Meet Dr Ricky Chan

Ricky is a senior lecturer in civil engineering and a five-time winner of the Student Choice Teaching Award. With years of experience in structural design of high-rise buildings and bridges, he is passionate about combining theories with real-world engineering and bringing them into the classroom. 

Although he has extensive experience in teaching, conducting research and working in industry in civil engineering, Dr Ricky Chan did not always know he wanted to be an engineer.

“I started my first year at university studying physics in Canada, where my parents had moved to when I was a teenager,” he says. “But after a summer visit to Hong Kong, where I grew up, I was amazed by the high-rise buildings and the new airport being constructed close to where I live. The sheer size of it was impressive.

"That’s when I decided to switch to civil engineering and more specifically structural engineering.”

He worked in industry, designing high rise buildings in Hong Kong for six years, while also completing a part-time masters degree.

“Being back at university made me realise that I wanted to pursue a career in academia,” says Ricky. “I was lucky enough to start my PhD with a visiting professor I met from Queensland.”

Immediately after finishing his research program, he was offered a job at RMIT University.

Dr Ricky Chan

“RMIT has a very good reputation,” says Dr Chan. “Our courses are practical, and our students are very highly sought after in industry because they can apply what they’ve learnt.”

Ricky won the Student Choice Teaching Award five times in a row, which is proof that students appreciate the way he teaches. He explains complex concepts in an easy way that students can understand.

“When I was at university, there were many teachers that were brilliant researchers, but could not communicate very well,” says Ricky. “When students come to my class, I make sure it is time well spent. I try to visualise complex concepts using images, graphs or flow charts and I use real-life examples to explain the theory.”

What’s next? He is excited about using new technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) in civil engineering.

“My research focuses on putting sensors in buildings to not only detect earthquakes or strong winds, but to also react to it,” says Ricky. “It’s like turning a building into a transformer!”

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.