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Barry Rubin

Barry Rubin1. How long have you been at SPEA?

I’ve been at SPEA for 35 wonderful years.

2. Has SPEA changed much since you started teaching here?

There is so much stuff that has changed. For one thing, we have our own building. Originally, we were located at Poplars, where the Sample Gates are located. While our offices were bigger there, we didn’t have enough office space and we weren’t located next to anything of significance. The SPEA building is beginning to show its age, but it is still providing us excellent space for everything we – professors, students, staff – need, whether that be meeting space, classrooms, etc.

The faculty has grown tremendously since I arrived. When I started, we had 25-30 full time faculty members and now we are close to 90 full time faculty. Additionally, there are a larger group of younger Assistant Professors, as well as an increase in Lecturers that are excellent quality and provide a great learning opportunity for the students.

The student body has also grown dramatically and improved in quality as well as diversity. Students come from all sorts of backgrounds, whether it is domestic vs. international, areas of interest, and their undergraduate area of study. We also see a greater diversity in the age range of students. In general, the students have a much larger opportunity to learn in different ways, from the living learning center, overseas study, expanded concentrations in the graduate program, etc.

3. 35 years is a long time at SPEA. What first made you interested in coming to join the school?

It was one of the few schools of its type around at the time. SPEA was new and was building a reputation of quality. It was also a time when one could have a lot of impact on the school as it developed. The faculty and administration were great here, very supportive. Additionally, I wanted to return to the Midwest from the South. Lastly, there were colleagues of mine that I had met during graduate school that were teaching at SPEA.

4. You are an accomplished and respected statistician. What kind of research have you worked on?

My biggest research commitment has been continuing the work on the Energy/Economy Model of Indiana. As part of this project, I am supervising two doctoral student research assistants, a Masters student research assistant, and a doctoral student who is working with me in an unfunded capacity. We have two other manuscripts in progress for this research, one of which should be submitted to an energy policy journal within the next month and a second targeted for an economic development journal within the next six months. We are also committed to submit an external grant proposal from this research as part of our FRSP grant agreement, which we intend to do in the next six months. I have also spent time during the last half of 2013 working on developing a proposal to Duke Energy to extend this research. Finally, I have begun the development of a manuscript on our social capital research that extends the research results, also for submission to Economic Development Quarterly.

5. Tell us a little about where you are originally from.

I’m one of the few people that can claim to have actually been born on Miami Beach. In fact, I was born in a hospital over the Intracoastal Waterway. Honestly, growing up there was mostly boring, a lot of older people around the area. It wasn’t until the Cuban migration that it became an interesting place to live. Since then, it has become the South Beach that everyone knows.

6. Rumor has it that you are a big fan of working with musical synthesizers. What can you tell us about that?

I started using it in 1972 when I was given an opportunity to work with a Moog synthesizer in the electronic music lab at Florida State University. That started a life-long love of sound synthesis and what you can do with it. I was always frustrated by the fact that without knowing how to play a keyboard, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could be. So, I didn't really get into it until 15 years ago when I took piano lessons for 3 years so that I could learn my way around a keyboard and then use the synthesizers more effectively and have more fun. I got my first keyboard synthesizer about 15 years ago and have continued to expand my interests and really enjoy creating sounds, playing keyboard (BADLY), and doing accompaniments with bands that I listen to, as well as occasionally recording my own stuff.