Having originally studied electronics, I decided that the built environment - and civil engineering in particular - were the best fit for me. Now I teach the engineers of the future.
As a senior lecturer in civil engineering and specialist structural engineer, I teach on a number of different undergraduate and MSc modules including Structural Analysis, Design Technology and Conceptual Design. I am course leader for BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering and I also supervise PhD research students.
I have significant experience from working in industry so I try to incorporate aspects of this into my teaching. The aim is to help our students to gain a better understanding of the academic subject matter by using real-world examples, as well as developing the skills and understanding that are relevant to a career in industry.
There is a practical, project-based approach to civil engineering at ARU. This is a recent development and is different to many other civil engineering courses. Our approach is enhanced via strong employer engagement; learning at ARU focuses on those aspects of the subject which are required to become a successful practising engineer.
The construction industry needs graduates that want to learn and develop throughout their future career. One example of how I hope to empower students is to give them opportunities to gain a good fundamental knowledge and understanding of the subject. Another is by instilling confidence in their knowledge and understanding – hus engendering the attitudes and skills that are required for long-term, independent self-development.
There's a wide range of administrative duties that I undertake to support students and my School, the School of Engineering and the Built Environment. These include organising a week-long construction field trip for level 4 students.
I'm also committed to making progress on my research topics, including implementing circular economy strategies within UK construction.
There are undoubtedly a few challenges inherent in the course leader/lecturer role, from finding a good balance between administration and teaching, to incorporating a range of active learning styles into my teaching.
But there are many staff development opportunities, and the best aspect of the job is the people that we get to work with – that is, our students, staff and the wider academic community.
My two main reasons for choosing ARU were the staff in the civil engineering team here, who are friendly and enthusiastic, and the inclusive approach to civil engineering student recruitment that is taken at ARU.
Reuben teaches civil engineering at ARU: find out more about our undergraduate engineering courses.