Starting in January 2016, I will be a Lecturer in International Relations in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading. Marta and I will be moving to the United Kingdom later this year. We have a lot to learn about life in England, and I am still figuring out some aspects of the UK academic system. However, here are a few points about the city, the university, and the position.
- Reading is located just west of London. It is a 25-minute train ride to London’s Paddington Station and also about that far from Heathrow airport via bus or car. In the other direction, it is about 30 minutes via train to Hogwarts, um, I mean, Oxford University.
- Though it also serves as a commuter town for London, Reading is an historic city in its own right. The population today is about 150,000. It is located on the Thames and Kennet Rivers, and has a nice downtown located primarily at the confluence of those rivers. The local team is the Reading Royals.
- The University of Reading was founded in 1892 and granted a royal charter in 1926. It is a public university with significant state funding, though students also pay fees/tuition. It has about 17,000 students, with about 60 percent of those being undergraduates and the rest being M.A. and Ph.D. students. There are a wide range of departments in the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and natural sciences. Think of it like a mid-sized state university.
- The university is situated on a spacious main campus called Whiteknights (below)
- My department includes scholars who range from political theory, British politics, and the European Union to U.S. foreign policy, international political economy, and (now) inter-American relations.
- A “lecturer” in the UK is essentially the equivalent of an assistant professor in the United States. While there is not the same tenure system, that position is a permanent one, following a three-year probationary period, that offers most of the protections of tenure. The responsibilities are the same as for an assistant professor at a research-active U.S. university, and promotions are made based on similar merits.
- My job is split between research, teaching, and service/administration, pretty much in that order as far as expected time commitment. My research agenda will continue to follow the same lines: U.S.-Latin American relations, Latin American foreign policy, small and medium powers, and the effects of asymmetry in International Relations. Basically, I will still be looking to publish the same sorts of projects, though now that I have a long-term institutional home, I will start spending more time seeking grants. I still plan to travel to the region regularly. I will be teaching general courses on International Relations initially, and later I will add courses on U.S./comparative foreign policy and Latin America. I will also start working with graduate students.