TeachingStatementTeaching is one of themain competences that a scholar must have. During my PhD study, I realized thatteaching is very important to me.
I startedtutorial work with my supervisor for both undergraduate and postgraduatemodules at the University of Nottingham. I recognized that teaching requires beingscholar in teaching as much as one in construction management. When I moved to work at Damascus Universityand partially for some private universities, this motivated me to deal withteaching not only as passing knowledge and instructions, but widening students’horizons, teaching them critical thinking, unsettling their minds toquestioning and motivating them to see the big picture for any issue. During my work atDamascus University and other private universities in Syria, I taught modulesrelated to ‘Engineering Economy’, ‘Construction Project Management’ and’Quantity Surveying and Cost Estimating’ for undergraduate students. Real worldproblems were designed and presented to students to perform their assignmentson closely realistic problems. For postgraduate modules, I taught severaltopics such as ‘Economics and Legal Aspects for Engineers’, ‘Risk Management’and ‘Procurement Methods’. The assessment for these modules was based oncontinuous assessment (i.e.
essay or technical reports), and final unseenwritten exam. Also, I designed a module ‘Special Topics in Construction’ andstudents were asked to present two papers, first one is a critical literaturereview for a specific topic, and the second one is about problem formulationand research design for a topic. At Caledonian College ofEngineering (CCE) in Oman which is affiliated to (Glasgow Caledonian Universityin UK), I am involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. I taught ‘Construction Technology’ and’Construction Process Management’ for undergraduates.
However, I am moreinvolved in delivering postgraduate modules through cooperation with academicstaff from Glasgow Caledonian University, who come to deliver intensiveteaching weeks and then I teach and support MSc students for the rest of thesemester. I am involved in delivering the following modules: ‘ConstructionManagement’, ‘Project Management’, ‘Construction Economics and Procurement’,’Construction Financial Management’, ‘Sustainable Design and Construction’,’Value and Risk Management’ and ‘Strategic Management in Construction andProperty Enterprise’. MSc Students are assessed continuously based on analyzingand evaluating industry-based cases, technical report, discussion boards andonline tests.
Since most of our MSc students are working forvarious types of organizations, either public or private including clients,consultants and contractors firms; their experiences make the lectures are moreinteractive and fruitful because they bring many real world problems todiscussion and investigation. Always, I seek students’ feedback about myteaching approaches which in turn can be considered as great inputs to validateand improve my teaching strategies. Furthermore, I am using research findingsand outcomes to enhance and modernize teaching and learning outcomes. ResearchStatementTo me, research is adynamic process where some certain areas of research become more noticeable,while others receive less concerns. During my PhD study in theUniversity of Nottingham, UK, my thesis title was: ‘A system approach tomodelling construction company performance: Economics and Beyond’.
Investigating this topic required from me to obtain a wide knowledge aboutseveral interrelated topics in the field of construction management, such asconstruction business environment and its relation to the economy, performancemeasurement at various levels of the construction industry, and constructioncompany strategies. Additionally, theconcept of systems theory is required to understand and model interactions existbetween various aspects of the studied problem. Undoubtedly, this gave me the opportunity to strengthen my researchskills as well as obtaining a wide knowledge on other hot research topics inthe field. During my work atDamascus University as an assistant professor, I supervised several MScdissertations in several areas.
Examples of these are: construction riskmanagement, human resource management in construction, cost of constructionquality, building information modeling (BIM) with project planning, andcritical success factors of public private partnership and procurementstrategies. Always I encouraged my students to search and share ideas withothers, which in turn helps in research process. Six journal papers werepublished based on these studies locally and regionally in both Arabic andEnglish languages.
Three of these paperswere in the area of risk management. Additionally, since thetopic BIM has been very hot topic over the last decade, I explored itsimplementation in the Syrian construction industry and published a paper aboutthe barriers facing its adoption in Syria. Also, since 2011, Syria is facing acontinuous war which destroyed a large number of building and infrastructures;this has created the need to investigate and conduct studies on various aspectsof reconstruction stage. I published one paper on the risk factors facingreconstruction projects. Also, I was involved within a team who was responsibleto develop strategies for all aspects of the construction industry inSyria. When I joined CaledonianCollege of Engineering in Oman, I mainly involved in MSc teaching, andcurrently I am supervising more than 9 MSc dissertations that cover severaltopics in the field of construction management. Topics cover construction accidents, delay causes, risks management, sustainabilityin construction, Building Information Modelling.
Also, due to the dramaticdecline of oil prices since 2014, oil-based economies have been affected by thedecrease of oil revenues which in turn affect government spending. Currently, I am writing a paper on theeffects of oil prices decline on construction cost in Oman. Also, I am workingon establishing some relations with the local and international industriesespecially through workshops and engaging industrial guests and professionalsto share their experience with the college.My future research planis to continue to conduct research though various tracks including, personalresearch, shared research with research students and colleagues, and fundingresearch projects. Potential areasinclude Circular Economy and the Built Environment, Building InformationModelling, Post-disaster Reconstruction, and Interdisciplinary research.Finally, I can say that Iam very proud of what I have been able to accomplish during the last few yearseven with all difficult, dangerous and complicated circumstances surrounding meand my family in Syria. I understand that I need to, and I will, enhance myresearch achievement through conducting more research and obtaining moreresearch grants.
This of course requiresstable and continuous work conditions. Ibelieve that I am on the right track to achieve my research goals andcontribute to the knowledge of construction management. I also believe that Iwill use my research findings as inputs to my teaching. This is why I amlooking forward to being a part of the University of Cambridge.