Dr. Wood is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Bishop’s University and Adjunct Professor at Université de Sherbrooke. He earned his Bachelor of Science and PhD in Chemistry at University of New Brunswick. His primary field of research is main-group inorganic chemistry.
Chemistry professor Dale Wood has inspired students from various disciplines to enter his lab and study the science of brewing. Over the years, his individual course offering has grown into what will become Eastern Canada’s first academic brewery, opening in Fall 2015.
Dr. Wood’s unique project has attracted a multitude of attention, but more importantly, it has sparked a unique exchange between he and his students. “We have business and marketing majors involved with the brewery; they’re working on marketing projects with a brewery in mind,” explains Dr. Wood. “Those students will bring into the lab things I don’t know, and contribute in ways that are going to allow them to apply their backgrounds to something new, something practical, something experiential.”
“We sell this idea to prospective students: you come to Bishop’s, we’re going to develop your ideas to be all they can be, but it’s not just the students who get this advantage, it’s the professors too. I don’t think I could have done this anywhere else; the interdisciplinary nature of this fits perfectly with the liberal education model here at Bishop’s.”
Dr. Wood’s sees many similarities between his role as an academic and the brewmaster. “Professors, like brewmasters, are craftspeople who gather together raw materials and create conditions that encourage transformative processes – with sometimes ineffable results…the light bulb moments in our students when they finally combine their preparation, hard work, and learning with a touch of magic and a flash of insight to make sense of the world around them in a new way,” he says.
He adds: “We encourage our students to explore and make sure their ideas are known; I think that’s the reason this kind of project can work so well. I’m not isolated in a building on campus that’s spread out across an entire city; I’m exposed to the entire community. That is liberal education; it’s as much about the profs learning as the students.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”