Dr. Galbraith Writing Second Novel during Retirement

Jan. 15, 2017

Many colleagues and friends asked Dr. Gillian Galbraith how she intends to spend her retirement and some expressed surprise at her goal of complementing her award-winning first novel with a second.

 “My life to date has been a series of adventures, and I am looking forward to those that await me,” Dr. Galbraith said. “I have a lot of things planned (during retirement), but will continue writing. I have a published novel that won awards, as does my husband, Michael. We had to put writing on hold for a bit because of what was happening here, but I want to get back into that. I have the book half written, so I want to finish it.”

Dr. Galbraith joined UNLV during March 2002 as the chair of biomedical sciences – the school’s first and only to date – and as part of an advance team responsible for developing the curriculum and completing the accreditation paperwork. She retired during December 2016. She remembers those months leading to the temporary accreditation as an interesting and stressful time. The first students arrived later that year and were taught in a classroom, which was half the needed size, near the motor pool on the Maryland Campus. She recalled moving to the Shadow Lane Campus, which opened during 2004, and being surprised to discover the building’s doors being nailed shut.

For Dr. Galbraith, the many successes she witnessed during her 15 years with the school include the beginning of the post-doctoral programs, the creation of the oral pathology unit, the overall board scores, and the external funding for research studies especially for such a young school.

When asked for parting wisdom, she shared the following advice.

  • For current and future students: work hard for what you want. If you don’t really want it, you won’t get it.
  • For junior faculty members: seek and accept mentorship, stay optimistic, and embrace change as a pathway to potential opportunities. And, if you’re in this field for the money, forget it.
  • For the faculty: collegiality is essential to achieving and maintaining fulfilment in your academic career. We cannot succeed in a vacuum.

 And what’s her favorite memory working within the school?

“That’s a tough one. It’s almost impossible to answer. I have been in academia since 1976 and loved every minute of it—with a few notable exceptions. I have had many careers during that time, but the last 15 years here were absolutely the best in every way for me personally and professionally. My biggest love is teaching. Those are the moments I will remember—a student’s interest and enjoyment of a topic, seeing when a student finally understands a difficult concept. Those will always be my best memories.”