Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Darcy Wudel, convener of Core, leads AUIS faculty

By Salman Ahmed Rasul

                                   Photo by Marwan Muhammed AUI-S Voice 
                                                      Darcy Wudel delivers a speech.

Darcy Wudel is the Dean of Faculty and Convener of the Core. He has an education background in liberal arts and PH.D in political science from the University of Toronto. His wife, Lora Funfstuck, also works at AUIS as the director of Science Lab.

Would you tell us about your academic background and personal life?I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta in geography. I have a master’s degree in political science from the University of Alberta. And I earned my PH.D in political science from the University of Toronto in Canada. I would say that I came to liberal arts education through the back door. My main field of study was political philosophy, and that led me to a wider consideration of books, and subjects. So, I became much more interested in literature, philosophy in general, science, and other such things. All I would say my liberal education actually is in many ways defective and I have spent a lot of time in my life trying make up for my lack of liberal education.
From a personal standpoint, I am married to Ms. Lora who is the director of the labs, and between us we have four children and two grandchildren.

What is your role at AUIS? What do you do for AUIS as the dean of faculty and a professor?
I really do have two roles, especially this semester I have remained as a professor, and I am teaching three courses. Early on in the year; I became what is known as the Convener of the Core, the core program in liberal arts. I spend some of my time working on that, and Dr. Athanasios Moulakis then asked me to take in the role of Dean of Faculty. The Dean of Faculty job is something I would say that I am just beginning to explore. The Dean of Faculty is not so much a boss as the person who kind of helps to organize the faculty, keep the faculty happy, and keep the faculty moving one direction for the sake of whole of the university.

As you said, you are in charge of the core. So, why do you have this core? Why is it important? Why not start from specialization?Stated real simply, you might think of it this way: I am looking at the stapler on my desk, and specialization is being a stapler. To be educated in a broader sense is to be the person whom might invent the stapler.
So, I think very much what we are interest in doing is providing a kind of education that it is not well known in Iraq that leads people to think, to want to think, and to be acquainted with many things before they become specialized. Specialization as most specialists find out tends to be out of date very quickly; other kinds of knowledge do not.
So, for instance, to think systematically, logically and coherently is something that you learn in the core. If you apply that to IT, then you become a good IT person, Computer languages may go out of date, logic does not.

Why did you come to Iraq: teaching, learning, experience, the challenge, money, or political reasons?Dr. John Agresto offered me a job, and I was not completely happy at the place where I was teaching. So, this became a very an attractive alternative.Quite frankly, I did not know what I was getting myself into. Coming to teach at a school that was devoted to liberal education was attractive, and as I have been here, I find it ever more attractive. That is just a very good place to teach. I like the Core program. I like the people I teach with. I like the young people I teach. This is a good place to be. And Miss Lora wanted to come.

What is your vision about AUIS in the next five years?My vision is that our first graduates will begin to flow out of here in the next five years, and that they will go confidently forward. Thinking about, yes, getting a job, but also thinking about the future of the KRG, Iraq, and the Middle East, and confident that they got a kind of education that they will really make a difference in peoples’ lives. And I do not mean just the specialization that they are undertaking in the major, but also that what they get from the core will somehow serve them as well. So, my vision is that we graduate students who have some sense of having a good education and have come out with some real purpose to live lives as good men and women and good citizens of wherever they live.

This interview first appeared on

No comments:

Post a Comment