The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 139

Encountering Mathematics 117 also at the University of Toronto, was in linguistics, but it was clearly interdisciplinary, involving mathematics, statistics, a lot of modelling, and computer programming. Just before what turned out to be my final year completing the PhD, I took a temporary, one-year but full-time, position at York University, and thus ended my student days, really still quite mathematically oriented. As I now discovered—and it remains true to this day unfortunately—academia loves to tout the benefits of interdisciplinary study, but as soon as you enter the world of an actual academic position, you had better be doing something well defined by discipline. Thus I entered a Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, in its Linguistics section, which was still very much in its infancy. Building and administering this program, in addition to teaching courses within it, soon became a large part of my professional life, and although my main research program and interests remained in mathematical and statistical applications within linguistics, because of those around me, my daily contacts, inevitably I started to develop additional research interests not involving mathematics in any way. With only a finite number of hours in the day, thus began my drift away from mathematics. Around the same time another drift began occurring: a drift towards administrative and governance positions. In serving on committees in the Faculty, in the Senate, and in other university-wide activities, I began to meet York’s mathematicians, computer scientists, and mathematical economists, including some I had known from graduate school or undergraduate days at the University of Toronto. Eventually I became an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts, shortly after Computer Science had left for the Faculty of Science, but while Mathematics was still mostly in the Faculty of Arts, which again brought me into closer dealings with mathematicians, mostly on budget matters but also student