Who is Abel Nyamapfene?


ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-8976-6202

Some say that your first degree helps to define who you are. Assuming that this is correct, then I am an Electrical Engineer who is currently teaching in Higher Education. In my formative years I was a telecommunications specialist with responsibilities for installing and maintaining analogue, electromechanical telecommunication systems. My role was to keep the systems going, even when 95% of the equipment was past its service life – a good example of integrating Rhodesian sanctions-busting ingenuity and Zimbabwean “keep-it-going” Engineering logic.  In this role, I became an expert at substituting worn-out electromechanical systems with nifty analogue and digital electronics.

Then in the late 1990’s the academic bug caught me. I am passionate about Engineering, and I find fulfilment in enthusing, challenging and inspiring the next generation of Engineers. And yet, the Engineer in me still lives on. From designing and developing telecommunication systems, I have moved on to the redesign and engineering of engineering programmes. In the past eleven years I have managed and led engineering programmes at postgraduate and undergraduate level. I have led major curriculum review and development projects at three research intensive universities in the UK, namely the University of Exeter (2010-2013), the University of Bath (2013-2014), and UCL (2013 – present). A key aspect of my work has been the introduction of student-centred learning approaches, primarily centred around project-based and problem-based learning, as well as programme-wide implementation of technology enhanced learning.

And ever the teacher, I am now also focussing on imparting engineering education skills to others. In 2016 I led the design and implementation of the MSc Engineering and Education at UCL. The programme has two core modules, one of which is the Engineering Learning and Teaching module which has been inspired by my experiences in developing and supporting fellow engineering academics teaching on the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP), the UCL award-winning teaching framework that I co-founded and developed.

The MSc Engineering and Education is the first of its kind in the UK and it fills a void which has been left unaddressed for a long time. Engineering educators and trainers, especially at university level, tend to have extensive training in the technical and scientific aspects of engineering, normally involving education to masters and PhD level. However, training in engineering education tends to be informal, and the quality is variable. The MSc in Engineering and Education seeks to address this by providing The MSc will provide a formal channel for delivering education and training for engineering educators

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