Since arriving in Australia four years ago to commence his PhD in the Department of International Business and Asian Studies at Griffith University, Omid Haass has been an advocate for the Gold Coast as a great city to live and Griffith University as a great place to study. In 2015, he was appointed as a Gold Coast Mayor’s International Student Ambassador which gave him even more opportunities to promote Griffith to a wider audience.
He said his decision to come to Australia was due to its multicultural society, stable economy, high quality universities and schools with diverse students, wonderful climate with lots of adventures, fabulous people, amazing lifestyle, and potential to grow individually and socially.
Following higher education as a career was always his dream, so with over 15 years practitioner experience in project management in Iran, Omid decided to pursue a career in academia in Australia to create greater opportunities for himself and his family and to allow him to share his experience with others.
Under the supervision of Dr Gustavo Guzman and Dr Luke Houghton, Omid’s PhD research project was aimed at providing a greater understanding of the evaluation logics in large and complex projects. He studied how human and non-human actors in the project environment interact with each other and develop a network, which gives them a totally different power of influence on the project, to compare with their individual power. In a nutshell, he explored the soft aspects of evaluation such as power, politics and motivation to better understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of evaluation practice.
While completing his PhD, Omid has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in three schools at the Griffith University since 2015. First, he started tutoring in the Griffith Business School and then extended this to the Griffith School of Engineering and Griffith School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by lecturing, co-lecturing, guest lecturing and tutoring the project management courses.
‘I am so grateful for the constant support provided by the IBAS community, and Griffith University as a whole’, Omid said.
‘Griffith has blessed me with the opportunity to gain an invaluable teaching experience while studying, which has helped me develop my learning and teaching practices.’
Omid was acknowledged in 2016 and 2017 for his teaching practices as a recipient of the Griffith Business School Excellence in Teaching Award. He also took the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education program offered by Griffith Learning Future, which gave him an in-depth theoretical understanding of the modern learning and teaching practices such as active, student-centred and adaptive learning approaches.
As Omid drew closer to the end of the PhD part of his journey, his mind started turning to the next step. He said ‘Lecturer positions require a completed PhD, so any applications in the lead up to submitting my thesis were not being considered so I decided to wait until after I graduated to start applying for jobs. Then a friend emailed me to say RMIT were advertising an Associate Lecturer position specifically in project management in their School of Property, Construction and Project Management. It seemed too good to be true.’
‘It was a very busy time as I was submitting my thesis, but I took time out to complete the application, then put it out of my mind while I continued to work on my thesis. Almost two months later I received a request for an interview via Skype. Three hours after the interview, I was offered the job. Once my PhD is awarded, the position will be upgraded to Lecturer, which is my dream job.’
Melbourne has some big shoes to fill after falling in love with the Gold Coast, but as Australia’s most liveable city, Omid and his family look forward to embarking on their new adventure and are confident they will make their new home equally rewarding.
Omid attributes his success to the experience he gained during his time at Griffith and is looking forward to celebrating his graduation in both PhD and Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in mid-December.