Australia Tour 2011 – Tuesday Feb. 15
It was a short day today owing to the travel in the afternoon to Canberra, where I am now sitting in the University House residence at the Australian National University. This is my 2nd trip to Canberra, but first to ANU. More on the visit here in the next day or so.
Still in Melbourne this morning, we went a slight distance out of town to the Clayton campus of Monash University. Monash is Australia’s largest university, and has multiple campuses both in Australia and abroad. It was an early pioneer of the international campus idea and has campuses in Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg and elsewhere. We spent some time with the Vice-Chancellor, neuroscientist Ed Byrne, who gave us a great deal of information about the pros and cons of Monash’s offshore experiments. Apart from being an accomplished scientist and administrator, Prof Byrne is a published poet who kindly presented us with a copy of his verse.
Two of the other meetings were with old friends. One, Ian Copland, is a historian of colonial India with whom I have had some collaboration in the past and occasional contact over the years, though this is the first time we have met in person. He has a Queen’s connection insofar as his partner, a law professor, has spent a a couple of months in our Law School on a visiting lectureship.
The second of these, at lunch, was with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Adam Shoemaker. Roughly the equivalent of our provost, Adam is a very old acquaintance. We recalled that we first met in September 1976 when he was 2nd year student and I was a frosh newly elected as treasurer of the Arts ’80 year society; it was he who gave the new executive a sense of what it was we were supposed to do. Adam went off to Australia on exchange in 3rd year, returned to Queen’s and graduated with a medial degree in History and English. Australia obviously suited him, because after some time in Ottawa he returned there for a PhD and, while he has been elsewhere during the intervening time, has spent much of his career here, having become DVC at Monash 3 years ago. It was great to catch up on the various people we knew in common.
Among other things, Adam told us about the Monash Passport, a co-curricular initiative which he has steadfastly promoted here and which I think may well be worth looking into at Queen’s.
After that, it was off to the airport, and Canberra, but more on that in the next day or so.
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