October 7, 2020, by Susan Lim
A short interview with Dr Jason Pandya-Wood
We had a brief chat with Dr Jason Pandya-Wood to get to know him better. He is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences which has more than 100 staff. He has been working with the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) since 1st June from the UK and arrived at UNM on 17th August. Prior to that, Dr Pandya-Wood was the Director of External Engagement (2016-2020) and Head of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University (2012-2016). He also spent over a decade at De Montfort University in a variety of academic roles.
Dr Pandya-Wood holds a PhD in Social Policy and has worked extensively on research in applied social science and evaluation projects. His current research is focused on the role of compassion in social policy.
What do you most like about the University of Nottingham Malaysia?
The People. Everyone has been so friendly and supportive, from when I was working in the UK through to helping me settle in when I arrived. It’s great to know that our students will be in an environment with so many wonderful colleagues.
I love talking to people and I have been trying to have conversations with as many people as possible since I arrived … academics who want to do research, support staff for students, the cleaners, security guards and the landscape gardeners – I’ve been made to feel very welcome settling into a new job in a new country.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no such thing, because in a day, there’s plenty of diverse issues to get your teeth into. It’s everything from talking to an academic about their research, helping to prepare for our new academic year and the blended learning approach to teaching, writing up my own research for publication, and giving advice and support to our students. It’s such a privilege to do a job that is so full of different experiences.
Advice that you would like to share with our students?
You get out what you put in – this really is a once in a lifetime experience. Study hard, read often, talk about what you’ve read, talk to everybody and get involved in everything!
Sometimes life is tough and sometimes life throws up challenges, so reach out and talk to us – lecturers that you can relate to, your personal tutors, support staff, or come and see the Dean. We all want students to succeed and we are here to support students while they are with us.
What do you miss most about being a student?
It is the time when I read and wrote the most, and that’s why I miss most about my student days. But I wished that I got more involved in student activities and travelled more.
What was your favourite subject in school?
What is your childhood ambition?
As a child, I probably had one ambition a week, including actor, film director, teacher, a police officer, eventually finding my path when I was in university. It was It was the university lecturers that I met when I was 20 or 21 who inspired me to pursue my passion and excel in it. Then led to my interest in politics and social policy and anti-racism, these things really got me animated and energised.
Name top three things you like about Malaysia?
Roti canai, the weather and the people.
What is your vision at UNM?
I’m immensely proud to be part of this dynamic university and to be leading the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I want to do everything I can to bridge the important work we do here with the world outside, helping our staff, students and partners to contribute to the many communities we are part of. We’re a truly international campus and I can’t wait to do more to enable students and staff from Malaysia, China and the UK to work and study together.
Follow him on Twitter @jjwood01