I had a bit of a surprise yesterday morning when I had a phone call from Molly May asking me to go over to Mike Rowe's office. She told me that Dr Stavros Mavros, who we had appointed back March and is due to start work here in September, has turned up. Mike had already had a long chat with him and now wanted me to take Stavros across to the cafeteria for a coffee. It seems that I was the only other member of staff in, and anyway with me being Greek too and perhaps sharing some research interests with Stavros it might be nice for us to meet.
I wasn't involved in the interview process but I did recall that despite some initial concerns that Gus, Jack and Richard had expressed before the interview they had quite taken to him on the day. His expertise is in discrimination of various types, involving race, gender, age, even sexual orientation - in both labour and housing markets. As that is something that also interests me there may be possibilities for joint research.
Stavros was casually dressed, in a black t-shirt and black trousers. He has a big black bushy beard and an engaging smile. As we walked over to the cafeteria I said that I was a bit surprised to see him as he wasn't due to start work here until September. In reply he said that, as I might be aware, his previous job had been in Cyprus and, as his contract there was now over, he was quite keen to leave and come over to the UK. He had got some temporary accommodation in London with a friend but he decided that it might be a good idea to come down to USE, to check on what teaching he was being given for the new term and maybe to look around for somewhere to live. I asked Stavros if he was married. He said not, but that he had a girlfriend who was working in London. So I guess I now know who the friend is that he is staying in London with.
When we got to the cafeteria we chatted more about our different research projects. Stavros is in a bit of higher league than me in terms of his journal publications and the grants that he has managed to obtain. I started to tell him all about the plans for the new Smart Centre for Applied Economics but it seems that Mike has already briefed him about it. Stavros said that he was sure that he could bring a lot to the work of the Centre.
Stavros said that Mike has been very generous in not giving him too much of a teaching load next term - just some postgraduate stuff and dissertation supervision. He might also have a couple of new PhD students to look after. Mike had also promised him a top of the range new PC plus all the specialist software that he needed. Then came a slight bombshell. To begin with in September Stavros would be sharing my office. Apparently the office original scheduled for him would not be vacated until Christmas as the person in accounting who is retiring had chosen that time to go, rather than in the summer as the Dean had assumed would be the case. But that will be good, opined Stavros, we can get to know each other better and maybe start on a research project.
Stavros stayed for lunch and we got on very well together. He has a good sense of humour and is clearly pleased to be in the UK.