Next up to face our Q&A is Dr Peter Dawson…
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?
Born and raised in Lancashire, I did my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the rival county of Yorkshire. I was the first member of my family to go to university. I suppose I was lucky in a way because most of my cohort who did A-levels went on to university and I basically joined the bandwagon. Prior to joining UEA I worked at universities in Scotland and the South West of England. This is my 17th year as an academic and I still don’t look a day over thirty (see picture, below).
I would describe myself as an applied microeconomist but I am probably best known for my work in the field of sports economics. I do not claim to have celebrity status but I have presented work to Stephen Fry and Delia Smith and my work has been cited by Professor Stephen Hawking.
What do you think makes studying Economics at UEA special?
The environment. Without a shadow of doubt the amount and time and effort we put into our students is, I believe, unrivalled and no doubt a factor in our (continued) success in league tables such as the National Student Satisfaction (NSS) survey. Our enthusiasm and teaching of the subject is built around applying economics to real-world phenomena.
How do you embrace modern technology in your teaching methods?
My use of technology is fairly modest. I have embraced the use of audience response systems (“clickers”). Some of my modules I teach – statistics and econometrics – involve the use of specialist software which is taught in computer labs. I am also partial to playing music videos at the start of my lectures; my tastes are quite eclectic, ranging from Kenny Rogers to Def Leppard!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to incorporate my research into my teaching. When I was an undergraduate (many years ago!) it was reading an article on the demand for rugby league that demonstrated how I could combine my interest in Economics with my passion for sport. I equally enjoy teaching and research. Admin comes a very distant third.
How do you engage with students both inside and outside of classes?
I am a member of the School football team, this year defending a seven year unbeaten record against undergraduate students. The matches we play against the students are fiercely competitive but enjoyable (because we usually win!). The pub quizzes are good fun too – from what I can remember!? We look forward to the Economics Society coming up with other activities for us “old lecturers” to participate in this year.
What should students expect from their first year?
A completely different environment to what you would have encountered at school / college. A lot more independence. Coming to university is a big transition and something the School of Economics recognises with the amount of support in place. Hopefully you won’t need it, but if you do use it! We are here to help and support you during your studies.
Make the most of the opportunities available, join societies, get involved in debates and make new friends. Your time at university will be over before you know it – unless you decide to become an academic!
What are your interests away from academia?
Outside of work I like to spend time with my wife and two children. I enjoy long walks and cycling, but dislike camping. I am an avid follower of Wigan rugby league and Lancashire county cricket. I will watch virtually any sport on TV, apart from horse racing. I have a fondness for Yorkshire Tea, real ale and vintage port.