Four-Year Flashback: Proudest Achievements

I haven’t been blogging much during the pandemic, as I spend far too many hours sitting in front of a computer monitor for things that must be done. Hours for hobbies like blogging just weren’t available – my eyes and thighs couldn’t take more. Moreover, since I posted advice and examples of Marie Curie final reports and applications there has been a deluge of visitors to those pages and posting more would cause those visitors confusion.

But, the traffic slowed down this year after the 2021 deadline for applications. You can see the cliff edge, where traffic dropped off, in the image to the left, below. These web materials were heavily visited in 2020 as well as 2021, as shown to the right, and I anticipate MSCA applicants will return for the 2022 application cycle.

In any case, I’m delighted with having over nine thousand visitors this year!

Most visitors came from my home (USA) and host (Ireland and the UK) countries, but I also reached people far away!

It’s time to update you! And, as I’m currently preparing to put my best foot forward in a local interview, it’s also a good time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished in the past four years:

  • Marie Curie Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at UCL
  • Programme Chair for the TU Dublin’s BSc (Honours) in BIM (Digital Construction)
  • Governing Body member and Chair of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN)
  • Guest editor for three special focus journal issues
  • Journal Associate Editor, Editorial Board member, and mentor for new reviewers
  • Author of multiple publications, having collected data for additional new publications as well
  • International speaker and workshop coordinator
  • Licensed Architect with up to date CPD
  • Supervisor and mentor for emerging researchers, appointed Senior Fellow of the (UK) Higher Education Academy
  • Blogger sharing examples to build human capacity in research and research-informed teaching
  • Manager of a portfolio of funded projects

In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about the first two items. Hopefully, I can detail other items in subsequent posts — so examples are fresh in my mind come interview time!

After successfully completing a two-year Marie Cure individual fellowship at UCL, I returned to Dublin, but I have kept my networks and collaborative activities at UCL going strong. The fellowship opened so many new doors for me — it exposed a new world of opportunities. My host institution, a global powerhouse in research and in engineering education as well as architecture education, provided an ideal place to grow new knowledge and skills. The fellowship’s generous training/travel budget, plus the exciting assignments UCL sent me on (e.g., leading two Master Classes in South Africa), helped extend my network into many new regions. Even today, nearly two years after leaving the UCL campus, I work daily with my UCL colleagues. As Visiting Professor, I attend online lectures and research sessions, provide leadership on research and gender issues, and engage in collaborative projects. Today, UCL Consultants pays half my salary, straight to TU Dublin, to provide me time to develop curricular materials for a brand-new degree programme in Architectural Engineering. This curriculum development work has been challenging, but also incredibly interesting and rewarding.

Just a month after returning to Dublin and just a month before the pandemic came crashing in, I accepted the role of Programme Chair for TU Dublin’s BSc (Honours) in BIM (Digital Construction) and launched that programme. I had an amazing Dean, but the two layers of supervisors between the Dean and me (as Programme Chair) were vacant for over half a year and so I learned quite a range of new skills. As my new line manager pointed out to me yesterday, I left my own personal stamp on the programme as it developed. Thankfully, he described this as a positive! Developing the structure and content of the “Research Methods” and “Work-Based Learning” modules for this BSc has been particularly rewarding. The “Honours” part of the programme name indicates that the students must complete a research thesis to graduate, and we’ve done an impressive job guiding the students to topics where doing research will benefit them, their careers, and the organizations where they work. We graduated our first cohort and have a second nearing completion. The tough part of this role, for me, is keeping up with technologies and standards that evolve so fast.

In upcoming posts, I look forward to reflecting on REEN, journal, and mentoring work. But for now, I’d better get back to my “To Do” list!

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