Architecture, learning, and travelling in Europe — these are some of my passions. I loved these so much that I went back to school in 2006 to get a PhD. I wanted to build new skill in research on educational topics and equip myself for research fellowships in Europe.
After earning a doctorate in 2010, I applied straight away for a Fulbright fellowship. My second application was successful (the lesson here is to persevere!) and I headed to Dublin for academic year 2012-13. My employer, Hampton University, provided me a sabbatical for the year.
When I returned to Hampton the following year, the university graciously elevated my rank to full Professor and also gave their blessing when I secured another grant — a Marie Curie individual fellowship — to return to Dublin in 2014.
Following that two-year Marie Curie fellowship, Dublin Institute of Technology hired me as a permanent, full-time Lecturer, working in its School of Multidisciplinary Studies. In this job, I’ve been teaching drawing and design projects for undergrad engineering students, Building Information Modeling modules for post-grad students, and the occasional architecture module. I’m helping establish collaborative, multidisciplinary activities that bring students from a wide range of engineering and architecture studies together and I really enjoy this aspect of the job.
The School at DIT welcomed me with open arms, but its leaders also responded positively when I was offered a brand new fellowship. They helped me arrange a Career Break so I can come back to this fabulous job when the new fellowship ends.
So, now I’m in London, working as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at University College London (UCL) — one of the world’s top-ranking institutions and the first institution of higher education that enrolled women on equal standing with men, starting back in 1878. Considering that admitting women at all wasn’t common in Virginia until 1965 (Virginia Tech) to 1970 (UVA), I hold UCL’s history in high regard.
Here, I’m part of UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education (sitting just outside the office door of the Dean of Engineering!) and I am researching women’s experiences in engineering education, currently with a focus on the experiences of women from the Middle East.
“UCL, the first university established in England after Oxford and Cambridge, was founded to provide academic opportunities to non-Anglicans and placed no restrictions on race, class or religion of its students. In 1878, it also became the first British university to admit women on equal terms to men.”(http://www.ucl.ac.uk/economics/about/history)
I’m working with some amazing educators here at in the Centre — including Prof. Nick Tyler, Prof. John Mitchell, Mrs. Emanuela Tilley, and Dr. Inês Direito. A project I’ll do with assistance from these colleagues will identify outcomes of UCL Engineering’s innovative teaching methods. I’ll be comparing experiences of graduates from three types of programs: (1) UCL’s scenarios-based engineering education, (2) architecture, and (3) a traditional engineering program. In this, I intend to study students’ development and how the way they conceptualize knowledge changes over time.
Prof. Shannon Chance holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from William and Mary University and was formerly a Professor of Architecture at Hampton University. She is a licensed architect with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Architecture from Virginia Tech. Her teaching areas include architecture and urban design, multi-disciplinary engineering design projects, environmental sustainability, Building Information Modeling, and educational planning.