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Ian Roddie
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February 9th 2014


A New Page: The Writings of Ian Roddie

As of today I have added a new page to the website on which I will be publishing some of the articles written by my father-in-law, Professor Ian Campbell Roddie. Its button takes the place of the Publicity button but the publicity page is still available; just click on the Cycle Ride button above.

Ian Roddie died in May 2011and there has already been much written about him on this website as he was a much loved father (see A Special Birthday), grandfather (see May 2011 Blog and May 2012 Blog) and father-in-law. He was the Dunville Professor of Physiology at Queen's University, Belfast between 1964 and 1982 and his Obituary, which was published in the British Medical Journal in October 2011, can be read on the QUB website. In addition to his recognised academic excellence he was a great lover of history and, in particular, that relating to Ireland, and used his knowledge of this to great effect in many of his lectures. He recognised the importance of maintaining detailed records of his lectures and publications, which he did meticulously, and in his later years put all these together with personal recollections from his diaries into several bound volumes and it is from these that I will be taking some examples of his thoughts, lectures and articles for the new page.

I have started with a couple of pieces that he wrote about medical education, a subject very close to his heart and about which he wrote and lectured extensively. Having read through them again I see where his eldest daughter Mary (my wife) obtained her own love for, and excellence in, teaching.

Some of you may not feel that you have the time to read these articles in full, so I am going to include a short selection here from both to encourage you to do so. The final paragraph in the 'Pre-emptive Cringe' shows how Ian was not afraid to speak his mind:

When a person has to divide his mind with one compartment for truth and the other for lies and half-truths, he ceases to be an effective academic. The main objective of the university is to educate and train the minds of the intelligent young so that they can carry forward and extend the rich heritage of knowledge and innovation bequeathed to us by our predecessors. This heritage was not won easily. It required individuals to speak out for truth and common sense when the fashionable consensus was to speak out for lies and nonsense. Certainly it was not won by the pre-emptive cringers, and those academic leaders who do so should be ashamed of themselves.

The short passage that I have chosen from the 'Quality of Teaching' shows how Ian used humour to retain the attention of his audience and enforce a serious point:

Some teachers talk about education as teenagers talk about sex; as if they were the first to discover it.  We must be wary of such arrogance.  Like sex, teaching is a very old biological phenomenon.  Passing information from one generation to the next is absolutely fundamental for the survival of a biological species where each individual has a finite life span.



  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010