We spoke with Dr Mark Shephard, who is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Government & Public Policy. Mark's research falls within the bracket of Scottish and British politics, social media, elite behaviour, legislatures, public opinion, parties and elections.
What's your Strathclyde story?
I joined Strathclyde in 1998 and I have had a varied career path within my discipline and I’m currently a Senior Lecturer.
What initially attracted you to Strathclyde?
A strong political science department with a behavioural and quantitative focus, all in the heart of a vibrant city close to lots of green space and the great outdoors. Oh…and devolution.
What inspired you to enter your field/profession?
The importance of politics and political choices in the 1980s to most aspects of the lives we lead, such as the Cold War, Falklands, miners’ strikes and Thatcherism.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in your field?
Follow your heart and develop a specialism in a field you love. Be prepared to say no and don’t spread yourself too thin.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
My two Tedx talks (Glasgow 2014; and Bergen 2017) on social media and how they have been used in the classroom and elsewhere to improve citizenship skills. And being the Convenor of the largest and boldest of Political Studies Association Annual meetings in TIC in 2017.
What current trends do you see influencing your field/profession?
Working with wider teams across subject areas to examine and solve major issues of the day.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Not having enough time in the week to do what I want to do professionally, and increased competition for resources.
Any special thanks or shout-outs you'd like to give to colleagues who have helped or inspired you throughout your career here?
Too many to name (and I’m going to miss a few, so apologies now) but Professor David Judge for just being super-impressive on all fronts of the job and for sound guidance over my first 20 years, and to the vast majority of my colleagues and support staff over the years. My, Strathclyde has some talented and inspirational folks!
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I do love gardening in my spare time, so it would have to be Monty Don.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I volunteer as a gardener in the Walled Peace Garden, Barshaw Park, Paisley. I also sell/give away the odd painting I find any leftover time to do to raise money for the University’s Malawi fund, the Walled Peace Garden and the Accord Hospice, Paisley. I also turn my photographs into cards and they are sold to raise money for the Walled Garden and Paisley Abbey.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Eating a line of every flavour of Quality Street with a log-stove fire and a beer while watching Gogglebox (qualitative public opinion, honest…).
In one word, describe what Strathclyde means to you.