FIYou: Patricia Price

Name: Patricia Price

Hometown: Tacoma, Wash. Growing up, it was totally uncool to be from Tacoma. It was not Seattle, and a local paper mill lent it the distinctively pungent “Tacoma Aroma.” As soon as I moved to Miami, however, Tacoma became a very cool place to be. There is probably a connection between these two events. Dale Chihuly, the glass artist, is from Tacoma. There’s lots of great residential and commercial architecture from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Public art and good food abound. The weather is really horrible, though (see this for a comic but quite accurate portrayal). I was glad to relocate to Miami, but I do love to go back and visit and I do so often since my parents and brother still live there.

Job Title/Department: Associate Professor, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies; Chair, Social and Behavioral Institutional Review Board (SB-IRB). I was recently named faculty fellow in the Office of the Provost.

Campus: Modesto A. Maidique Campus

In a nutshell: I teach undergraduate courses, ranging from a really big intro course – world regional geography – to more specialized courses in the major, like cultural geography. I also teach graduate level courses and supervise MA and Ph.D. students. Because I have a background in Mexican and Latino studies I work closely with LACC students, too. I have an active research profile, most recently involving Cuban exile landscapes in Miami, which is a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. As SB-IRB chair, I run the board that oversees all human subjects research conducted university-wide in the social and behavioral sciences. As faculty fellow, my primary focus is the facilitation of communication between the faculty and the provost’s office. I look forward to accomplishing many good things on behalf of the faculty and the university.

Number of years at FIU: This was my first “real” job out of graduate school. I came here in 1996, as an instructor, and had a year to finish writing and defend my dissertation. Once I got my Ph.D. in 1997 I joined the tenure-track faculty. I’ve been here ever since, and haven’t been bored once.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I’m a geography professor. I get to teach students about the world around them, and how they can become more engaged in it. How fun is that?

What do you think faculty/staff and students should know about your department?

I have the great good fortune to be a faculty member in the best department on campus, Global and Sociocultural Studies. GSS came into being in 2008, when the College of Arts & Sciences was reorganized. The Department of International Relations, where we geographers were located, was disbanded and we joined the former Department of Sociology/Anthropology. Given how cognate the interests of our group of anthropologists, geographers and sociologists are, we have emphasized three interdisciplinary themes in our new department: identities and inequalities, migrations and diasporas, and nature-society. There are just more than 30 of us, and we’ve hired extremely well at the junior as well as more-senior levels. Our faculty research profile is diverse, covering all regions of the world, and we have some of the most renowned scholars and teachers in the country right there amongst us.

What about FIU – how is the university “Worlds Ahead”?

FIU is rapidly making its name internationally known in research contributions and student success. I cannot count how many distinct places and circumstances I’ve found myself in over the past few years where “I’m at FIU” has been met with, “Lucky you – I’ve heard great things about that place!” A couple of years ago, I was on a boat in the middle of the Aegean Sea (quick: where is it?) and I heard, “Hey, Professor Price!” It was a former student across the deck from me. Amazing – FIU really is everywhere.

Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

In my office in the fantastic new SIPA building, advising a student, mentoring a junior colleague or just making a pot of tea and rearranging piles of things on my desk.

Family snapshot:

The humans include my husband Ari, daughter Nina, and stepson Daniel. And an undisclosed number of felines.

Word that best describes you: Energetic.

First paying job: When I graduated with my BA I worked for two years as a loan officer in a credit union. Though the credit union mission of supporting its membership through small loans is one I subscribe to, overall that job made me realize that I did not want to go into finance. So, like many of my undergraduates, I came to my career choice through a process of first eliminating what I didn’t want to do.

Favorite TV show: I don’t have a lot of time or patience for TV-watching, but I have to confess to finding What Not to Wear and Hoarders strangely compelling.

What is playing on your iPod?

I have eclectic musical tastes so there’s a little bit of everything on the iPod.

Read any good books lately?

It seems like I do most of my reading for research-related purposes – background reading for articles I’m writing, possible selections to include in my Cultural Geography Reader, or books that I am reviewing either pre- or post-publication. At the moment, my “light” reading in that department is The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, which is a veritable doorstop compendium of everything essential you may need to read on Mexico. For lighter reading, I enjoyed Rachel Toor’s Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running, which is a collection of running-as-metaphor-for-life short stories by a good writer who also happens to be a runner like me. I confess to enjoying the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. On my “to read next” list is Academically Adrift. It’s important to keep on top of what’s happening in the higher education landscape, which is changing so quickly that it’s challenging to keep up.

Your proudest accomplishment:

Both my daughter and stepson will be in college next year, as a freshman and sophomore, respectively. They are going upstate, to FSU, and though I wish they would have stayed local with FIU I understand that they need their independence, too. Seeing them poised on the threshold of young adulthood, happy, healthy, and with so much to look forward to and contribute, makes me extremely proud.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU?

Free time – what’s that? No, seriously, I have been a runner since my college days, but only recently began to run half-marathon distances. I’m resisting the urge to branch out into triathlons or marathon distances, mostly because I don’t have enough free time to train for events like that.

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