Written by Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks, incoming Nexus editor: I came to sociology as a mature-age student after several years working in health sciences. In those halcyon days, I was lucky enough after graduation to get a lecturing position and I eventually spent 20 years working in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Wodonga campus of La Trobe University, where I taught a range of subjects including research methods and an introduction to academic writing. My own research was eclectic (or to be less polite, lacked focus). Community studies and women’s volunteer work were my first loves, then I dabbled in environmental matters before a new Head of Department pinned me down and we worked for several years on mental health issues. My preferred methodologies are qualitative but I believe in the importance of also having basic quantitative skills, especially if working in an applied or policy area.
I left the university in 2009 when a major overhaul of its structures and processes radically altered my workload. It was time for my next phase in life and I set up my own micro business working as a proof-reader and editor. I also went back to being a student, doing a course in genealogy entirely online from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. It was a good example of how online teaching should be done: small groups and several tutors.
Studying and working at rural campuses meant I was out of the mainstream of sociological action, so membership of a professional organisation was very important for me. I joined TASA around 1980 when it was still SAANZ, becoming involved in thematic groups and eventually joining the Executive. I became part of the Nexus production team when this was expanded to ease the workload of editors, and I look forward to working with Alexia this year (and Peter Robinson next year) to build on the excellent work of the outgoing editors.