I think, therefore I PREPARE
Meet Disaster Master Prof. David Simpson.
Prof. Simpson may not be a storm chaser – but he comes prepared with plans in the aftermath. Chair of the Urban and Public affairs, and Fifth Third Bank Professor in Community Development endowed chair, he specializes in hazards and disasters, and sustainability. At UofL since 1999, Prof. Simpson has been active in the region for planning and sustainable development issues.
In this Q&A, we learn that you can keep your feet firmly planted on the ground studying natural disasters, and at that same time have your head in the clouds in a T-37 jet.
Department: Urban & Public Affairs
Years at UofL: 16
What is the focus of your current research?
My three main areas of research are currently: Hazards and Disasters; Sustainability; and Human-Animal Interaction studies.
Who had the greatest influence on your career path?
My dissertation chair, Fred Collignon of UC Berkeley, who was a respected colleague in his department, a Berkeley City Council member, and started his own consulting firm, all while raising a family. Most of all, it was his dedication to student success, and taking extra time to mentor and guide me toward a career in education.
If there were no limitations - time, funding, or otherwise - what would you most like to research? The role of dogs and other animals in therapeutic and similar settings. I'm interested in setting up a Center for Anthrozoology, which is an interdisciplinary approach to the interaction of humans and animals.
What is something your colleagues don’t know about you?
I secretly root for Duke Basketball when they are not playing Louisville.
Who or what inspires your work as a teacher and researcher?
I am most inspired by the students who come into the field of urban planning and know that they want to make a difference in their community – my goal is to give them the tools and perspectives that will enable them to make changes that will matter.
What’s the most thrilling or adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Barrel rolls in a T-37 training jet.