'Talking student engagement' is a series of occasional interviews with student engagement practitioners – both staff and students, and from within Scotland’s university and college sector and beyond. The interviews aim to capture the different perspectives that people have on student engagement in the quality of learning. They are just one of many channels through which people can share their student engagement practice and experiences.
Our interviewees share with us a great richness of knowledge and experience of student engagement, but it should be noted that all views expressed in the interviews are the individuals’ own, and do not necessarily reflect those of sparqs or their organisations.
We usually have a small number of future interviews scheduled, but are keen to hear of others who may have interesting perspectives on student engagement – whether a lecturer, course rep, senior student officer, education researcher, or other practitioner.
To suggest a future subject for interview, please contact us.
Manuel João Costa - April 2023
Manuel is the Pro-Rector for Student Affairs and Pedagogical Innovation at the University of Minho (UMinho), in Portugal.
Kevin McStravock - March 2023
Kevin is the Lead Policy Officer (Devolved Nations and Europe) with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).
John O'Hara - February 2023
John is a Senior Learner Engagement Officer at New College Lanarkshire.
Chase Greenfield - January 2023
Chase is the Academic Representation Coordinator at the University of St Andrews Students’ Association.
Ellie Gomersall - November 2022
Ellie is the NUS Scotland President for 2022-23.
Cassie Lowe - October 2022
Cassie is a Senior Teaching Associate at the University of Cambridge.
Conor Naughton - September 2022
Conor is an Educational Developer at Nottingham Trent University and previous President of its Students' Union.
Kirsten Koss - July 2022
Kirsten was the NESCol Depute President in 2021-22 and is a newly-recruited sparqs Associate Trainer.
Lianne Gagnon - May 2022
Lianne is the Director of Student Services at Niagara College, in Ontario, Canada.
Jodie McNair - April 2022
Jodie is a Development Officer at Glasgow Clyde College Students’ Association (GCCSA).
Anne Campbell - March 2022
Anne is the Vice-Principal (Curriculum) at Ayrshire College.
Sofia Khan - February 2022
Sofia is the Access and Participation Coordinator at University of Strathclyde Students’ Association.
Charlotte Britton-Stevens - January 2022
Charlotte is the Union Development Project Manager at NUS Charity.
Sandra McLoughlan - December 2021
Sandra is the Dean for Student Recruitment and Experience at New College Lanarkshire.
Sam Smith - October 2021
Sam is the former National Vice President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), who recently led a project for New Zealand’s higher education quality body, the Academic Quality Agency (AQA).
Megan Doherty - August 2021
Megan is a graduate of the University of Dundee and former Student Voice Support Officer at Dundee University Students’ Association.
Heloisa Fyfe - April 2021
Heloisa is the Vice-President (Representation and Volunteers) at Edinburgh Napier Students’ Association for 2020-21.
Charlie Reis - March 2021
Charlie is the Director of the Educational Development Unit at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XTJLU) in China and founder of CAPED, the China-based Association for Partnership in Educational Development.
Kevin Sinclair - February 2021
Kevin is the Student Engagement Manager at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Ruth Ní Bheoláin - January 2021
Ruth is the Quality Assurance Officer at Hibernia College in Dublin, Ireland.
Dr Luke Millard - November 2020
Luke is the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Abertay University.
Ian McCartney - October 2020
Ian is the Clerk to the Board of Management at Perth College UHI.
Matt Crilly - September 2020
Matt is the new President of NUS Scotland for 2020-21.
Professor Tim Whalley - June 2020
Tim is the Dean for Student Experience at the University of Stirling
Katie Dubarry & James Bamkin - January 2020
Katie is the Vice-President of Scotland’s Rural College Students’ Association (SRUCSA) and James is the Students’ Association Development Officer at SRUC.
Billy Docherty - December 2019
Billy is a student of psychology and a Faculty Association Rep at The Open University.
Leila Adair & Toby Reid - November 2019
Leila and Toby are S3 pupils and Young Leaders of Learning at Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen.
Rob McDermott - September 2019
Rob is the Quality Manager at Forth Valley College.
Maya Sutherland - August 2019
Maya manages the Quality Assurance/Evaluation process at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Kate Walsh - July 2019
Kate is the Project Manager of the Student Voice Australia national project.
Lucy Gault - June 2019
Lucy is the Vice President Education at Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union (2017-19).
Professor Norman Sharp OBE - May 2019
Norman is the former Chair of the sparqs' Trustee Board.
Sorcha Kirker - April 2019
Sorcha is the Vice-President (Higher Education) of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA).
Mark Charters - March 2019
Mark is the Academic Development Coordinator at Glasgow School of Art.
Megan Brown - February 2019
Megan is the Academic Engagement Co-ordinator at Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA).
Tom Lowe - January 2019
Tom is the manager of the Centre for Student Engagement at the University of Winchester and Secretary for the international RAISE network.
Ignas Gaižiūnas - November 2018
Ignas is a student at Vilnius University in Lithuania.
Lucy Mercer-Mapstone - October 2018
Lucy is a Research Fellow at The University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development, on a six month fellowship from Australia.
Stewart Kirkland - September 2018
Stewart is one of sparqs’ new Associate Trainers for 2018-19 and a student at Edinburgh Napier University.
William Hasty - August 2018
William is a Quality and Enhancement Specialist with QAA Scotland.
Gemma Jones - July 2018
Gemma is the newly elected Deputy President of NUS Scotland for 2018-19.
Oisin Hassan - June 2018
Oisin is Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Meera Sabaratnam - May 2018
Meera is a lecturer and BA Programme Convenor in International Relations at SOAS University of London.
Matt Adie - April 2018
Matt is the Vice-President (Education) at the University of Stirling Students’ Union and Student Theme Lead for the current QAA Enhancement Theme.
Stewart Squire - March 2018
Stewart is the Democratic Support & Policy Co-ordinator at Dundee University Students’ Association.
Kerry Harrison - February 2018
Kerry is the President (Education and Welfare) of Robert Gordon University Students’ Union.
Cathy Bovill - January 2018
Cathy is a Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement at The University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development.
Josh Gall - November 2017
Josh is the Regional President of the Students’ Association at North East Scotland College.
Rachael Page - October 2017
Rachael is a Community Skills student at Fife College’s ASPIRE Centre (Additional Support Programmes In Real Environments).
Jim Metcalfe - September 2017
Jim is the Chief Executive of the College Development Network.
Kat Bateson - August 2017
Kat is a a Student Engagement Assistant with the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, the students’ association of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Dale Whelehan - July 2017
Dale is the former Education Officer and Deputy President for 2016-17 at Trinity College Dublin Students' Union in Ireland.
Raziya Isayeva - June 2017
Raziya is the Development Director at Khazar University in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Jodie Waite - May 2017
Jodie is the incoming Vice-President (Education) of NUS Scotland for 2017-18, having been a Vice President at Glasgow Caledonian University for the past two academic years.
Simon Boehme - April 2017
Simon is the Director of Student Engagement at The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education based in Oakland, California, which has been established to explore new ideas in quality assurance.
Gohar Hovhannisyan - March 2017
Gohar is the International Officer with the Armenian National Students’ Association (ANSA), and a Masters student in insurance at the Armenian State University of Economics.
Greg Mannion - February 2017
Greg is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences (Education) at University of Stirling.
Dougie Smith - January 2017
Dougie is a Students’ Association Liaison Officer at City of Glasgow College.
Dr Natalie Watters - November 2016
Natalie is a lecturer and project manager for the online Masters in Education at the University of Glasgow, and a former sparqs Associate Trainer.
Sally Varnham - October 2016
Sally is a law professor at the University of Technology Sydney UTS), and an Australian Learning and Teaching National Senior Fellow.
Cat O'Driscoll - September 2016
Cat is the Co-ordinator of the new pilot National Student Engagement Programme in Ireland.
Chris Daisley - August 2016
Chris is the Vice-President for the School of Engineering and Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University Students’ Association.
Jane Culpan - July 2016
Jane is a programme leader at Queen Margaret University.
Lindsay Henderson - June 2016
Lindsay is the Quality and Learner Engagement Co-ordinator at North Highland College UHI.
Paul Chapman - May 2016
Paul is the Director of Student Support and Involvement at the University of Manchester Students’ Union.
Ian Glen - April 2016
Ian is a Business Analyst in the Student Systems Unit at Heriot-Watt University.
Iain Maitland and Mary Young - March 2016
Iain and Mary work in the Students’ Office at the University of the West of Scotland.
Ruth Tudor - February 2016
Ruth is the President of the Open University Students' Association.
Libby Curtis - January 2016
Libby is the Associate Head of School at Gray’s School of Art, at The Robert Gordon University.
Iain Morrison - November 2015
Iain is the Dean of Students at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Jasmin Davies-Hodge - October 2015
Jasmin is Organisational Learning Co-ordinator at Forth Valley College.
Rebecca Maxwell Stuart - September 2015
Rebecca is a student engagement researcher and practitioner who has recently completed a thesis on transnational student engagement.
Tam Baillie - August 2015
Tam is Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People.
Rob Henthorn - July 2015
Rob is the newly elected Vice President (Education) at NUS Scotland for 2015-16.
Dash Sekhar - June 2015
Dash served as sabbatical Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Edinburgh University Students’ Association during 2014-15.
Shona Struthers - May 2015
Shona is chief executive of Colleges Scotland, the campaigning and policy membership organisation for the college sector.
Celeste McLaughlin - April 2015
Celeste is the Subject Specialist for Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Jisc.
Amy Hamilton - March 2015
Amy is the Students' Association Development Officer at Borders College.
Hannele Keränen - February 2015
Hannele is the Quality Manager at the Lapland University of Applied Sciences (UAS) in Finland.
Myra McCabe - January 2015
Myra is Head of Student Services at Edinburgh College.
Phil Ker - December 2014
Phil is Chief Executive of Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand.
Mark Huxham - November 2014
Mark is Director of Academic Strategy and Professor of Teaching and Research in Environmental Biology at Edinburgh Napier University.
Morven Stewart - October 2014
Morven is a sparqs Associate Trainer and a fourth-year student at Glasgow School of Art.
University of Lincoln Student Engagement Team - September 2014
An interview with Alice Coleman, Davide Castro and Dan Derricott on the university's approach to student engagement.
Ondrej Hajda - August 2014
Ondrej is Director of Representation at the University of St Andrews Students' Association for academic year 2014-15.
Stewart Hay MBE - July 2014
Stewart was deputy head at Anderson High School in Lerwick, and is the founder of The Global Classroom, an international partnership that allows staff and students at secondary schools across the world to share experiences on learning and teaching.