The subject of this week’s “Getting to know ADFI” blog is Adrian Stagg. When I approached Adrian with a request to set aside some time to answer my standard series of interview questions, he cleverly responded that binary answers only (yes or no) would hardly impinge on his workload.
1. What is your background?
Adrian started his career in public libraries. He spent twelve years in the Toowoomba Library and came to USQ on a contract as a Library Officer. He then became a Faculty Librarian for the Business Faculty before moving to the Digital Futures Institute last year.
With a bit of prompting I was able to extract some further details about Adrian’s educational background. “In amongst that”, he says “I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Library Information and Science) and a Master of Applied Science (Library and Information Management) externally through Charles Sturt University.”
Adrian completed his studies whilst working and simultaneously raising a family, which, he says, has enabled him to “empathise with a large portion of the student cohort here at USQ”.
2. What is your role at ADFI?
Adrian is a Learning Technologist at the Digital Futures Institute and he can’t resist, after answering this question, a witty remark about the fact that his answer to this question only required “two words”.
3. What projects are you most excited about?
Adrian is most excited about e-book readers because he is “interested in digital publishing”. He explains that this is an exciting development because it is simultaneously “widening participation in the higher education sector and building digital technology skills with people who would not normally have this opportunity”.
As an aside, Adrian also insists that iTunes U, for want of a better word, is “very cool!”
4. If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
“This is the problem—when one reads comic books, it opens up far too many possibilities”.
I have to warn you that, despite being a self-proclaimed geek who grew up on the likes of Star Wars and Batman, even I had never heard of the comic book heroes that Adrian produced in response to this question.
After negotiating the breadth of scope available for this response (“Do I have to limit myself to one?”), Adrian settles on Cable, the former leader of X-Force. I know what many of you are thinking, and I guarantee that it is the same thing that I am also thinking, but fortunately Adrian does clarify his answer, although I am none the wiser as to whom this Cable actually is.
“Why would I want to be him?” Adrian asks (as if that’s the first question that came to mind). He would like to be Cable because “he’s a time traveller who knows what is going to hypothetically occur, but has to have the strength and intellect not to always intervene. He needs to see the big picture at all times and realises that, sometimes, good things come out of bad experiences. In the most recent issues, he’s also been struggling with being a father for the first time – he knows that he might not be the best person for the job, but does everything with his child in mind. I can relate to, and respect that.”
5. In what ways do you think Universities will be different in ten years’ time?
“The main thing will be how we actually regard knowledge and the impact of research. At the moment we have traditional methods such as electronic publishing, which doesn’t fit with the way information is currently generated.”
I should have known when I asked Adrian this question, as a member of the Digital Futures Institute, that he would have the capacity of foresight that seems to elude me. Perhaps he is more like Cable then he gives himself credit for.
Adrian also says that academic publishing, in particular, needs to take drastic steps to move business models forward and that most of this change “is going to be driven by student demand; and there’s a lesson for the entire higher education sector there, not just publishing.” Finally, Adrian suggests that we will have to do more around building students’ digital information and literacy skills in a society that is suffering from information overload.
Dr Amy Antonio, Research Associate