Each Enhancement Theme is led by a small team of representatives from the Scottish higher education sector, including a Theme Leader, Deputy Leader, Student Leader and Lead Representative from QAA Scotland. The Theme Leadership Team is tasked with directing the work of the Theme and leading the wider Theme Leadership Group (TLG), which boasts staff and student representatives from all 19 higher education institutions in Scotland.
Our Theme Leadership Team
Professor Clare Peddie
Vice-Principal Education, University of St Andrews, Theme Leader
Professor Clare Peddie is a graduate of the University of St Andrews. Her career has been focussed on education in biology and she is the first Professor appointed under new promotions procedures that recognise contributions to teaching and service at her University. Her undergraduate degree and PhD were both in Marine Biology at the University of St Andrews; her research career moved into medical research at other institutions before she returned to take an education-focussed position at St Andrews. She has held roles as Director of Teaching for the School of Biology, ProDean for Undergraduates in the Faculty of Science, ProDean for Taught Postgraduates and Head of School. She was promoted to Professor and was appointed to the role of Vice Principal Education (Proctor) in May 2019. External to her University, she has a depth of experience as an external examiner, an institutional reviewer for the QAA in Scotland and often conducts subject-based and degree-accreditation reviews of other institutions. She still teaches marine biology in the field at undergraduate and masters level and has interests in the role of experiential learning in effective teaching.
Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education), University of Aberdeen, Deputy Theme Leader
Professor Ruth Taylor took up the role of Vice-Principal Education at the University of Aberdeen in November 2019. She is responsible for leading the effective delivery of the University’s strategic objectives for Education. Areas of responsibility include: quality and innovation in learning, teaching and assessment; student experience and engagement, including student support; student success; employability and entrepreneurship; quality assurance and enhancement across the provision. Ruth is also responsible for leading the University’s work on the Race Equality Charter.
Ruth was previously Senior Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of a Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, and Professor of Nurse Education, at Anglia Ruskin University from 2013. She held an institutional role in the leadership of the student retention strategy. Prior to that she worked at The Robert Gordon University in a leadership role in the School of Nursing and Midwifery having had a career in clinical nursing practice for 15 years.
Ruth’s research interests include student retention, the first-year student experience, social capital in the context of the student experience, compassion in healthcare practice, and student leadership in healthcare practice.
Debra Macfarlane, Quality Enhancement Manager, QAA Scotland
Debra Macfarlane is very excited to be leading QAA Scotland’s work on the national Enhancement Theme, Resilient Learning Communities. Having joined QAA Scotland in 2013, Debra has extensive experience of Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR) and related activity. Until 2020, Debra developed and led QAA Scotland’s ELIR reviewer training and CPD and Focus On work.
Her previous experience includes both academic and professional services roles within higher education, leading on policy and practice in assessment and feedback, employability and work-related learning, as well as HR and training and development roles in the private sector. Debra is a graduate from the University of St Andrews (where she gained her honours degree and M.Phil) and an alumna of Emory University, Atlanta where she was a Bobby Jones Memorial Scholar. She has also completed qualifications with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and gained her PG Certificate in Academic Practice with the University of Glasgow.
What she enjoys most about her work at QAA is working within such a creative and supportive environment both within her team and with colleagues from across the sector to discover what can be done in partnership to improve the student experience of higher education.
Vice President for Education, Aberdeen University Students’ Association and Student Theme Leader
Ondrej Kucerak is the current Vice President for Education at Aberdeen University Students’ Association and in his first term as the Enhancement Themes Student Lead, SHEEC member and member of QAA Scotland’s and Universities Scotland’s joint committee on Quality Arrangements for Scottish Higher Education. Ondrej has been involved in the local student movement and academic representation for five years and has special interest in work around Quality Assurance and Enhancement, with focus on communication and support as crucial elements of the student experience. He is interested in the impacts the pandemic has had on teaching and assessment and to see what positive lessons can be learned in embracing flexibility and technology.
Our Theme Leadership Team share their vision and hopes for the new Enhancement Theme: Resilient Learning Communities.
Our Theme Support Team
QAA Scotland plays a vital role in supporting the development and delivery of sector-wide activity, collaborative cluster projects and institutional work as part of every Enhancement Theme.
Find out more about the colleagues who will be supporting a range of quality enhancement activity as part of this Theme.
Ruth Burchell, Quality Enhancement Specialist (Maternity Cover), QAA Scotland
Ruth joined QAA on a temporary contract in August 2021 and provides project liaison support for projects under the Flexible and Accessible Learning strand of the Theme. This includes Valuing and Recognising Prior Learning and Experience, Understanding Microcredentials and Small Qualifications in Scotland, and Personalised Approaches to Resilience and Community.
Ruth is also leading on the 2022 Enhancement Conference.
Alison Eales, Quality Enhancement Specialist, QAA Scotland
Alison supports current Enhancement Theme and Focus On projects, and manages legacy resources from the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme. She also manages the Teaching Quality Forum and is QAA Scotland's representative on the Apprenticeships Approval Group.
Alison is project lead for the Anti-Racist Curriculum Project and Supporting New Scots.
Amy Eberlin, Quality Enhancement Specialist, QAA Scotland
Amy joined QAA Scotland in January 2020 and supports the delivery of Enhancement Themes work, acting as a collaborative project liaison and leading sector-level activity on the digital divide, and Focus On projects. Amy is currently on maternity leave and will return in 2022.
Clare Parks, Quality Enhancement Specialist, QAA Scotland
Clare is focused on supporting Enhancement Themes work, particularly the Themes Leaders’ Group and institutional contracting and reporting. Her other activities include supporting the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee and ELIR thematic reporting.
Clare is managing our Institutional Work for the Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme, including HEI work plans and reports. If you have any questions about our institutional work, please get in touch.
Caroline Turnbull, Quality Enhancement Manager, QAA Scotland
Caroline supports our Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) work, managing review teams, supporting reviewer training and undertaking institutional liaison. She is also part of the team working on the delivery of our Enhancement Themes.
Caroline is project lead for our student-led project delivered in partnership with Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland (sparqs). If you have any questions about our student-led activity, please get in touch.