I have not been trained to teach. However, I teach, and I have been an architect-educator at the University of Portsmouth (UoP) for nearly twenty years. Is my situation anomalous in architectural education (AE)? The answer is, “No”. This situation is not unusual in AE, in fact it is the norm. “It is customary amongst practising architects to assume that those who have achieved some degree of experience are somehow automatically equipped to teach.” (Rhowbotham, 1995, p. 12). Initially, I expressed an interest to my former tutors to review the work of undergraduate students for one-off, day-long studio assessments, known traditionally as the ‘Crit’ while I was practicing as an architect in the public sector. Almost two decades later, I have transitioned from being a guest of PSA, to being a full-time member of staff who sits on the School Executive Group, where I helped to make decisions which guided the future of the Department. In this time, I have learned how to teach through my own experiences of being taught, observation, intuition, reflection and from being mentored by colleagues. “Yet none of them is trained to be a teacher. Once upon a time they could perhaps have relied on memories of their own education, in which however hit-and-miss the tutoring, the student was carried along by the traditional design project” (Weaver et al., 2000, p. 267). As Weaver et al. (2000) suggests, this situation needs to change because, “there has been increased pressure to account for the quality of provision and a move to professionalise teaching” (p. 268). This piece of reflective writing recounts my own personal journey that has led me to become a full-time architect-teacher, the pitfalls, and advantages that I have experienced along the way and the potentials for improving how teachers in AE are taught.
As the Associate Dean (Global Engagement & Education Partnerships) for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth, I lead, develop and drive our global engagement strategies and operational plans to build on current successes by identifying new opportunities for strategic developments including; international recruitment and exchange, international student experience, transnational education arrangements and global research and innovation initiatives. Additionally, I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and an Architect (RIBA, ARB). In October 2020 I commenced a Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) taught at the University of Portsmouth School of Education and Sociology. My research focuses on teaching and learning in Architectural Education. As part of my global engagement role, I am the Programme Coordinator for 3 x University of Portsmouth Undergraduate Transnational Education (TNE) Top-up Degree Courses (Fashion & Textile Design, Graphic Design and Interior Architecture & Design), with our Collaborative Partner Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE) in Hong Kong (HK). This role provides me with the opportunity to collaborate on projects within the rich context of HK, working in partnership with CIHE staff and students.