Teach your students to the fullest of your knowledge. You are a truth teller. They are your truth seekers.

PhD Research

It is an avenue that creates opportunities for experimentation at the intersections of more than one disciplines. In the study of garden as restorative environment for hospitalized children, I ventured into the disciplines of pediatric nursing, pediatric psychology, childhood cognitive functioning, health care management, hospital architecture and environmental psychology. All these are placed at the intersection and I linked them to my field, landscape architecture.

Postgraduate Supervision

My experience on postgraduate supervision since 2007, teaches me that PhD and masters candidates view me as a teacher. To them, a teacher possesses three qualities: RESOURCEFULNESS, ACCESSIBLE, RECEPTIVE and PREDICTABLE.

PhD Journey

It is a journey of a scholar-in-the-making. Initially, it involves reviewing the findings of the relevant past studies. It is an intellectual path to discover new thing in a subject of your interest. For Dr Nor Zalina (2012), an associate professor at UKM, her discovery on the role of Padang as a public, open space that deserved to be conserved according to the values of its patron; the locals that regularly visited the fields such as Padang Pahlawan and Padang Kota Lama. Her finding is in contrast to the municipality practice on conservation of heritage buildings.

You will encounter many sweets as well as hiccups experiencing the scholarly journey. Able to construct a theoretical framework at end of your first semester (but most likely in second semester) is a pleasant feeling i.e. a reward. Your journey is progressing well. Making new friends when you attended conferences and colloquium is another sweet. You are establishing your network. People begin to know who you are in the scholar arena. Receiving a notification that a journal editor accepted your paper for publication is a mark of recognition of your intellectualism. Receiving a nod from your supervisor that your thesis is ready for submission to the Graduate School is a relief. Passing the viva voce is a fascination. Simply sweet. Mummy its over.

On the other hand, sometimes, you may encounter unpleasant incidences. You set an appointment to discuss your work with your supervisor but he cancelled it in the last minute. Your supervisor is a super duper busy professor; you can hardly see him once a month, let alone every week. You get sick in the midst preparing your research proposal. You failed to borrow a Pitot tube from a laboratory to measure the pressure difference in your experiment is a heartbreaking incidence. This happened to one of my students. You lost your pen-drive and it was the only storage that you keep your latest work. Worse, your laptop was stolen at a police station when you were to make a report that your other belonging was lost earlier. This also happened to a student of mine. These hiccups may happened to you beyond you expectation.

To encounter this unforeseen circumstances, it is a wise to do your work in a regular manner. Come to your workstation at 8 am and leave at 5 pm. Work five days a week. Each day is a step forward. For example, in interpreting your tables or figures, that is in your Chapter Discussion, you completed a section amount to 3-page write-up to answer a research objective in a day. But the following day, you only managed to get three lines in your discussion. This is the nature of PhD journey. At times you are push fast forward by the tailwind. On other time, you are slowed by a strong headwind. Worse, when you are experiencing a doldrums; your ship not moving at all. This is the situation you already get bored. Do not abandoned your vessel. It is wise not to procrastinate your assignments, keep doing it in regular pace.

PhD Colloquium

Greenovation Research Group from Faculty of Built Environment will hold a joint PhD colloquium with Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Universitas Gadjah Mada on 22 Jan 2018. This colloquium are open to PhD candidates from all public universities in Malaysia. Contact me at b-ismail@utm.my for submission of abstract.

Examining PhD and Master Theses for 2016 and 2017

1. An Exploratory Study of Children’s Experiences in Nature and Their Connectedness to Nature, USM (Ph.D.)(Oct 2017)
2. Ecological Resilience of Small Urban Parks: System Functionality and Adaptation to Disturbances (Ph.D.)
University of Copenhagen (Sept 2016)
3. Effectiveness of Eco-public Art for Urban Back Lanes Revitalization (Masters)
International Islamic University Malaysia
4. Evaluating Multi-dimensional Human Interaction in Open Spaces for Sustainability (PhD)
Universiti Teknologi MARA
5. Multilevel Urban Mobility: Exploring Pedestrian Perception of Elevated Walkways in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (Masters)
Universiti Malaya
6. Route Choice Behavior of Visitors In Kuala Lumpur City Centre towards Urban Walkability (PhD)
Universiti Putra Malaysia
7. The Impact of Neighbourhood Safety on Leisure Walking (PhD)
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Role of a University

Universities don’t exist just to prepare people for the world of work. They exist to prepare people for the world. With the ability to think beyond the confines of a narrow field of study. With the ability to see connections and correlations and patterns across many subjects. With the guts to ask questions. The tenacity to find answers. The wisdom to make decisions. And maybe, just when we need it, the genius to see things as they can be, rather than as they are. (Allan Gilmour, 11th President of Wayne State University, 2011)

Diagram on a Study of Bird Habitat and Behavior

The figure shows a review of literature of Linda’s PhD study on major park as urban habitat for bird species in a case study of Putrajaya. Linda Aziz reviewed more than 300 materials on bird habitat and behavior from seven disciplines: Biological Conservation, Ornithology, Avian Biology, Urban Ecosystem, Zoological Research, Ecology and Ecological Application, and Landscape and Urban Planning. Through this review, she recognized the known knowledge on birds. Her research on birds in Putrajaya will extend the boundary of knowledge on bird habitat and behavior in urban greenery that is revealing the unknown. This is the contribution of her study.
Literature Review on Bird Habitat and Behavior Linda Aziz 2016

University Education

The foundation of a university is its faculty, but its future and a large part of its influence in the world lie in its students, who become alumni.
(Elizabeth Garrett during her inauguration speech as 13th president of Cornell, 2015)

Outdoor Environments as Children’s Play Spaces: Playground Affordances

Outdoor Environments as Children’s Play Spaces