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SERVICE AWARD SPOTLIGHT — Rod Cole: Enjoying the physics of two jobs

By Amy Agronis on November 15, 2004 in University

A number of people claim they love their occupation. But how many can say they're satisfied with two jobs?

Rod Cole can. The 25-year campus veteran with a split position as a physics lecturer and Learning Skills Center analyst couldn't be more thrilled with his two positions.

"I love to teach physics," he says, "and I get to do that in both my jobs."

Cole started as a full-time physics lecturer in 1979, but four years later he decreased his time in the lecture hall to take on a part-time teaching role at the Learning Skills Center. He says his work with computer simulations in physics eventually led to further involvement at the center.

"When I first came to campus, there were no personal computers," says Cole. "When PCs came along, I'd used computers with my physics research, so I became a resource for the Learning Skills Center."

Cole leads pre- and co-classes for the Physics 9 series at the LSC -- the same series he teaches as a lecturer. In fact, he often sees students from his lecture hall at the LSC, which, he says, is a very different environment.

"In the 9 series, there are 170 to 200 people in a class," he says. "At Learning Skills, there are 10 to 15 people in my classes. It's very personal. We get to interact on a different level."

There are difficulties that come with juggling two jobs, though, Cole says.

"Sometimes when there's a crisis at the Learning Skills Center with the computers," he says, "I'm up all night working on it and then teaching the next morning. It can get crazy."

Cole doesn't let his work overwhelm him though. He still manages to get outdoors. The Dixon resident took backpacking trips with his son to Glacier Lake and Desolation Wilderness during the past summer, and he frequents his favorite locale: the Trinity Alps Wilderness. He also enjoys skiing.

Cole says he won't be dreaming about the great outdoors during the workweek, though. Not with two jobs that warrant no complaints.

Media contact(s)

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, abagronis@ucdavis.edu

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