Meeting the Minds—Interviews with AU’s Educators

James Greenwood-Lee is an Assistant Professor in Applied Math with the Faculty of Science and Technology at Athabasca University.  Some of his scientific contributions include work on complex intervention modelling capturing the dynamics of adaptation.  It was research on health looking at complex systems, health interventions, and the ways in which intelligent agents change behaviour in proportion to their own objectives and perspectives.  Interesting stuff.  Here we get to know a bit about him.

How did you hear about AU and why us?

I began at AU as a mathematics tutor and found that AU’s educational model was a nice fit, something I really enjoyed.

What have been your areas of research focus?

My research focuses on two seemingly unrelated topics: evolutionary biology, and health services research.  The link that they share lies in the common mathematical approaches that are used to model change over time.

What responsibilities come with your job position?

The two primary tasks are to provide educational content and then to subsequently provide support to students as they work through said content.  The latter is quite enjoyable, to help students navigate the bumps they encounter on their journey.  Of course, there is research as well.

What would you say if some students are unsure whether they should pursue for AU to take their Math degree?

Contact us! We are here to give advice, get the word out, reach and push the community up.  We care!

What are the most difficult parts that students experience with math?

Understanding what type of learner you are and which learning strategies work for you can have a tremendous impact on how you approach mathematics.  My colleague, Julie Peschke, provides some useful tools on the AU math site.  Check it out:

What are the research opportunities available?

Yes.  Research opportunities are available.  For starters Math 495/496 are our project courses which provide an opportunity for independent research.  As well, as Faculty we have opportunities to hire RAs to work on our research projects.

Is there a mathematician whether it’s alive or dead, that you admire?

Admire is a strong word.  I’d really have to know someone, to say that I admire them.  Lots of cool work has been done for sure, but I’m of the mind that we’re all just a cog in the machine…that is, if Einstein got distracted and didn’t publish his ideas on relativity, someone else would have discovered these eventually.

How will you grow in the next five years looking over the university and everything that comes with it?

The math program (BSc in Applied Mathematics) is relatively new.  As time passes, we will reflect with the goal of providing our students with great opportunities and experiences.

Anything to add at the end?

Enjoy life at its finest.  There is more in life than academia, so make sure you enjoy it.