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60 seconds with Dr Joe Fleming

Dr Joe Fleming is the new Ballarat Campus Dean.

How would I spend my ideal day?

My ideal day would be a spent in my organic vegetable garden with my 13-month old grandson Callum. I have always had a passion for gardening, particularly vegetable gardening.

I grew up in Dennington in the western district of Victoria and my dad was an avid gardener. He taught me much about life while we potted around in the dirt and the manure.

These were moments that were precious to me and even now when I work in my large veggie patch that supplies vegetables all year around my thoughts drift back to the time with Dad.

Callum is the start of another generation and I have taken him into the garden since he was born. He loves our time there, especially picking and eating strawberries, and I hope he enjoys it with me as much as I did with my Dad.

In life I have learnt…

That people are the most important treasures in life and the ability to be tolerant and forgive is essential for all human beings.

I have also learnt that being a Collingwood supporter requires great strength and determination. It is hard knowing that everyone else dislikes you and it is even harder to remember 1964, 1966, 1970, 1977 etc … when we lost grand finals we should have won.

Dr Joe FlemingDr Joe Fleming

Something that inspires me...

I am always inspired by the ‘learning moment’ when working with students in schools, universities or community - when suddenly you can see in their eyes and on their face that they have understand what is being taught . That spark of new confidence is purely inspirational.

What would surprise most people about my job?

That much of it has nothing to do with the academic discipline in which I obtained a PhD. It is about a whole range of other skills and knowledge.

What has been the most significant development in my field since starting my career?

Since 1973 I have been involved in the teaching of religious education in a wide range of settings. One of the most significant developments has been the growth of the discipline of religious education within ACU and with the Catholic schools.

Religious education is not just about doing something holy and sacred; it is a specialised discipline along with the arts, languages, mathematics, science etc. Schools need experts in the discipline of religious education.

If I could invite any five people to dinner, who would they be and why?

Cleopatra, Gandhi, Pope John XXIII, Mozart and The Emperor of Japan’s wife Michiko.

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