Wednesday Spotlight: Dr. Timothy Gupton, Faculty

This week we are pleased to introduce Dr. Tim Gupton as our Wednesday Spotlight! Dr. Gupton is a faculty member on the  Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program which runs from June 10th to July 29th. The LACS program is ideal for students studying Spanish, Latin America, and/or International Affairs. Plus, we think you’ll find that it has some pretty cool faculty. We hope you enjoy Dr. Gupton’s Spotlight and consider applying to his amazing program before the March 21st deadline (FRIDAY)!

Describe one of your favorite experiences since you moved to Athens.

Hosting the Portuguese Linguistics in the United States (PLUS) conference this past November (2013) was a definite highlight because I got to share Athens with a large group of scholars from Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, and other parts of the US.

What is your favorite thing about working at UGA?

There are two: 1) My colleagues in Romance Languages, and 2) I love being able to teach my chosen linguistic subfield (syntax) and having the freedom to develop courses that better serve our graduate and undergraduate students.

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In one sentence, what makes an effective leader?

I think that preparation is crucial. I think you become prepared by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have a diversity of experience, and by listening to those people, what is important to them, and where they want to be.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

Well, I have a few I have found to be very true. The first is the classic Boy Scout mantra “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” The censored version of the second is something like “Bad stuff happens.” That is important to remember because you constantly have to adapt to the hand you are dealt. The third is related to the second: “This too shall pass.” Good and bad circumstances come to an end, and knowing that makes you better able to enjoy the good and move on from the bad.

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What are your favorite pastimes?

I would say cooking, running, and fantasy football with my grad school friends.

What is something unique about you?

Most people would say that the unique thing about me is that I was born and raised in Las Vegas, but given what I do, the unique thing about me is that I taught English for five years in South Korea between my MA and PhD.

What is your favorite movie and why?

It’s a toss-up between two Cohen Brothers films, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where art thou? They never get old for me. Lebowski reminds me of a time and place – in my life and within the film. O Brother has a lot of music that I used to sing in church as a child, so that and the comedy always make me smile.

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How did you get into your field?

Linguistics was a requirement for my undergrad degree at UNLV that was typically dreaded by most students. It made my head hurt, but I fell in love with it. From there, I took every course in Spanish linguistics I could. I had an excellent professor, Dr. Deborah Arteaga, and my experience in her courses helped get me into a graduate program.

If you weren’t in this position, what would you be?

I probably would have become a geologist. I satisfied my science requirements with geology and just found it fascinating. My undergrad roommate was in geology and many of his friends were grad students in geology. It was always supercool listening them talk about the Earth.

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