Professor of Biology
For a person who is supposed to work only half as much as his faculty colleagues, Doug Glazier certainly finds ways to keep himself busy. Doug and his wife Deb Kirchhof-Glazier sort of defined the "buy one, get one free" ethos of Juniata's unique policy of allowing academic couples to share a single job slot. Although they were not the first campus couple to share a faculty slot (that was chemists Ruth Reed and Tom Fisher), they've certainly been at it the longest.
Doug, who earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan's Oakland University in 1973, met his future wife while both were earning doctorates at Cornell University. The couple married while in graduate school in 1975. "We weren't apprehensive at all about finding jobs, although one couple we knew took separate jobs on the East and West Coasts. I've always wondered if they are still together," says Doug, who, along with Deb, will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.
After earning his doctorate and working for a year, Doug was hired at Juniata as a biology department sabbatical replacement. He accepted, thinking that it would be great to get some teaching experience before looking for a permanent job. "The department head, Ken Rockwell, told me ‘Don't expect to stay here,' " Doug says with a smile. The next year, Deb taught at the College as a replacement. "Eventually it dawned on us that they might hire us as a team," he says.
For Doug, working half-time has meant professional fulfillment. In addition to playing "Mr. Mom" part of the year, he credits the sharing arrangement with allowing his interest in research to flower.
Doug views research as a culmination of his teaching. "If I wasn't an active researcher, I wouldn't be as creative as a teacher," he says. As an evolutionary biologist, Doug's research centers on how two species of aquatic organisms have adapted from living in water to living on land. The two organisms he studies are amphipods (shrimp-like organisms that live in springs) and isopods (pillbugs).
His interest in such adaptable creatures mirrors his own eclectic career at Juniata. At various times he has been head of the environmental science program, a biology professor, and part of a teaching team that orchestrates one of the College's most popular courses, "Good Evolution and Culture."
Great researchers follow their intuition and curiosity wherever it may lead, and in Doug's case, it leads to Tasmania. This semester he is working with a University of Tasmania researcher to study amphipods on the island. "Because Tasmania is a relatively isolated island there are amphipods that are in many different stages of development—it's like snapshots of different phases of evolution," he says. "Having that extra time for research really helps me, especially when it comes to publishing."
Doug says he probably would not have enough time to write if not for his half-time status. That said, he uses that time well. He is in his 10th year of writing a book, Small Mammals: Energetics, Ecology and Evolution. He also will soon publish a 52-page article in the journal Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society that challenges a paradigm on how animals of different body size use energy. "I love the whole publishing process; it really fascinates me," Doug says. "Not everybody enjoys that side of science, but I get my best ideas when I'm writing or reading."
Which brings us back to the Glaziers' original idea to split their career down the middle. "I think the atmosphere here is much more free," he says. "You can branch off into new areas of research, you can watch your students grow into scientists. It's just a great, positive experience."
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