Hannah Wood is a Principal Lecturer in the built environment subject area, focusing specifically on construction and project management. Hannah’s experience in the construction industry began in topographical surveying, moving into construction engineering and management.
My career path and journey to teaching
My interest in engineering and construction goes back to my childhood, my father was a topographical surveyor and I used to spend a lot of my school holidays accompanying him to work which I always enjoyed. Initially I was planning on studying to be a civil engineer, but after attending some university open days and finding out more about the industry I decided that Construction Management would be the best fit for me.
I grew up just outside of Brighton and have always loved the city, so much so that I did both my undergraduate degree and PhD here at the University of Brighton. Brighton is an amazing city to be a student, it is a vibrant, diverse and inclusive city and has something to offer everyone. Teaching was never something I had really considered before doing my PhD, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach alongside my PhD studies and this is when academia became my primary career objective. As much as I had loved working out on construction sites, I found teaching to be just as interesting and challenging and equally satisfying when you can see the progress that your students have made.
How my professional life provides the backdrop to teaching
I try to include as many real life projects and examples in my teaching to help student understand how things happen in the industry. My modules also involved lots of practical work so that students can apply the knowledge from lectures into practice to help them deepen their understanding of concepts. Drawing on my research and experience in industry allows me to broaden students’ horizons by providing them with lots of different examples which demonstrate how diverse and exciting the construction industry can be.
Achieving my PhD alongside teaching part time is one of my proudest achievements personally. In my career overall I am probably most proud of the success our students go on to have. Seeing students graduate after three of four years of hard work is a great moment and it is always mice when graduates keep in touch and update us with what they are working on now – to have been a part of their career journey is great feeling.
The built environment is really important in addressing global challenges
We spend so much of our time in buildings and therefore they have a huge impact on how we live. Buildings play a role in many aspects including climate change and sustainability, equality and inclusivity and wellbeing of users and occupants.
One of my research interests is specifically around inclusivity and diversity in the construction industry and involves investigating the experiences of women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds in the construction industry in order to increase representation of these groups at all levels in the industry. I am also passionate about encouraging more young people to consider the construction industry as a career option. My research interests also cover new technologies in the construction industry and how they can be applied, many of which can be used to make construction more sustainable.
Advice I would give to prospective students
I always tell prospective students to consider the whole University experience, obviously the course is a major aspect of your university life but being somewhere that you feel comfortable and happy is just as important. Make sure you get involved with clubs/societies or other social activities to keep a good work life balance!
What I love most about teaching
One of my favourite things about teaching is seeing the development and improvement in a students confidence and ability, it is a very rewarding part of the job of an academic. Students are supported in so many ways at university, not just in their academic life but in many different aspects. In my role as a lecturer I support students through their academic work and am always happy to spend time with students if they are struggling with any of the course materials.