A professor of civil engineering at Coventry University has won an award as part of the 2012 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS).
Professor John Davies was awarded the accolade – which recognises excellence in learning and teaching – by the Higher Education Academy. The award is open to all higher education institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
After practising as a civil engineer for eight years and becoming a Chartered Engineer, Professor Davies began his academic career at the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster) in 1980. He moved to Coventry University in 1997 where he continued his research and pursued his passionate interest in engineering education. Between 2001 and 2010 he was head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Building.
John’s approach to supporting students’ learning in his main subject, civil engineering hydraulics, is to focus on helping them understand how to apply their skills in a working environment. By using realistic case studies as the basis for his teaching, students are able to better understand the practical application of their learning. John also makes sure his students experience the complications seen in real-world projects, especially those which reinforce their understanding of basic engineering principles.
His recent education work has focused on projects which are funded by the National HE STEM Programme and which relate to part-time students, as a third of the University’s civil engineering undergraduates study on day release from work. One project has involved a scheme by which part-time students act as mentors to full-time students, while another has collected examples of effective practice in part-time delivery.
Professor Davies said: “It’s really great to have won this award. I love working with students and I also value the opportunity to work with staff to enhance the experience for students. The NTFS recognises all aspects of what I’ve been trying to do, and that is particularly rewarding.”
The NTFS aims to raise the profile of learning and teaching in the higher education sector and to make a positive impact on student learning. A number of awards – each of which are worth £10,000 – are made each year to recognise individual excellence and are intended for Fellows’ professional development in teaching.