Glancing over Dr Anthony Potts‘ qualifications, which seem to span across the horizon, one gains a strong sense that this is indeed one highly educated individual. Holding two doctoral degrees and with former professional appointments at Liverpool Hope University and Newman University College, UK, plus time as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University’s Wolfson College, he is indisputably ‘book smart’. At the same time, he is equally ‘life smart’. His experiences outside the academy have also provided fascinating and often surprising lessons. It is this cocktail of what he has learnt inside and outside the classroom which inspires his passion for all things concerning education, from conducting classes to researching.
Prior to his academic pursuits, Anthony worked in a plant nursery in rural New South Wales. He then veered in another direction and enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts majoring in history at the University of New England (UNE). Upon graduating, he then acquired a Diploma and Master of Education, and subsequently earned a Diploma of Tertiary Education, all at UNE. After having the opportunity to translate his new skills into practice as a classroom teacher, Anthony returned to a world of theory to earn his PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Dr. Sc. of Ped at Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. During and after his studies, his research and professional tenures have taken him across the UK, Europe and the United States. Both figuratively and literally, Anthony has travelled a long way since his days in the plant nursery.
Amidst all of this, practical, hands-on experience has been as central as theoretical experience. Be it as a gardener or a classroom teacher – or even as the co-owner of a swimming pool retailing company – the insights acquired from such experiences compliment and contribute to his wisdom as an educator and a researcher. For instance, during his time in the ‘swimming pool business’, he observed educative value in professional conference and product presentations.
This is not to mention the many anecdotes which he has acquired from his journeys, academic or otherwise, many involving politicians interviewed for his research on their attitudes towards education. Experiences which have stuck with him in his research are both the frank revelation from one politician that generally such interviews rank lowly on his list of priorities and also the warmth and generosity of many of those many others who made the time for such interviews. Experiences such as these have inspired his open attitude towards those that seek to learn from him.
His journey finds him now residing and working at the School of Education at the University of Adelaide, where he has been for the past three years. Though having positive experiences at other universities, he describes the University of Adelaide as one of the “best places” he has worked. He appreciates the history, traditions and vibrancy of the University and, most importantly, holds a high view of its students.
The University of Adelaide has acquired someone with vast experience, both inside and outside academia, which is of great benefit to our future educators. Read more about Anthony’s research now.