A Personal Introduction

I'm a New Zealander by birth (Invercargill, 1968) but was dragged up in Western Australia under rather interesting conditions. I've moved to Melbourne in the early 1990s where I have lived since, except for a brief period in Sydney and a much longer period in Dili, Timor-Leste (2002-2003), where I worked as a policy and technical advisor to the newly re-estabalished East Timorese government. Based on several annual trips (which I hope to undertake again) I could almost say I've lived "somewhere in Europe".

With the exception of a rather disappointing period from my mid-twenties to mid-thirties (when I went all auto-didactic), I have been an enrolled student of _something_. My first degree was a Bachelor's in Politics, Philosophy, and Sociology which led to my first career as an educational advocate, policy researcher, and then as a field officer for the Parliamentary Labor Party and policy co-convenor for the Labor Left-Pledge Unions faction (yes, I do wear my politics on my sleeve a bit). Computing, however, was a long-standing hobby and has become my second career in information technology and in particular supercomputing at the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing and now at the University of Melbourne.

Clearly unable to shake off my policy and people orientations however I have also picked up several more degrees; a Graduate Certificate in Project Management, a Master's of Business Administration (Technology Management), a Graduate Certificate in Adult and Higher Education, a Master's in Information Systems, and I've just finished a Master's in Higher Education at the University of Otago. I also have half-finished a Graduate Diploma in Economics at the LSE, but to be honest that place is downright horrid.

Psychology to me is the study of the human mind and behaviour and has some interesting points of connection with neuroscience, sociology and, as always, philosophy ("everything leads to philosophy"). With prior interests I've had a long-standing interest in social and developmental psychology, and especially moral reasoning and situational ethics. Another side of me is very much influenced by the Frankfurt School and critical theory and from that, I have an interest in psychoanalytic interpretation with emancipatory intent, and from that an interest in humanistic psychology. All this said, my only formal exposure in this discipline has been an introductory MOOC course delivered by the University of Toronto, which I found absolutely fascinating, learned a great deal, and was at times downright horrified by many psychology experiments and how humans and animals have been tortured. The nightmare of the past weighs hard on the living.

I am mainly interested in learning content that is relevant to my work, especially motivational, organisational, and educational psychology. I must also admit that I've developed a close friendship with a person who a personality disorder, which is utterly heartbreaking for me to watch when it unfolds, and any understanding I can gain from this course will be incredibly welcome. In addition to this course, I've enrolled in a Mental Health first aid course, which I hope will be useful in emergency situations. In the interests of openness, I also suspect there's a bit of driven dysthymia in me; the more depressed I feel, the greater my productivity.