In 1989 Stephen was Research Assistant at South Bank Polytechnic working with the Soviet Academy of Science and the Royal Society on collaborative multi-disciplinary acoustics projects. As a Research Fellow he worked on computer simulations of auditoria to improve the acoustics of concert hall acoustics. In 1994 he started teaching at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at Southampton.
In 2001 he introduced automated marking using the Blackboard virtual learning environment. In 2003 he became Course Director for the Masters programme in Environmental and Architectural Acoustics. Stephen redesigned all the modules so they focused on real world problems, giving students valuable practical experience and aligning the course with the needs of industry.
Impact of work
He also developed a website that allowed advanced acoustic simulations to be freely run on web browsers. This led in 2007 to the Acoustical Society of America Schultz prize in Architectural Acoustic education coordinated by the Newman Trust, see www.whyverne.co.uk. In 2011 he was nominated by the Masters students for the Acoustical Society of America mentoring award. The students praised him for teaching based around solving real world problems using the latest research techniques, such as using the iPhone as a cheap sound meter. He is the only non-American to win this prestigious prize.
In 2013 Stephen led the Acoustics Group coordinating the introduction of a suite of Institute of Acoustic courses feeding into the Masters/PhD programme. This allowed entry requirements for acoustics to be reduced and thus widen participation. In 2018 this aim was furthered by the planned introduction of a new IOA Apprenticeship in Acoustics.
Plans for the future
Stephen believes in providing students with the opportunity to visit relevant buildings and complementary organisations such as the Royal College of Art, Henry Wood Hall, Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Opera House. In 2014 these activities led to being awarded the IOA Tyndall Medal. He finds that inspiring students leads them to a deeper understanding of the subject and to have the skills to implement effective solutions and will continue to develop this area on behalf of his students.
Reader in Acoustics
London South Bank University