I live on a boat, so I organise big loud river parties for my friends far away from anyone who might not share our music taste.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? An academic is at once a member of a community of equals and an employee of an institution. I'm not always good at the employee bit, and managers are sometimes taken aback at being taken as academic equals. The most important thing I've learnt is not to use e-mail when addressing disputes.

Do you interact with other parts of the university? Artswork is collaborative so I'm finding out a lot about the brilliant things others do in music, textiles, graphic design and dance.

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