Student, PhD candidate, university lecturer: Stanislav Chankov’s career



November 29, 2017

08h15 is a difficult time for a lecturer to teach, especially in autumn and winter. In order to rouse his students from their early morning lethargy, Dr. Stanislav Chankov relies on interactive elements. His lecture “Introduction to logistics” starts with questions related to past material, which can be answered using a smartphone. An online game that he has developed, in which students play against each other on their smartphone during the lecture, also has an enlivening effect. “I try to think about the material from the viewpoint of students and the questions that they might have, and want to teach them the material in the best possible way and not just reel off content”, says Chankov.  

He has been teaching the Masters course “Supply Chain Engineering & Management” and the Bachelors course “Industrial Engineering & Management”, for which he is the program coordinator, at Jacobs University since January. “It was always my dream to teach”, says the young university lecturer - and one can hear his excitement. He is proud that his dream has now become a reality in the study program that he once studied. And it was not that long ago that the 28-year-old was himself registered as a student at the international, English-medium university. He has been at Jacobs University for 10 years now, with just a short break.

In autumn 2007, the Bulgarian started his studies in International Logistics Management & Engineering. He paid for the study fees at the private university, in the amount of around 25,000 euros per year, with the help of the university. “I was extremely pleased to have this support”, he remembers. “The university smoothed the way for me and opened up a multitude of opportunities. I was able to develop myself and for that I am extremely thankful”.

Stanislav was an intern at Porsche and Airbus and wrote his final thesis as a student trainee in cooperation with Daimler. He studied for a Masters in Management Science & Operations at the renowned Cambridge University. He could have stayed in England, but he decided to return to Jacobs University to complete his doctorate. “I value the international atmosphere, the campus and the colleagues. This is an excellent place to grow further, both professionally and personally”.

Logistics is the tennis fan’s subject but, although you will rarely find him on the tennis court, he succeeded in visiting four grand slam tournaments in 2017 - in Australia, France, England and the USA. “In logistics, it’s about doing things quicker, more efficiently, more reliably and protecting resources at the same time”, says Chankov. “It’s about improving processes: In a factory, while transporting goods or in everyday life. I like this practical approach”.

He also includes specific examples in his theoretical courses, such as from the world of tennis by using the supply chain in the manufacture of a tennis ball. The “lab course” that he teaches has a much more practical focus. For example, processes in industry are simulated here and business games are carried out. “Learning by doing is one of the characteristics of our Industrial Engineering & Management course”, says Chankov. “It links commercial and practical topics and many experts from companies pass on their knowledge to students in guest lectures. We prepare students for practical life. That is our goal”.

The students are often just a little younger than their teacher – and yet Stanislav Chankov is finding significant differences compared to his time as a student. “With their smartphones, laptops and tablets, they are far more focused on technology than was the case just a few years ago. And they ask more questions. They want to know: How can we use the lecture material, of what benefit is the knowledge to us? That makes teaching challenging because one has to have answers”.

It is his job to give them. He thinks a lot about the transmission of knowledge, what he could do better, how he can make his lectures more interesting for students, says Chankov who is also the chair of an equality committee at Jacobs University. He, therefore, aims to add more interactive elements in his lectures.

Research is, of course, also of interest to him. His particular interest is the sharing economy, i.e. the joint and thereby more intensive use of resources that are otherwise only partly used. Examples include car-sharing offers, subletting of space or the taking with and delivering of smaller packages on the way to work. He is also aiming for a professorship at some time. But that is in the future - at the moment he is entirely committed to being a university lecturer. What are his plans for the near future? “I want to be the best lecturer I can be”.

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