Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2008/09/04 Visiting researchers in syntegration at U. Hull

As a visiting fellow to the University of Hull Centre for Systems Studies, I come to the area once or twice each year.  This time, Allenna arrived amongst the confluence of visiting systems scientists, and offered to share the experience with of a mini-syntegration.  The university has had some renovations since the last time I was there, with a new plaza completed just before fall term started.

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Amongst the more traditional brick buildings, I noticed the modernity of the Enterprise Centre.

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I liked the curve in the Wiske building (where humanities classes are taught) on the way to the Hull University Business School.

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Since classes had not yet begun, the undergraduate reception desk in the business school was still closed.

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The business school moved into this new complex of renovated buildings in 2005.  The offices show more of the original features. while the interconnecting hallways between buildings are completely modern.

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Here’s what learning looks like for senior academics.  Based on a triggering question, we jotted ideas down on post-it notes.  Jim, Angela and Allenna were looking at ways of clustering the ideas.

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Todd and Thomas took some clusters of ideas, and fleshed them out more on flip charts.

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A syntegration includes time for discussion and reflection.  Allenna facilitated the conversation, marking up notes as the group converged.

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As a customary way of showing appreciation for hospitality when I travel, I often prepare dinner in the kitchens of my hosts.  Jennifer mentioned that Chong Wah has a wide variety of Chinese ingredients.

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In the entry to the store, Chinese signs are not a surprise.  The large stone ball spinning on a water fountain is a special touch.

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I was happy to find a good selection of Chinese vegetables that would be difficult to find in UK supermarkets oriented towards westerners.

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I was also glad to see familiar brands on sauces and canned goods, that are otherwise heavy to bring in my suitcase.

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I take requests and dietary preferences as a special challenge.  This time, some vegetarian dishes were in order.

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The life of an itinerary scholar combines lifelong learning with social broadening.  I always look forward to share with my friends and colleague in the UK (as well as those from other places in the world who happen to convene in opportune places).

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