John .W. Davies Coventry University

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John .W. Davies Coventry University

John .W. Davies Coventry University

Professor John Davies

National Teaching Fellow 2012

After practising as a civil engineer for eight years and becoming a Chartered Engineer, Professor John Davies began his academic career at the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster) in 1980. He developed strong interests in urban drainage research and in teaching.

John moved to Coventry University in 1997 where he continued his research and his passionate interest in engineering education. He was Head of Department between 2001 and 2010.

John’s approach to supporting students’ learning in his main subject, civil engineering hydraulics, has been to aim for the understanding of basic principles in application. He uses realistic case studies as the basis for his teaching, so students understand the practical application of their learning. John also makes sure his students experience the complications seen in real-world civil engineering projects, especially where they reinforce their understanding of basic engineering principles.

His recent education work has consisted mainly of projects funded by the National HE STEM Programme relating to part-time students. One-third of Coventry’s undergraduate civil engineering students study on day release and work within the profession for the rest of the week – with their experience and workplace attitudes they are a valuable resource. One project has involved a scheme in which part-time students act as mentors to full-time students. Another has collected examples of effective practice in part-time delivery. A third has looked at how realistic project work at university is perceived by part-time students: is it really realistic, and is it still worthwhile for students with industry experience?

As well as an extensive range of academic papers on engineering education and on urban drainage, John has written two books, both currently in their third edition: Communication skills (Davies and Dunn) and Urban Drainage (Butler and Davies). He is editor of the Higher Education Academy journal, Engineering Education. John is also chair of EE2012, International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Coventry University, September 2012.