The faculties at CIU include lecturers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We profile a few of the international academics currently teaching and researching at the university
Dr. Marko Kiessel (Germany) – Assistant Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts
Marko Kiessel is a Classical archaeologist and an art historian who specialıses in architectural history. He came to CIU after working at the University of Trier in Germany, where he also wrote his PhD on the excavation of a Roman villa complex in Germany.
While in Cyprus, Marko has undertaken a variety of research projects into the historical architecture of the island. Current projects include research into column capitals – the decorative ‘head’ section of architectural columns – in the Salamis gymnasium near Famagusta and the Kourion ruins near Limassol.
The capitals at these sites date from the late Roman and early Byzantine period, and according to Marko they can provide valuable information to scholars about style and chronology, which is helpful for dating buildings, as well as being interesting artworks in their own right. The structures are also of interest due to the insights they provide into the effects of the 4th Century earthquakes on the island.
Marko’s Cypriot research projects also include work on Early Christian churches and analysis of more recent architectural developments on the island, including the influence of postmodern and ‘new classical’ styles in contemporary buildings.
At CIU, he teaches a range of architecture and art history courses, including History of Ancient Architecture, History of Turkish Architecture, European Architecture, Contemporary Architecture, and introductory Art History courses. According to Marko, the general orientation of the students in his department is practical rather than theoretical, so in his classes he helps them see the connection between the history and theory of architecture and the practical work which they are engaged with in CIU’s design studios.
Dr. Carolina Petry (Germany) – Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences
While writing a PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany, Carolina began cultural anthropology fieldwork into the popular culture of Turkish Cypriots. Focusing particularly in the inhabitants of Famagusta in the period after 1974, she examined the education, leisure time, marriage and family life of people in the community. The work has since been published as a book in Germany, but she says that research into the topic will potentially never finish.
Carolina says she was originally attracted to Cyprus as a field of academic study due to the relative shortage of research on the topic which was not immediately connected to the ‘Cyprus problem’. She decided, ‘if no one else has written about this, let’s write it’. More recently, Carolina has published in the topic of pre-school education in Cyprus, particularly the expectations of parents and the specific problems which children can face.
Before she began working at CIU, Carolina worked as a speech therapist, specialising in the correction of speech problems caused by diseases. She has also worked professionally as a musician and played the harpsichord in a Cypriot orchestra.
At CIU, Carolina teaches courses on Social Psychology, Sociology and Diplomatic History. She also gives CIU students the opportunity to learn the German language in her German 101 elective course.
Dr. Oleg Nikitenko (Ukraine) – Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts
Oleg Nikitenko has been teaching architecture courses in North Cyprus since 1993. Before this he worked at the Kiev Civil Engineering Institute in Ukraine, where he taught a variety of international students.
Among them was a student from North Cyprus, who later completed a PhD and became the head of an architecture department at another university in Cyprus. The student remembered Oleg’s teaching, in particular his specialism in Building Physics and design courses, and he invited him to come to Cyprus for one year to lecture students on architectural construction. After he completed the year of teaching, Oleg was invited to continue at the university.
Oleg began studying architecture in 1958 and worked as a practicing architect in Ukraine for sixteen years before returning to university to become a PhD student. He made the transition from practical architecture to teaching in 1980, initially working in Kiev.
His career has taken him to some interesting and unusual places: in 1978 he took a position in Iran as an architect for a Soviet-Iranian company and was present in the country during the Islamic Revolution. He also spent three and a half years in Afghanistan during the early 1980s working in the Kabul Polytechnic Institute and also creating a museum of building.
Oleg’s research has been principally in the field of applied geometry, with particular focus on space frame structures – lightweight building structures composed of interlocking struts in a geometrical pattern. The courses he teaches at CIU include Introduction to Construction, Building Construction, Interior Design, Architectural Drawing and Geometry for Designers.
Dr. Vali Bashiry (Iran) – Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering
Vali Bashiry first learned about CIU shortly after completing his PhD in physics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Prior to this, he had been a Master’s student in Iran. Attracted by the relaxed atmosphere and pleasant climate of Cyprus, he successfully applied for a position in the Department of Engineering in 2005.
After his first year at CIU, Vali took a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics in the Iranian capital Tehran. The program involved several research expeditions to the laboratories of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, located in Geneva. Home to the world’s largest particle physics facility, CERN scientists are at present attempting to recreate the conditions of the universe shortly after the Big Bang.
Vali returned to CIU after his postdoc and is currently engaged in research into CP violation and the concept of an asymmetrical universe. In particular, Vali’s particle physics research concerns the origin of matter and anti-matter just after the Big Bang. He describes this as ‘the big puzzle of physics – until now no one can understand this problem because in the context of today’s theories it is impossible to explain. There are many theories but they cannot properly explain it’.
Vali says that the calm atmosphere of CIU appeals to him, and that the opportunity to form friendships with academics from different intellectual backgrounds has helped him to understand things from a variety of alternate perspectives. He currently teaches the courses Physics 101 and 102 for engineering students.
Dr. Jonathan Stubbs (UK) – Associate Professor, Faculty of Communication
Jonathan Stubbs arrived at CIU in 2008, although he visited the island several times before as a tourist, and is currently teaching in the Department of Journalism. Before CIU, Jonathan worked and studied at the University of Warwick in the UK, the University of British Columbia in Canada, and the University of East Anglia in the UK.
Jonathan describes himself as a film historian, and his research has principally been concerned with American and British cinema cultures during the 1950s and 1960s. Much of his work has emanated from archival research which he has completed in collections in New York, Los Angeles and London. His PhD thesis, which he wrote at the University of East Anglia, looked at the ways in which Hollywood films have engaged with British history.
At the moment Jonathan is completing a book about the representation of the past in Hollywood cinema, and the relationship between historical cinema and genre. He is also beginning research on the depiction of Cyprus in British feature films and documentaries produced during the colonial period.
At CIU, Jonathan teaches the History of Communication, Film Analysis, Contemporary World Cinema, New Communication Technologies and History of Cinema. He says that he enjoys the challenge of teaching students who come from such a wide range of national backgrounds and in particular in helping them to see modern media and popular culture in a historical context.
Mary Agoyi (Nigeria) – Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Engineering
Mary Agoyi came to CIU from Nigeria in order to take a Master of Science degree in Information Systems Engineering. Her success in the subject led her to apply for a Teaching Assistant position in her faculty and to continue her research in computer science at PhD level. She was given the post, and eighteen months later she finds herself balancing undergraduate teaching with postgraduate research.
Mary’s academic work focuses on network security in mobile phone networks, banking hardware and personal digital assistants. During her Masters program she helped develop software which secured SMS messages on mobile devices. Now she plans to develop this work by devising methods to secure entire networks, particularly to the extent that they impact online communication systems.
Security threats to banks and online banking transactions are of particular concern. Last year Mary contributed to research into the security of ATM machines, which made clear the potential risks involved with banking network systems technology. At the moment, Mary is involved in work on watermarking: that is how to secure communications systems by embedding information in data in order to prevent forgery and copyright infringement.
At present Mary is teaching Physics, General Chemistry, Introduction to Computers, and Calculus. She describes these courses as ‘the basics of engineering which all engineers must know’. Asked about her relationship with the students in the Engineering Faculty, she described them as ‘friendly': ‘they don’t really see you as a foreigner, but they want to know about your culture and about the different things which have happened in your country.’