21, No. 11, Dec. 6, 2001
On the Job: Julian Parrott
By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; email@example.com
by Bill Wiegand
Julian Parrott is
the director of the General
Curriculum Center and assistant
dean of the College
of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Parrott started his career with the UI as a graduate assistant adviser
in the General Curriculum Center in the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences 10 years ago. He is now the director of the center and assistant
dean of the college. A native of Wales, Parrott earned his bachelors
degree in American studies at the University of Manchester, England,
and his masters degree in history from Western Illinois University.
What do you do in the General Curriculum Center?
We sort of serve as the college office for students who were admitted
to the university as undecided, undeclared students. We see a lot of
pre-professionals. We also see students who are in transition. They
realize now that they want to get into a college or a certain major
but now have to meet the transfer barriers to get into those colleges.
I manage the advisers and supervise the advisers. Conduct training.
I also do a lot of program planning. I also still see students. I think
its important for a director of an advising center to still maintain
an advising load and keep that connection and contact to the students
and with changing policies and procedures across campus.
What is the most challenging part of what youre
Trying to help students try and reconcile their abilities and interests.
A lot of the students come in, and Id say almost the majority
of them want to define themselves with a specific major. We often call
them Imas: Im a pre-med, or Im
For a lot of students theyre looking at more of a socially defined
idea of what you should be to be a success rather perhaps than looking
internally at their abilities, their interests and their values.
You said you had majored in American studies.
Has the experience of living over here been what you had thought it
Oh, absolutely not at all. I came here without giving much thought to
what I was doing. I didnt even think about emigrating at the time.
I came for the noblest of reasons, I guess, which is love. I met my
future wife at a Super Bowl party.
What kinds of things do you like to do in your spare time?
I do quite a bit of woodworking. For some reason, I love making bookshelves.
My whole family reads a lot, so we always buy books. Theres always
another reason to go off and build another bookshelf.
Are there any particular types of areas that
you like to read about?
No, pretty eclectic tastes. I read a lot of history books. I like detective
fiction, historical fiction, travel books.
My specialization was pre-WWII, American diplomatic relations. So I
am still very, very fascinated with that era. But for the last couple
of years Ive sort of developed an interest in Britain at the time
of Waterloo, the Napoleonic Wars.
I love Bill Bryson. I like to read travel authors whove done travels
similar to I have and see their impressions.
I understand that you have a car that attracts a lot of attention.
Yes, I do. If it were a little red sports car I think people would say
its a midlife crisis. Its a little green 1974 Austin Mini
Cooper. I had grown up driving Minis at home, and its one of my
favorite cars, so I looked for about a year on the Internet and found
one in Florida and had it shipped up.
Its about the smallest thing on the road. It does elicit reactions
from almost everybody who sees it. Its very low. Its about
4 feet high and 9 feet long.
I think its one of the most imported European cars. There are
about 5 million of them. They built them for about 40 years. They just
stopped building them last year.
Its a strong part of my culture to have a Mini, and its
amazingly fun to drive. Its peppy. My kids love it. They say,
Its just my size.