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Personal profile

Approach to teaching

As a part-time academic juggling a professional career as an architect and small family, I find it both challenging and tremendously rewarding to throw myself into teaching and embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. One approach I consider fundamental is addressing students like adult people, colleagues in the learning journey, and part of a team in which I’m helping to guide people on a journey where my role is supporting and motivating people to do their best. This way, the approach is more about guiding but not spoon-feeding, encouraging and not dictating.

In working with all our Built Environment students, I explain processes and applications of building design and construction in a logical, practical sequence through real-world examples, explanation and live-sketching/drawing based on my 26-years’ architectural practice experience. Through sketching and diagramming, I try to bring students along with me in the explanation, engaging people with both active sketching and drawing plus descriptive explanation of rationales, approaches, systems, details, broader connections, applications and impacts concerning sustainability. Because I’ve had experience in implementing technologies and techniques we’re teaching on actual buildings and construction, I also explain practical tips-and-tricks for when students are ultimately employed in industry, and why they’re relevant and useful—why it matters—for each of our disciplines across AT, BS, QS, PM, and CM. To me, this means everyone can experience the curriculum in ways that are personally meaningful. There is nothing to compare the feeling of seeing the moment of inflection in a student’s face and eyes when they shift from being unclear to the moment of ‘getting it’ and understanding with clarity—priceless!

My lecturer’s role as mentor and senior ‘team-member/colleague’ to me means that I do my utmost to ensure I’m enthusiastically communicating my modules’ material in the most accessible way to students of varying abilities and language skills, whilst encouraging everyone to do their best, accepting that their efforts may not always be their best nor what they intended, but the best they could do in their circumstances, which are sometimes very difficult. The best way to explain is that I empathise and guide students. For many, university is a transformational experience and I see my role as helping everyone to transition from young adults in senior school to young professionals prepared for the workplace, consistently reminding them that’s our goal—nothing brings me greater satisfaction than my students getting good jobs in industry. Our graduate placement record I’m told is excellent.

Interpersonal communication, to me, is paramount: speaking clearly and politely, regularly asking for people’s questions, periodically asking if my explanations were sufficiently clear, encouraging students to think about what I’m teaching by asking pertinent questions about what I’ve said, giving them opportunities to speak to me before and after class, make appointments, responding to emails within 48hrs and providing courteous and helpful responses that encourage people to think and search out information too. Simply remembering students’ names seems to surprise them! Regular reinforcement, announcements, information through Student Central are also provided to ensure the flow of current information, where I’m always uploading slides in advance of lectures so students can print and annotate. Many seem to respond well to my enthusiasm, empathy, approach and commitment, with unsolicited student feedback consistently echoing sentiments ‘I wish we had this kind of help last semester/last year/the previous years’.

Originally, I was invited to teach during my PhD studies, now part-time and nearly complete, and because of the positive, unsolicited, and repeat feedback that the Built Environment Division continues receiving from students across all year-cohorts, I keep getting invited back to fill part-time temporary vacancies. It has meant the PhD has taken longer, but the opportunity to contribute to students’ futures was too good to miss.

Research interests

In addition to my experience as a senior design architect, manager, and lecturer, I am also an award-winning qualitative researcher in sustainability, human values, problem framing, and design decision processes, having won the RICS Best Sustainability Paper for my very first research contribution. I am interested in practice-led sustainability research, specifically interpersonal interrelationships in individual, project-based, and institutional contexts.

It is a strong and deeply held belief that by combining practice and research in architecture and sustainability, I can make the most impact in sustaining the planet for both human and non-human inhabitants. This extremely urgent and is of paramount importance considering the transgression of many planetary boundaries beyond their carrying capacity. .

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, School of Environment and Technology

Jan 2014 → …


Sep 1999Nov 2001


Jun 1989May 1995

Master, University of Exeter

Sep 2012May 2013

Master, Arizona State University

Jun 1995Sep 1995

External positions

Committee Member

2015 → …

Senior Architect

Mar 2013 → …


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Communication
  • Framing
  • Decision science
  • Choice Architecture
  • NA Architecture
  • Sustainability
  • Design
  • Technology
  • Construction
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • Philosophical Logic
  • Epistemology
  • Ontology
  • Metaphysics
  • BF Psychology
  • Values

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2015 2015

  • 2 Abstract
  • 1 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 1 Paper

Human values and problem framing as influential heuristics in sustainable design decision processes

Kulczak-Dawkins, R., Piroozfar, P. & Harder, M. K., 11 Jun 2015.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review

decision process
construction industry

Managing sustainability: Values and frames influences in design decision processes

Kulczak-Dawkins, R., Piroozfar, P. & Harder, M. K., Jul 2015.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review

Sustainable development
Decision making
Construction industry

Managing sustainability through decision processes: the influence of values and frames

Kulczak, R., Piroozfar, A. & Harder, M., 9 Sep 2015, Proceedings of 31st Annual ARCOM Conference. Lincoln, UK, p. 437-446 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

Open Access
decision making
construction industry
decision process

Psychosocial influences in design for sustainability: values and frames in the built environment

Kulczak-Dawkins, R., Piroozfar, P. & Harder, M. K., 4 Nov 2015.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Environment Design
Sustainable development

Activities 1997 2018

  • 3 Membership of professional body
  • 2 Conference
  • 1 Taught course
  • 1 Personal board membership of professional/academic bodies

RIBA Part 2 Postgraduate Dissertation Supervisor

Richard Kulczak-Dawkins (Supervisor)
Jan 2018Jun 2018

Activity: External examination and supervisionTaught course

Interfacing High-end Research with the Construction Industry

Richard Kulczak-Dawkins (Organiser)
16 Nov 2016

Activity: EventsConference

Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (External organisation)

Richard Kulczak-Dawkins (Member)
2015 → …

Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesMembership of professional body

Constructing Excellence, Sussex (External organisation)

Richard Kulczak-Dawkins (Member)
2015 → …

Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesPersonal board membership of professional/academic bodies

Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption: Accelerating Transitions to Equitable and Sustainable Societies

Richard Kulczak-Dawkins (Participant)
1 Nov 20155 Nov 2015

Activity: EventsConference