Richard Finch has been a History of Ideas Lecturer for 21 years in the Foundation Studies program, that’s longer than his students have been alive! The jazz loving philosopher caught up with us to discuss his Trinity journey and share his strategies to getting the most from his students.
Many alumni probably think Richard was born teaching History of Ideas at Trinity, such is the amount of time Richard has been at Trinity.
However, Richard started his career as an investment marketer, he would write reports to clients on how their investment performances were going, but soon realised this life was not for him.
“I found business very boring and I didn't like it. What’s the point of doing something just to make money? I’d prefer to do something I enjoyed,” says Richard.
That’s when Richard made the decision to become a tutor in the Philosophy department at the University of Melbourne.
It was while working as a tutor at the University, a colleague mentioned there was a job currently being advertised at Trinity. The rest as they say is history.
“I applied and took the job without knowing a whole lot about it, within a year it took over my life so to speak. Not in a bad way, I started off teaching two classes and in a very short period I was full time, which I hadn’t expected.”
Over two decades later, Richard still enjoys lecturing History of Ideas and developing students’ critical thinking skills.
In an era of increased globalisation and with the proliferation of media outlets which give vastly contradictory information, Richard encourages students, alumni and members of the wider community to continue to be critical and evaluate things for themselves.
One of Richard’s strategies is to occasionally make a comment that is blatantly wrong in class to get his students to question things.
“You might say, ‘Paris is the capital of England.’ Not just to see who’s paying attention, but to get them to challenge you, to say, is that right?”
Richard has had many highlights at Trinity including being the Master of Ceremonies at the 25-year Foundation Studies anniversary celebration, an ambassador for the Julliard Winter Jazz School (later it became the New York Jazz School), which used to run at Trinity, and winning the student-staff soccer competition with the staff team (Old Man United) a decade ago.
Richard loves to catch-up with alumni. On Friday 23 March 2018, he went to see one of his former students Junda Huang (Abel), receive an award on the Dean’s Honours list for Commerce at the University of Melbourne.
His message to other alumni? Pop in and say hello and good luck for the future!