Monday, December 11, 2017

Know Your Profs: Camosun geoscience instructor Tark Hamilton loves to explore and research

September 8, 2015 by Greg Pratt, managing editor

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profiles on the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor at Camosun the same 10 questions in an attempt to get to know them a little better.

Do you have an instructor that you want to see interviewed in the paper? Maybe you want to know more about one of your teachers, but you’re too busy, or shy, to ask? Email and we’ll add your instructor to our list of teachers to talk to.

This issue we talked to Camosun geoscience instructor Tark Hamilton about compound fractures, accordions, and being frustrated at online scheduling systems.

1: What do you teach and how long have you been a teacher at Camosun?

I have taught mainly geosciences classes (Geos 100, 110, 240, 250) since 2001, plus some chemistry and environmental technology.

2: What do you personally get out of teaching?

I enjoy sharing my experience and latest research with students who are curious and receptive about earth science. The real payoff for me is to see my students catch fire intellectually and succeed.

Camosun College’s Tark Hamilton: dislikes compound fracture tibias (photo by Camosun College A/V Services).

Camosun College’s Tark Hamilton: dislikes compound fracture tibias (photo by Camosun College A/V Services).

3: What’s one thing you wish your students knew about you?

I am not just a guy who teaches from books but from a whole career’s worth of exploration, research, and publications. I do this and have always done so, not just because they pay me, but because Earth is my toy box and it is always fun to figure out what it is trying to show me. I also spend more time on student papers than they do!

4: What’s one thing you wish they didn’t know about you?

I wish they didn’t know that I can make mistakes like anyone else (except for my choice of Hawaiian shirts).

5: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you as a teacher here?

The best thing is when my students make discoveries on field trips or in the lab and when they succeed in competing for jobs, university placements, or scholarships. It is also pretty neat when they find unusual fossils and pretty mineral specimens when we go on class field trips.

6: What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you as a teacher here?

On a weekend geology field trip, a student was clowning around and showing off trying to rock climb in a waterfall. He fell, getting a compound fracture tibia/fibula, and needed a medevac. This was one lesson I wish we all didn’t need to learn. He did make it back to class after the weekend but finished the term on crutches.

7: What do you see in the future of postsecondary education?

I see students increasingly engaged, not just with the theory and big-picture stuff like climate change, resource limitations, and environmental remediation, but with tailor-made personal projects and practical transferrable skills to deal with these issues in concrete and constructive ways.

8: What do you do to relax on the weekends?

I promote acoustic music (I book and host for Deep Cove Folk Music Society) and try and play enjoyable music on obnoxious instruments like accordions, bagpipes, banjos, concertinas, and guitars. I write songs and sing with the Victoria Nautical Song Circle and the Gaelic Choir. I also do whatever my pal Loki (Welsh terrier) thinks might be fun or will let me get away with!

9: What’s your favourite meal?

My favourite meal would have to be my ever-changing always-gourmet breakfast porridge. My weirdest meal would probably be poached eggs with green taco sauce served over fried leftover haggis.

10: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Limiting my peeves to Camosun, I’d choose either the length of time I spend marking papers, that classes are invariably too short to pass along everything I’d like to, or the insanely inhuman, insensitive scheduling attainable with INFOSILEM.

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