Dr John Davies

Lecturer in Civil Engineering

Year of NTFS award: 2012

Institution at time of NTFS award: Coventry University

After graduating in civil engineering, I worked in the industry for eight years, becoming a Chartered Engineer. This was followed by 30 years as a full-time academic at the University of Westminster and Coventry University, where for nine years I was Head of Department of Built Environment, and also became Professor of Civil Engineering. I retired from full-time work in 2013. I am now at the University of Plymouth on a fractional (0.5) post as a Lecturer in Civil Engineering.

The claim featured initiatives aimed at improving the student experience especially through contacts with industry, including employability through employment. I expanded the year-out placement programme to offer opportunities for students of all years to apply to a programme of interviews with employers for vacation work, year-out placements or graduate jobs. At its best the system led to students developing a relationship with a particular employer throughout their studies, with sponsorship.

Supporting part-time students and using them as a resource - I led a number of projects funded by the National HE STEM programme to improve the experience of part-time (day-release) students and to allow full-time students to benefit from their contacts with industry. Part-time students (earning credits) typically provided experiences, including site visits, for full-time students and acted as mentors.

Course development - I significantly expanded the course portfolio at Coventry in response to industry need. I directly led the creation and development of:

  • MEng Civil Engineering
  • MSc Civil Engineering and MSc Civil and Structural Engineering
  • MSc Management for Construction
  • BEng Building Services Engineering.
and had a leadership role in the creation of:
  • MSc Building Surveying
  • BSc Quantity Surveying
  • BSc Architecture
  • BEng Structural Engineering with Architecture.

In 2019-2020 I completed 2 projects:

1. Representing the University of Plymouth, as a member of a group of 9 universities from the UK and Ireland Engineering Education Research Network working on a project for the Royal Academy of Engineering 'Are engineering educators fit for purpose?'. Total funding £40,000 with £3,500 coming to Plymouth.

2. Internal study: engaging with current students via focus groups to identify expectations, mismatches between learning styles and teaching styles, leading to publication: Davies J.W. and Hodgkinson L. (2019) Are our teaching approaches suited to the current generation of engineering students? 7th Annual Symposium, UK and Ireland Engineering Education Research Network, University of Warwick, December.


My pedagogic expertise: 

  • engineering education scholarship (I was editor of the HEA journal Engineering Education).