Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting Great News While on the Train - You are a Fellow!

When one gets some very good news (or bad), one remembers that very moment - from what you were doing when you heard the news to where you were when you received it.

Nowadays, much good news comes via email and, with smartphones, the messages can be received almost anywhere.

While on a recent trip to NYC, via the MetroNorth train from New Haven, I was engrossed in my New York Times and enjoying the journey. I love riding trains. My husband reached for my smartphone and decided to check my email and said, "You have a message from Oxford University."

I suspected that this was a decision on my application to be a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, a dream I had harbored for a while.

And indeed, it was!  The message said that a letter inviting me to take up a Visiting Fellowship had been posted and the sender stated that "I take great pleasure in attaching a pdf copy."

The letter, a hardcopy of which I also subsequently received via Royal Mail,  stated that I had been offered the fellowship for the 2015-2016 year for the trinity term, which is the term that I had requested.
I will be a Fellow at All Souls College at Oxford and will be researching supply chains and quality, a topic that I a very passionate about since it impacts so many products that affect consumers from pharmaceuticals and food to high tech and durable products.  Almost every day, one reads about quality failures of suppliers, some with devastating effects on human lives.

According to the letter, I will be provided with a workroom in the college, will have free accommodation at Oxford, and will have meals at Common Table (yes, capitalized). The atmosphere and support will be incredible.

One can become a Fellow of a professional society (for example, I was so honored to become a Fellow of INFORMS and also RSAI). One can also be a Visiting Fellow, as at Oxford, and other universities that have such programs, as well as at Institutes. For example, in 2005-2006 I was a Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, one of the best experiences that I have ever had, and where I wrote my Supply Chain Network Economics book.

I am so honored to have this great opportunity at one of the greatest universities in the world!

And, amazingly, On December 4, 2014, at our wonderful tribute to Gene Isenberg, after whom our School of Management at UMass Amherst is named, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the grandsons, Stefan, who had recently graduated from Oxford! He told me about the unique place that All Souls College has at Oxford and its exceptional library. I know that I will be inspired tremendously and will do my utmost to contribute to research and the life of the college while I am there and afterwards. Also, Stefan told me that he has appeared in several recent episodes of the PBS Masterpiece Mystery Inspector Lewis series (a followup on the Inspector Morse series), which takes place in Oxford, with many of the characters affiliated (fictionally) with Oxford University,  I became captivated by this program while being a Visiting Professor in Gothenburg (the Swedes show a lot of British TV programs).

A list of the Visiting Fellows this year is comprised of an economist, lawyers, literature scholars, and an astronomer, to start, with renowned universities such as Harvard and Stanford represented. I thrive in interdisciplinary settings such as Radcliffe, so am so looking forward to experiences that I know will be truly special.