Enhancing academic currency by the ‘Visiting Lecturer’ programme
Are we educators or trainers?
In our programmes in the Faculties of the Built Environment and Engineering we are primarily preparing our students for the job, but we do also, I believe, to some extent at least, ‘educate them for life’. As we become more mature our interest in ‘life’ tends to grow as our interest in the ‘job’ wanes. We should, I believe, have a (compulsory) Module: ‘Professional and Business Ethics’ in the final year of our degree programmes; because we should be engaged in an ongoing debate with students on what constitutes ‘good’ as opposed to ‘bad’ business practices.
The library – a place to reflect
To stay interested and on top of his subject the lecturer needs constant ‘refreshments’. At the beginning of my lecturing career in building and management subjects, text books were important in guiding me into proper qualitative and quantitative academic approaches, and learning about various schools of thought and theories. I soon began to realise the value of the other resources in the library.
‘Reading makes us erudite’, Jack Carney (a colleague and architect) said to me at the time. There is no doubt that the busy – yet quiet – college library is a wonderful place. For the student and lecturer, the daily papers and magazines, the journal articles and textbooks are essential to bring ‘quality’ to our studies. In this space we add to our knowledge of life itself, of the sciences of materials, design and analysis, construction technology and aesthetics, project viability and function, administration and management.
We lecturing staff – teachers and researchers – must keep informed of theory and also continue to maintain our strong links with business, industry and other parts of the public service.