Meet your Head of School

Professor Nick Morton is Head of School of Engineering and the Built Environment. Learn more about his background and what he enjoys about working for the School and the University.

Meet your Head of School

What did you study at University? 

I’m a model case of how careers sometimes develop in ways you can’t predict! I studied a joint degree in Geography & Planning, which led me into the Planning side of the Built Environment.

How did you become the Head of School for Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University?

I’m actually in my second stint as Head of School, this time on a temporary basis because my main role is as Associate Dean for Student Learning Experience. I got to be Head by working my way up through various roles in the school.

What does your job involve? 

A little bit of everything really. From planning and resourcing the School and developing our courses, to helping build our research and industrial networks, and representing us in meetings inside and outside the University. Most importantly, ensuring the experience we provide our students is the best it possibly can be.

What’s your favourite thing about working for the School?

Undoubtedly, it’s working with our students – they never cease to inspire me with their fresh thinking and ideas for the future. 

What have been your career highlights so far? 

I’m very proud that I hold a couple of nationally-recognised titles and awards. I’m a National Teaching Fellow, which reflects the work I've done on developing innovative learning and teaching. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I’m also the European Director of a group called Associated Schools of Construction, which amongst other things helps organise international competitions in which our students compete. Finally, I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places with my job, from Hong Kong and Singapore to California and Las Vegas!

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What are your specialist areas? 

I’d describe my subject expertise as urban morphology – how places are shaped and changed – but since I’ve been Associate Dean I’ve spent most of my time working on ways to enhance student experience!

How would you describe the School of Engineering and the Built Environment? 

The School draws upon Birmingham's long history of ‘making and doing’, by which I mean finding innovative and creative solutions to challenges for the benefit of industry, society, and our environment. It's really exciting to work in a school that builds upon this tradition by using the best of modern tech and new thinking to develop the next generation of engineers and built environment professionals.

How would you describe your staff?

Our staff are our greatest asset. They work tirelessly to deliver our courses, while also doing everything else that helps ensure they’re relevant and cutting-edge – so that's developing world-class research for some, and working very closely with our industries for others.

What can new students most look forward to?

A warm welcome to the BCU community. We're very proud of some initiatives we’ve developed to help new students, for example our mobile app called University Assistant which helps students settle in. Plus, Birmingham is a great place to be a student!

How can they prepare for university now? 

One thing new students can do is download the University Assistant app, once they have a university email address confirmed. I recommend students do some general online research around their subject area. I also suggest students look for relevant work experience over the summer period.

Do you have any advice for working in the industry?

Our industries are always changing, and we’re always finding new ways of working more effectively and efficiently. The really exciting thing about our subjects is that technology is bringing so many new opportunities. The best advice I can give is to work hard, take every opportunity to learn what you can, and be flexible – because what you may be doing in your future jobs may not even have been thought of yet!

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