Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

Sharing experience and best practice across the Faculty of Engineering & Design

Topic: Engineering & Design staff experiences

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for beginners ….

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📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences, Engineering & Design staff insight, Uncategorised

Back in December Selina (Jobson) and I thought we’d try and get to grips with the latest educational acronym  ‘TEF‘ and find out what on earth its all about.  Spoiler alert – there are a quite a few acronyms coming up! We attended a briefing event in London at which representatives from the Dept. of Education (DofE), the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and the National Union of Students (NUS) explained what TEF is, how it will operate and what it’s meant to achieve. The day also included presentations from two University administrators on how their Institutions are preparing for TEF, a presentation from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich and a general discussion.

So… what is TEF?

It’s a scheme introduced by the government with the aim of measuring the quality of teaching at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).  Universities will be given a rating to indicate the level of teaching quality they provide and as the scheme moves forward it will cover teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and then move on to give subject /discipline level ratings. There are three areas (criteria) against which Universities are rated – Teaching Quality; Learning Environment and Student Outcomes & Learning Gain - which then produce one overall rating.  The ratings will be Gold, Silver and Bronze. This year it’s a voluntary scheme but the vast majority of HE Institutions have decided to participate (299 in total).

The government’s aim is that TEF will be used to:

  • Provide clear information to students about where the best provision can be found
  • Encourage providers (i.e. Universities) to improve teaching quality to reduce variability
  • Help drive UK productivity by ensuring a better match of graduate skills with the needs of employers and the economy
  • It will also be used as a mechanism to allow Universities to raise the level of tuition fees charged to students (more on this later!) and to promote quality, choice & greater competition.

How will it work?

TEF ratings will be mainly assessed by metrics – what are those I hear you cry? Metrics are large sets of data and statistics which Universities already coordinate and provide to bodies such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It will also be important that all academics involved in teaching have recognised Teaching Qualifications – here at Bath there is likely to be a major push to ensure this happens.  Three years-worth of metrics will be used for TEF and they are

  • National Student Survey (NSS)  - for info on students’ perceptions of the quality of teaching, assessment, feedback, academic support
  • Destination of Leavers from HE (DLHE) – the annual survey of recent graduates which provides info. on what our graduates are doing e.g. are they in ‘graduate’ employment or further study or unemployed!
  • Higher Educations Statistics Agency (HESA) data – the annual return which is prepared by SREO and which covers recruitment and retention (in broad terms the number of ‘student bums on seats’)
  • In the future TEF might also include additional metrics e.g. Longitudinal Earnings Outcome (LEO) data (what type of employment graduates have 5 years after graduation).

Each University also submits a written report (limited to 15 pages – the font and margin sizes have also been specified). This written report should explain or comment on any anomalies in the metrics (contextualise the data) but primarily focus on the impact and effectiveness of teaching. The ‘student voice’ is also supposed to be clear within the written report. Ultimately each University’s written submission will be published.

The metrics and written submission are then considered by the TEF Assessment Panel, chaired by Prof Chris Husbands, VC at Sheffield Hallam University (appointed by the government for 2 years).  The TEF Panel will announce the outcomes and award Universities Gold, Silver or Bronze ratings which are valid for 3 years. If a University has been awarded a ‘bronze’ it could choose to reapply to TEF in subsequent years to try and raise its rating but otherwise you keep your rating for three years.

What’s the timeline?

We’re in the first ‘proper’ year of TEF (elements of the process were kick-started in 15/16 TEF year 1 which is why 2016-17 is referred to as TEF year 2).

The University submitted its written report at the end of January, the TEF Panel will now start reviewing all the metrics and reports from all participating Institutions and the outcomes will be announced in late May. We’ll find out whether we’ve got GOLD!!

Next year (2017-18) the TEF approach will applied to subject level pilots and in the following year (2018-19) taught postgraduate programmes will be included.

Talking points

Not surprisingly there’s a lot of discussion and debate about TEF. Here’s a potted summary of views and opinions about TEF,

  • There’s a general welcome for the focus on teaching and the quality of student’s learning experience, as it’s considered to be long overdue.
  • There are hopes that the esteem and profile of teaching will be raised (compared to research).
  • However there’s concern that the metrics themselves don’t actually tell you how ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ a University’s teaching is and in any case no-one really seems to be able to define what ‘Teaching Excellence’ is (although apparently everyone knows it when they see it). What for example can the metrics on post University destinations and employment tell us about the quality of teaching a student received?
  • TEF ratings (gold, silver etc.) will be directly linked to the level of fees a University can charge its students. From 2018-19 those Universities with a gold or silver rating will be allowed to increase undergraduate fees at a higher rate than those Universities with a bronze rating. Over time this will lead to a widening gap between higher and lower fee charging Universities. The NUS is particularly unhappy about the link between TEF and fee levels and has voted to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS) in protest. As the NSS scores are one of the key TEF metrics it’s not entirely clear what impact the boycott will have.
  • The NUS is also concerned that the reliance and focus on metrics will drown out the  ‘student voice’
  • There are significant reputational implications for Institutions awarded a bronze or even a silver award. Who wants to go to a University that’s not got gold?
  • Subject level TEF will be a whole new challenge – what happens if at a subject level you’re rated bronze but at a university level you're rated gold (already being referred to as medal clash)?

What’s been happening here at Bath

The University’s written report went in to the TEF Panel at the end of January.  I don’t know what went into the report or who was consulted but I should think the Students’ Union was involved.  There’s a real drive towards getting all academic staff involved in teaching to have formal Teaching Qualifications, which you may have heard discussed in various fora. The Bath branch of the NUS is formally participating in the boycott of NSS (more details can be found here: https://www.nus.org.uk/Documents/Boycott%20the%20NSS%20Flyer_.pdf.

And if you’re interested in finding out more…

Come and have a chat with me (Rachel Summers) or Selina - we most definitely do not have all the answers but might be able to point you in the right direction to find them.

 

An Apple a Day...

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📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

I recently took part in an experiment here at Bath University for the BBC Two show, Trust Me I’m a Doctor, presented by Michael Mosley, Chris van Tulleken, Saleyha Ahsan and surgeon Gabriel Weston.

Taking part in a television show was a complete first for me, so I had really no idea what to expect.

As it was part of an experiment here at the university, that took some of the pressure off being filmed, as I had a very clear idea of what I (and the group) was supposed to be doing, and when.

The experiment itself was a study of dieting vs. exercise, and which activity can help you lose weight quicker. It was conducted for the Department of Health and lead by the university’s own Dr Javier Gonzalez. It took place over two days, and involved a series of blood tests, fasting periods, and some track running for the group that I was part of!

Day 1 saw the entire group consume a breakfast of around 750 calories (muesli), a blood test before and after, and a simple period of rest afterwards, followed by a further blood test.

On day 2, we were split into two groups: Diet and Exercise. The diet group’s day was exactly the same as day one, only this time their breakfast had 500 calories worth of muesli removed. My group, the exercise group, were instructed to run enough laps of the running track to burn 500 calories (that was the tough part!), followed by eating the same 750 kcal breakfast.

I won’t spoil the results, so you’ll have to tune in to see – Wednesday 1st February, BBC 2 at 8pm.

At first I thought it would be quite nerve-wracking to be on film, knowing that it’s going to be viewed by potentially thousands of people, but actually that aspect of it feels so far removed at the time that I didn’t even think about it! Being filmed as part of a group also helped, not to mention the fact that the film crew was made up of only two people for the majority of the time.

It gave me a new perspective on TV shows in general and has really lead me to question the way some of my other favourite shows are filmed.

Overall, being part of BBC Trust Me I’m A Doctor was a fantastic experience that I would do again in an instant (depending on how tough the experiment is!). I was quite interested in health and well-being before taking part, but it has given me a renewed outlook on exercise and food in relation to living a healthy lifestyle.

And of course, I couldn't resist getting a shot with the man himself:

MeandMichael

 

Faculty Student Centre team building

  

📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

Faculty Programme Administrator, Kat Balyly, tells us about the outcomes of the undergraduate and postgraduate offices' team building day:


Last week, the Undergraduate Team and Graduate School took part in a team building day where we spoke about the new structure the teams will be moving in to.

As you may or may not know, the Undergraduate Team and Graduate School will be merging into one office which will be known as the Faculty Student Centre. The move will be taking place before the New Year.

Artist's impression of the 2 East Faculty Student Centre

Artist's impression of the 2 East Faculty Student Centre

So, preparing for this change in environment and responsibilities, we took the time out of our day to get to know each other a bit better.

Using a range of exercises, the facilitator allowed us to grow stronger as a team and we were all very pleased (and relieved!) to find out we’re all on the same page.

We were asked to explain what the aim of the new office was. We came up with the following statement:

“We support the academic process of the student journey from induction to graduation for the Faculty of Engineering & Design departments; Architecture & Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.”

In order to achieve this, we thought it was a good idea to list what we can help students and staff with.

The Faculty Student Centre will be able to help you with and will be responsible for:

  • Overseeing assessment set-up and creation
  • Contributing to user groups throughout the University
  • Information and support for students and staff
  • Overseeing the student life cycle
  • Data processing
  • Coursework hand-ins
  • Student progression
  • Committees and meetings
  • Timetabling
  • Raising casual worker contracts
  • Knowing and advising on NFAAR regulations
  • Transcript requests
  • Signposting to other services offered by the University

We can offer lots of support so the best thing to do is to come in and visit us to find out more.

The main message of the day was that we all want to work with trust and respect for each other. We want to do a good job to get students through the whole of their programme of study smoothly. And we also want to do this in a safe and diverse environment.

 

The Life of a Business Apprentice

  

📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

Hajraah Qureshi, Modern Apprentice (Administration), writes about her experiences this year and her plans for 2017:

Apprenticeships are government funded training programmes that combine job training with nationally recognised qualifications. It is an incredible opportunity to gain and develop skills, have a wide range of opportunities and you get paid whilst you learn!

I started my apprenticeship in Business Administration at an intermediate level in December 2015, after briefly starting my A levels. I have now been working at the University for just over ten months and it is safe to say that I have really enjoyed it. I have had the opportunity to move around different offices within the Faculty such as: finance, departmental offices, placements and marketing. By moving around, I have gained an understanding to how the Faculty links together and which offices integrate well with each other.

I have been able to increase and develop skills in daily administrative tasks such as recording customer information in Access for placement students and SAMIS for potential applicants, taking calls from students and academics, and providing accurate advice to problems that may occur in the workplace to my colleagues. I have been able to collate documents for reports, organise data and provide customer service to students.

My two greatest achievements, of which I am most proud of, is creating a social media training module and helping organise the Vice-Chancellor's visit to the Faculty. I made this learning tool for members of administrative staff who were uncomfortable or not confident with posting on social media. I planned and mind mapped what I wanted to include in the module on areas such as how to post on Facebook, how to effectively use Twitter, and tips on social media in general. I used software called Xerte and created different activities such as an annotated diagram, an interactive list and model answers with feedback.

For the Vice-Chancellor's visit I ordered the catering, sorted out the layout of the venue and informed colleagues of the plan of the day. I also had the chance to show the Vice-Chancellor my social media training module and she indicated that this was a good achievement.

I have been very fortunate as I have been offered to continue working at the University, doing an advanced apprenticeship, which means I will be able to study for an additional eighteen months. I hope to be able to continue providing support to my colleagues and gain more valuable experience.

 

Apprentice Technician: Everyday something new

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📥  Engineering & Design staff celebrating success, Engineering & Design staff experiences

Emma Walker, former Apprentice Mechanical Engineering Technician, has been nominated to receive the Building Services Construction & Engineering Work Place Learner of the Year Award. This award recognises the hard work, application and excellence in both her academic studies and technical ability throughout the final year of her apprenticeship. Emma writes about how she came to the University and what she has achieved here:

I spent 18 months doing work experience at Designability, where they introduced me to the engineering industry and encouraged me to pursue my career as an engineer by applying for an apprenticeship at the University of Bath.

Being an apprentice here at Bath has been an amazing learning experience for me because you never do the same job twice; everyday you’re doing something new. I loved getting involved in the teaching labs, where I would help and guide the first-year students through their time in our workshop. This greatly improved my skills in speaking to a large group of people, and pushed me to grow my social skills.

I’ve learned how to use machinery such as mills and lathes, laser cutters, and 3D printers. I also passed my forklift licence. I finished my apprenticeship six months earlier than planned, and from here I was given the opportunity to cover another unit in composites, where I was able to learn about carbon fibre and other materials, and working with the autoclave. Since finishing my apprenticeship I have gone down the composites route, so being able to cover the extra unit has benefitted me greatly.

I have been very lucky to have such a great support system here in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where everyone is happy to answer any questions I have and offer advice. My colleague Clare Ball gave me support to help me through my maths module and my Assessor, Rob Aldous, visited me at the University once a month. Rob always made sure I was being treated fairly and that I was getting the best experience out of my apprenticeship.

What I plan to do next is to broaden my knowledge within the work that takes place in the composites department. I want to learn more about the materials I will be working with and also learn about the maintenance work for the autoclave. In the future I want to look into doing a supervisory and management course, this will allow me to climb further up the career ladder and be able to offer more to this company.

An apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to start  your career, to learn new things every day and to get paid for it! However, an apprenticeship is not easy and is not something to take lightly, you have to work hard for the rewards an apprenticeship has to offer.

 

Handing over admissions

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📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences, Engineering & Design staff insight

During his time as Admissions Tutor, Dr John Chew has seen applications for Chemical Engineering increase by 50%. As he hands over the role, John shares his experiences with us:

I was the undergraduate Admissions Tutor (AT) for the Department of Chemical Engineering for three years from August 2013 to July 2016. When I applied to the position back in 2013, I knew the significance of this role to the Department and had some ideas of the implications and major challenges ahead. The level of excitement certainly outweighed my nervousness.

Sharing my subject

During my role as AT, I organised and ran Departmental Open Days and Headstart Courses. I always found running the Open Days a very interesting part of the job. I have a real passion for chemical engineering and get to share the subject and my personal experience with lots of bright, interested and engaged young people, helping them to make well-informed career decisions. In my subject talks, I discussed the range of courses we offer in the Department, how we run them differently compared to other Universities, and the excellent student support that the University has in place for undergraduates. It is not difficult to sell our courses, as Bath is consistently ranked one of the top universities in the UK.

Sorting through applications

Fortunately, I do not see every UCAS application. We receive more than a thousand applications and it would be impossible to deal with every one personally, especially as the 2015/16 recruitment cycle saw applications to Chemical Engineering at Bath increase by 50%. Applications are initially dealt with centrally by the Undergraduate Admissions Office. However, I sometimes see applications that are unusual, where non-standard qualifications have been taken or where special circumstances have affected an individual’s education. Not all undergraduate applicants are 18 year olds with A-levels and so I needed to be aware of the range of qualifications people take and how this affects their performance and standards.

Best bit:

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time as AT and I have learnt a tremendous amount. It was also great to feel so involved in the life of the Department.

The best (and most nerve-wracking) bit is speaking to hundreds of enthusiastic and intelligent young people and managing to convince them to come to Bath to study Chemical Engineering.

Worst bit:

I am not sure there is a worst bit, but certainly the most difficult situation is when I need to make final decisions about offers. There are always more excellent candidates than we have spaces for.

Advice for future Admissions Tutors:

Learn about the range of qualifications young people are taking and how this affects their performance and standards.

Enjoy and have fun!

 

Staff share experiences from the AUA annual conference 2016

  

📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

Those who attended the annual Association of University Administrators conference shared their experiences with other University of Bath staff members recently. Rosie Hart, Programmes officer, reports on the session:

We invited Association of University Administrators (AUA) members to a feedback celebration to hear from staff who attended the AUA Annual Conference 2016 in Leeds. More University of Bath staff attended this year's conference than ever before so AUA advocate, Iain Forster-Smith invited attendees to present on their experiences.

Iain Forster-Smith started the session by talking about a working group he attended by Edinburgh Napier University staff. The group had got him thinking about our processes at the University of Bath. They had brought in a business intelligence software that made it easier to analyse information they collect to plan for the future, based on evidence. He found their honesty refreshing as they shared their experiences about the stages of the process. They openly admitted that the period at the start had been 'chaotic' and only now were they at a 'stable' stage.

leeds

Angela Pater talked about her rewarding experience of presenting at the conference and encouraged others to consider it in the future.  Angela traveled to Poland on an AUA Study Tour in 2015, visiting universities across the country to find out about differences and similarities in their university systems.  Her session at the AUA conference showcased her group’s findings and experiences.  Interestingly, some Polish born Brits had attended and were able to provide more information and insight during discussions.

Rachel Acres had a very unique story of her time in Leeds.   Rather than seeing the trip as a break or an excuse to take it a little bit easier than usual, she went for an early morning run on the second day.  In a dramatic turn of events, Rachel fell and injured her ankle and ended up on crutches with not one, but two fractures!  Still, she soldiered on and was back at the conference the same day and attending working groups, presentations and social events.

Tom Bond opened up discussion on the Higher Education Landscape following the CMA’s published recommendations to the HE sector, which led to lots of lively discussion in the room.  Tom also spoke about being an AUA newbie and how he had enjoyed attending his first conference. He is already thinking about next year and how he will select his working groups differently without feeling the pressure to attend only sessions directly related to his current role.

Emotional intelligence and collaborative teamsCaroline Dangerfield talked about the value of attending AUA conferences, with 2016 being her third time.  She gained from the time away from the office to think creatively, discuss some big issues, and work on her own self development.  Her experience of networking and making contacts from other universities gave her a sense of pride in her profession and a reassuring feeling that we’re all in it together.  Her favourite working group was on Emotional Intelligence and Collaborative Teams. It focused on a greater understanding of the benefits of developing emotional intelligence in HE.

Rosie Hart spoke of her enjoyment of Ben Goldacre’s talk (creator of www.badscience.net).  The humorous and highly entertaining nature of his talk provided some light relief.  He talked about the various inanimate objects the Daily Mail claimed contributed to cancer. He highlighted discrepancies with some in the list also being cited as preventing cancer, such as coffee.  His mission is to move focus from sensationalist headlines to truth, evidence and real results.  Rosie recommended his Ted talk to all.

Last up was Rebekah Hole, who shared Caroline’s enjoyment of the Emotional Intelligence and Collaborative Teams working group.   Most of the attendees from Bath went to this session and there was unanimous agreement that this was a successful and useful session that could and should be explored further.  Rebekah found their breaking down of the categories of emotional intelligence (EI) interesting.  As a line manager, she found it a really valuable process to think about these different aspects, how they can help us consider the way we interact with others in the workplace and the importance of EI in making a team work well together.

Presentations were followed by a buffet, which gave members an opportunity to ask each other more in-depth questions and make plans for next year’s conference.

Iain Forster-Smith
Bath AUA Advocate
Engineering & Design
Angela Pater
Regional AUA Advocate
Office of University Secretary
Rachel Acres Humanities & Social Sciences
Tom Bond Engineering & Design
Caroline Dangerfield Vice-Chancellor’s Office
Rosie Hart Engineering & Design
Rebekah Hole Humanities & Social Sciences

If you would like to know more about the AUA and becoming a member, email aua@bath.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter @AUA_Bath.

 

New Head of Department for ACE

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📥  Engineering & Design staff celebrating success, Engineering & Design staff experiences, Engineering & Design staff new initiative

Professor Pete Walker, outgoing Head of Department, looks back at his time in the role:

The past three years have literally flown by. When I joined the University of Bath in 1998 I did not anticipate that one day I would be Head of Department. A little daunted at first by expectations and the track record of previous Heads, it has been a tremendous privilege to be Head of the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering.

In particular I have enjoyed working with a broader range of colleagues across the University, and getting to know our Department much better. Recruiting new staff and supporting colleagues through promotion and probation, and seeing them receive the rewards their hard work, talent and dedication deserve has been particularly satisfying.

Other highlights over the past three years have included our REF 2014 success (we were joint first in the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning unit of assessment), receiving our Athena SWAN bronze award, and seeing 4 East South open in readiness for the 2016-17 academic year.

Moving ahead I look forward to having fewer meetings in my Outlook Calendar, refocusing on taking forward the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, and more teaching.

 

Professor Stephen Emmitt, incoming Head of Department, looks forward to the next three years:

Taking on the role of Head of Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering in its 50th anniversary year is a great honour. The Department is the only joint Department in the UK, founded on the philosophy of integrated working. We have a fantastic research record (joint first in REF 2014) and perform wonderfully well in our taught architecture and civil engineering courses, consistently at the top of the league tables.

This has been achieved by a highly dedicated staff and clear direction from management over a long timeframe – excellence is deeply embedded within our Department’s collective DNA. I am keen to build on this expertise to further enhance the quality of everything we do, while also extending our international profile.

The mantra that ‘there is no room for complacency’ is ever present and taking on the leadership of such a high-performing Department is not without its challenges. We have major events on the horizon; the next REF, the new pressures to be imposed by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the ever-rising tide of metrics. These are challenges to be embraced while also contributing to the 50th anniversary celebrations. I relish the opportunity to be a part of our continuing success.

 

Women in Engineering

📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

To celebrate Women in Engineering Day, Dr Min Pan, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, shares her experiences of studying and working in engineering:

How will you be spending Women in Engineering Day?

I think I will spend the morning in the office doing some research and then go to the lab in the afternoon to carry out experimental work just like any other normal day. To me, women are always 'in engineering'.

What are the most rewarding parts of your role?

I enjoy doing my research work and supervising students’ projects. I get a great sense of satisfaction when I see my ideas work and my students make progress.

What have you learnt from your career so far?

Find something you enjoy and find role models who inspire you. I have found something I really enjoy and it’s such a privilege being able to make a living doing something you love. I also think it is very important to be creative and confident when you are doing research.

Why did you choose to study engineering?

My father is a Civil Engineer and he was a big influence on me. Growing up I was very proud to tell people that he designed bridges and buildings. He taught me basic maths and physics when I was young, which I then excelled at in school. However, when I came to apply for university I insisted that computer science was the right choice for me. I enjoyed using programmes to analyse practical problems, to design smart controllers and find solutions, not just for fun and solving puzzles! I then applied for an MSc programme in Mechanical Engineering followed by a PhD, which was in the same area.

What is the future like for women in engineering?

I believe there is a rosy future for women in engineering. More and more female students are starting to consider engineering courses, and universities generally have very good support groups/systems to help women build confidence and develop skills. Industry also now offers more opportunities to women in different sectors. If you are creative, engineering is something you should consider.

I think the key influencers of young people are their parents and teachers. We need to present engineering as enjoyable; there is still some work to do and improve, but the future is definitely bright!

 

Imagining research to engage communities

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📥  Engineering & Design staff celebrating success, Engineering & Design staff experiences

Ammar Azzouz, PhD student in the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, talks about this year's Images of Research competition and the importance of communicating our research to the wider community:

Images of Research takes place every year at the University of Bath and across several universities in the UK. It aims to communicate complex research ideas to the public and reinvent dialogues between different departments across the University.

The 50 images submitted this year illustrate the extraordinarily varied research undertaken at our University and present these using novel techniques ranging from sketching and hand-drawing to collage and photographs. They individually and collectively present some of the critical issues we are facing in our modern society including Alzheimer’s, aging, building materials, 3D-printing, scams, asylum seekers and racism.

My entry Hand Versus Machine? has been awarded the highly commended best image award. I was also one of only three postgraduates to be shortlisted for the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Public Engagement with Research. I am really honoured that my passion for sharing my research with the public has been acknowledged.

Engaging the public

I believe events like this are of vital importance in bridging the gap between researchers and the public. Academics have to be more engaged with the community and follow in the steps of artists. Henry Moore, one of the most influential British artists, for instance, pioneered the use of films and documentaries to share his art with the wider public through television. He created a new way of showing art and presented the uncertainty surrounding the process of creating sculptures in regards to form and material in his films. Researchers have to look for creative and innovative ways to empower people, by transferring their skills and knowledge to our community. By doing so, our research will not only be documented in conference and journal papers, but also be translated into engaging projects.

My 2015 Images of Research entry

Ammar's 2016 images of Research prize winning entry

Hand Versus Machine? - Ammar's 2016 Images of Research prize winning entry

My Hand Versus Machine? collage questions the tools and techniques that architects use to translate their ideas to real life. For most of our history architects have used traditional techniques to communicate their ideas such as, inking, hand-drawing and painting. These techniques are vanishing and being replaced by new emerging tools. Since the 1960s, architects have used computers to generate 2D drawings and 3D models to imagine the future of our built environment. These models are realistic, informative and engaging.

Nowadays digital models are becoming even more complex since they require 4D (time) and 5D (cost) to be attached to every element of the model. Despite these pioneering advances that technology has offered, we have to use it in a more efficient and intelligent way that will lead to a smarter built environment. So shall we use hands or machines to communicate ideas? Perhaps both at different stages of the project, but it is important to emphasise the way we use our hands and the way we use our machines.

Building the unbuildable, virtually - Ammar's 2015 Images of Research entry

Building the unbuildable, virtually - Ammar's 2015 Images of Research entry