Wolf woman caged in prison chic

March 3, 2006

Name : Karen Jones

Age : 33

Job : Lecturer in American history, aka the "wolf woman" (see below).

Background : I gained a BA in history at Warwick University and a masters in contemporary history at Bristol University. Bristol also served as the venue for my doctoral studies on the history and representation of wolves in North American national parks. After working for three years as a teaching fellow at Essex University, I joined the School of History at Kent University in September 2004.

What are your working hours? Probably longer than they should be!

Who are your students? Mostly 18 to 21-year-olds (largely from the South-East) but also local folks on our part-time programme and some international students.

Biggest challenge this year? Taking the role of admissions officer for history, preparing to launch a degree in visual history, as well as the usual bugbears of finding time for research while balancing teaching and administration duties and trying to win the local pub quiz.

Which university facilities do you use? I used to work out at the gym, but ended up seeing too many of my students there; Rutherford College Senior Common Room for free drinks, newspapers and lively banter; Gulbenkian cafe is a good haunt for snacks and coffee; the greenery of the Kent campus - great in summer for biking or running through or just sitting out on the grass.

What is your office like? Think 1960s prison chic. Some of the offices in the college sport views of Canterbury Cathedral - mine has a rather pleasant tree outside and a murder of crows. I spent time in the Christmas vacation tidying up and accessorising the space with plants, posters and, of course, wolf-related paraphernalia.

Worst moment in university life? Discounting misdemeanours as a student, I don't really have a "worst moment" (yet), more a range of categories. These tend to fall into technological failure - lights, computers and so on, or personal ineptitude - not showing up at my own lecture on the first day of term or fiddling with a "broken" data projector for several minutes only to realise that the lens cover was on.

Who are your most difficult customers? I'm not sure I should answer that question.

Best excuses for bad behaviour? Do you mean from staff or from students?

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