I am the one in the middle!! Could you guess?
I have not really figured out what to put on this portion of the page -- but a more personal angle might be of interest to some. I am British by birth but with no British heritage!! My parentage is Polish and Irish. I was educated in Britain through my undergraduate degree -- a B.Sc. (Hons) in Building Technology. My pride and joy from this experience was my project on the London Docklands which won one of the University prizes and a national prize from Building magazine.
I came to the United States in 1980 and basically have made it my home since.
At first I worked in the construction industry in Philadelphia. I returned to the site of the project I worked on in the spring of 2004 -- it's all built out. I even rode on a train in a section of the tunnel project I had inspected -- all that concrete and steel and all of those memories.
I studied at the graduate level at the University of Iowa in the 1980s -- initially in urban and regional planning where my interests were primarily in economic and urban development and environmental policy. I transferred into geography and continued with environmental stuff for the most part and used some of the statistical and analytical skills on a couple of interesting faculty research projects. I was even described by one faculty member as a "surrogate computer with a built-in natural intelligence"!!
However my stronger interests in urban and political processes and exposure to the debates in social theory won the day. My dissertation project focused on the Urban Development Action Grant program and its particular role in the evolution of local social relations in Lewiston, Maine in the 1970s. I received some NSF funding to complete this and got into the Nystrom finals at the AAGs (Geographers will know what that all means!). Friends and colleagues from Iowa continue to be in close contact. My three closest grad student colleagues are all Professors of Geography in the United States.
Jobs? Well you really don't want to know ALL of the jobs I have had. In academic terms I TA'd at Iowa and taught one of my own courses, taught at University of Maine (Orono) for a semester, at University of Maine- Farmington for three semesters, and at the University of Toledo for a year. This last place was a nightmare with only a few gems among a lot of coal and bad feeling. It almost caused me to give up on academia altogether. Although it's many years ago, I still wince at some of the behaviors I observed and to which I, and another one- year appointee, were subjected. I doubt I will ever forget. I have no doubt that things have worked out for the best but at the time it was tough to see how they might.
I landed at Saint Michael's College, a liberal arts college in Vermont. Saint Mikes has been a great place to work. I was promoted to Full Professor in the Spring of 2005 after 14 years at the College. The Burlington area is a nice place to live. We are close to Montreal. I continue to hold an adjunct appointment at the University of Vermont.
I continue my links with the University of Vermont with current service on the Executive Board of the Center for Research on Vermont and as a researcher on the team of researchers on the NSF-funded Regional Adaptation to Climate Change project.
I was elected for a 3 year term as the New England Regional Councillor to the governing Council of the Association of American Geographers in 2013. For 2015/2016 I was elected from Council as Coordinator of Regional Councillors.
Issues related to teaching can be explored in other areas of this homepage or on the geography pages.
I have been married for more than a quarter of a century and have two lovely kids -- Ellen and Laura. Ellen graduated with a Masters degree from the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin; Laura graduated with a degree in English in the Spring of 2015... time flies.
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