27 Aug 2018
This month, we catch up with Konstantin Shukhmin, a senior academic at Toi Ohomai, the polytechnic based in Tauranga. Konstantin delivers electrical and electronic programmes and is an active Member of Engineering New Zealand.
What is your role at Toi Ohomai?
I have been working at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (formerly known as the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic) for the last five years. Initially as an academic staff member and now as senior academic staff member delivering level 5 and 6 subjects of NZDE Electrical and Electronics programmes.
Why are you a member of Engineering New Zealand?
While working in the education sector and only liaising with the engineering industry, it has been always challenging to keep up to date with rapid changes in modern engineering. And when Engineering New Zealand enabled academics to become members, my colleagues and I have embraced this opportunity for this very reason – to maintain our currency.
What is the best thing about teaching engineering?
The best thing about any teaching is getting positive feedback from your students, seeing their growth and improvements. And teaching something that you did all your engineering career is even better because these are the subjects you like and understand well. Therefore, you have a practical explanation for each topic and can motivate learners by explaining future applications of their knowledge.
How do you keep up to date with the latest engineering developments?
I am a member of the related IEEE societies and regularly receive their magazines and attend seminars. As soon as I became aware about AAEE I have joined the association, which has a similar purpose to IEEE. I have also attended field trips with Engineering New Zealand visiting the power stations in the region. Via my own industry engagements, my students and I visited sites in the region and I am constantly supervising industry-based student projects.
How do you get involved with Engineering New Zealand as an academic?
I have attended the industry, tutors and students Forum in November 2017 at Victoria University, twice assisted with the speed interviews and for the second year I have been working at the New Zealand Board for Engineering Diplomas Quality Assurance and Management committees.
As an academic, do you make and maintain links with industry?
Throughout my previous employment and contracting, I have secured relationships with engineers and managers in the region, which I keep maintaining today. Some of these linkages have resulted in great industry-based projects for my students and consequently scholarship and employment for some of them. Now my graduates who employed in the industry are keeping in touch and offering project topics and employments for NZDE graduates.
What are you doing with AAEE?
I have visited two AAEE conferences in 2016 and 2017. In the 2016 conference I attended a workshop dedicated to problem-solving techniques and was inspired and encouraged by a professor from RMIT to introduce such techniques to my NZDE students. First trial, surveys and their analysis resulted in a collaborative article and presentation at the conference in 2017. There was another article with several international co-authors accepted for the 2018 conference in Strasburg and we are currently working on another one for the December 2018 conference. The latest work is dedicated to introducing problem-solving assignments into the NZDE capstone project.
What do you do in your spare time?
I wish I had more of it. I love my hobby trains that I have been collecting for almost 40 years, which is probably influenced my enrolment to a railway university in Russia. My wife and I love New Zealand outdoors, walking, surfing, bird watching and travel.