Monday 10th April 2017

Today was a fantastic day that brought with it some amazing news. I was due to attend the Faculty meeting in work and Karen and Alan were coming in with me because there were some Star Wars figures Alan had ordered and had been delivered to the FAU office. We got into campus around 11.30 and I made a phone call before getting ready to go to the meeting. I had thought that Karen and Alan would simply stay in my office while I attended but then when I came back from the toilet I was surprised to see that they were coming in to the meeting. It turned out that John Smykla had told Karen that something special was going to happen on Friday night and had invited her to come along with Alan but had also sworn her to secrecy,

The meeting began with me giving Faculty a summary of what I have achieved during my scholarship and what my future plans are. There were some questions at the end and then John said that he had a presentation to make to me.  I was pretty overwhelmed with what came next, when he read out a letter from the Dean of the College inviting me to be appointed as an Affiliate Professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice in FAU, initially for a 3 year period from May 2017 to May 2020. The letter ended by stating that my period as Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence has had an impact across the entire university. John then presented me with a beautiful crystal globe symbolizing what the Fulbright scholarship means, with my name on it. I was absolutely delighted with all of this and made it very clear to everyone at the meeting that it has been a privilege and honour to be part of the ‘family’ within the School of CCJ at FAU and will be even more of an honour to join the School in this new capacity. The role will involve me delivering some teaching online and supervising students from a distance, as well as collaborations in research and possibly creating opportunities for staff and student mobility from Scotland to FAU. So this will be a great opportunity for my own university, UWS, as well as for myself. When I return to my job as Assistant Dean in UWS next month, I will be able to create new opportunities for collaborations with FAU in the future.

Karen and Alan and I left the meeting and went to the Olive Garden for lunch. Karen and I had a bottle of wine to celebrate! It is so encouraging to me to know that I have made such an impact that they would invite me to take on this role, and it has made all the hard work worthwhile!

In the afternoon we spent some time at the villa and then got ready and went out to meet Vaughn Critchlaw from FAU and his family and their friend Lorraine and her husband Christopher for food and drinks in the Blue Tavern, which is a British pub in Deray beach.  Lorraine is of Scottish descent and works in the after-school club Vaughn’s son attends and was keen to meet us. We had a nice meal and a great chat. Alan again had great fun with Vaughn’s daughter and son – he has made great friends with them.

It was a signal to me just how much Alan has enjoyed this trip when he said in the car on the way back home that it seems only like yesterday that they had arrived here, and now 4 weeks is almost up. He asked if we will be coming back here again, and has said that he would like to live here! This is quite something from a boy who is normally desperate to get home from all of our holidays. I am so glad he has enjoyed it so much – that really means a lot to me.

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