As a Principal Lecturer my role encompasses leadership on mechanical engineering course pathways, and research and development on a range of sustainable energy technologies.
My career path and route to teaching
I have always had a keen interest in sustainable technologies in energy recovery, energy storage and sustainable transport. I joined our internationally-recognised research group, the Advanced Engineering Centre at Brighton, to undertake my PhD in thermal engineering themed research. For this I received institutional award of ‘Best Presentation in the Faculty 2013’ and a further ‘Best Presentation in the Faculty 2014’. I was drawn to innovative approaches in practice-based teaching in engineering, with the aim to develop cross disciplined, multi-skilled and solution focused engineering graduates through ingrained fundamental principles.
How my professional life influences my teaching
I have 14 years research and development experience in energy engineering, via simulation and experimental methods applied to transport and stationary applications. I have gained this through successful industry-focused large and small projects, these include, ‘Libertine waste heat recovery unit via Innovate UK 2016’ to ‘Engine efficiency challenge via Advanced Propulsion Centre 2018′.
To integrate my professional experience with teaching opportunities, I founded the STEP Lab (Sustainable Technology and Engineering Projects) in 2020. This offers a multi-disciplinary project-based environment, in a tutor-student collaboration, and has embedded the employability advantages on our engineering courses. During 2020-22, over 50 masters, bachelors, internships and shadowing students have completed authentic engineering experience via real-world industrial projects.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy which has allowed me to lead the implementation of comprehensive changes on our largest practice and skills module in 2022, resulting in significantly enriched student experience. I have developed, managed and delivered our course portfolio, which is accredited (gold standard) by professional engineering bodies. I was awarded the ‘Inclusive Teaching Award 2017’, followed by the ‘Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award 2018’ and a further ‘Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award 2019’, all recognising my contributions in improving student engagement and achievement in engineering education at the institutional level.
How the subject addresses global challenges
To align with the emerging industrial skills and demands, the STEP Lab offers students at all levels of studies to problem-solve energy challenges in heating, cooling, power and energy conversion. To pave the way from the theoretical concepts to practical engineering for diverse and large cohorts I have implemented various methods in my practice, these include: problem-based learning; reverse engineering; puzzle-based learning; real-world case studies; practice-based learning; feedforward plans; peer-based learning; and simulators as virtual training tools.
We pride ourselves in offering an authentic engineering experience
At Brighton, we use a variety of teaching and learning methods. You will see me delivering courses in interactive and group learning sessions via, modern case studies, inspirational guest talks, reverse engineering, projects, and personal academic tutor group challenges, in a new approach to embed practice and skills in our courses.
From year one these sessions and their activities range from 30 min (sustainable engineering challenge ideas), to two hours (writing engineering code of conduct), to one day (small robot competition), to one week (creation of feedforward plans), to four weeks (rocket car challenge), to finally a 12-week Engineers Without Borders project.
We support you to reach your potential
Our courses are multi-disciplinary and combine theoretical, analytical, computational and practical activities and have accreditation from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. We have stepped up to the challenge of developing and implementing a range of active teaching approaches and learning opportunities for our aeronautical, automotive, design, electrical and mechanical engineering students.
For example, during year one you will use laboratories in automotive simulator for telemetry, wind tunnel for aerofoil measurement, and the aircraft simulator for flight control, engine testing for energy balance etc. This is all part of our forward-thinking ‘Energy Systems’ subject area, where there will be a range of problem formats during the sessions, these will include numerical, descriptive, conceptual, diagrammatic, graphical, practical and diagnostic.
Finally, we are proud of the success of our students through collaborative real-world projects. My colleague, Dr. Nicolas Miche, supported students in the highly selective European Space Agency competition, to build and test an experiment for a CubeSat micro-satellite on the parabolic flight. More recently, supported by my colleague Dr. Steven Begg, our university students not only successfully completed, but also won an award in the London-to-Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally 2022.