2021 Biographies

2021 Biographies

Professor Ruth Taylor, Vice Principal (Education), University of Aberdeen and Deputy Theme Leader of QAA Scotland's new Enhancement Theme 'Resilient Learning Communities''

Ruth Taylor photoProfessor Ruth Taylor took up the role of Vice-Principal (Education) 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

Follow Ruth on Twitter: @ruthft1

Professor Clare Peddie, Vice-Principal Education (Proctor), University of St Andrews and Theme Leader of QAA Scotland's new Enhancement Theme 'Resilient Learning Communities'


Clare Peddie photoProfessor Clare Peddie is the current Vice-Principal Education (Proctor)  at the University of St Andrews and leads the current Enhancement Theme 'Resilient Learning Communities'.


Professor Clare Peddie is a graduate of the University of St Andrews.  Her career has been focused on education in biology, and she is the first professor appointed under new promotions procedures that recognise contributions to teaching at the University.  Her undergraduate degree and PhD were both in marine biology at the University of St Andrews; she was appointed Director of Teaching in Biology, becoming responsible for academic standards, curriculum development and the successful delivery of a wide range of Biology degrees. She was promoted to professor and became Head of School before taking up the role of Vice Principal Education (Proctor) in 2019.  When pandemic conditions allow, 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.


Dr Steve Tucker, Institutional Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme Lead

Steve Tucker PhotoDr Steve Tucker is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology and Medical Science and leads the current Enhancement Theme at the University of Aberdeen. As someone always keen to develop new, engaging and inclusive teaching and learning methods, the building of resilient learning communities is central to his professional priorities and something he is always keen to discuss and explore.


Dr John Barrow, Dean for Entrepreneurship & Employability and Senior Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition

John Barow photoDr John Barrow has been a lecturer in the Life Sciences since 2009, with a particular focus on teaching biochemistry and molecular biology using innovative molecular visualisation and practical teaching.  He was appointed as Dean for Entrepreneurship & Employability in 2020 where his role focusses on employability and skills development strategy across the university.  In 2011, he completed a PGCert in Higher Education, becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, then in 2015 was made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Professor Abbe Brown, Dean for Student Support

Abbe Brown photoAbbe Brown is Professor of Intellectual Property Law and the Dean for Student Support. She joined the University of Aberdeen in 2012 from the University of Edinburgh. Before returning to academia, she practised as a solicitor in London, Melbourne and Edinburgh. Abbe teaches at UG, PGT and PGR levels on campus, on line and in a blended manner.  In her role as Dean, Abbe leads, with colleagues, the academic delivery of pastoral support and the further embedding of inclusion and accessibility across the University. Abbe is a member of the Technology Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has presented at QAA and Advance HE events.


Dr Kirsty Kiezebrink, Dean for Education Innovation

Kirsty Kiezebrink photoDr Kirsty Kiezebrink took up the role of Dean for Education Innovation in January 2020.  Within this role Kirsty’s primary areas of responsibility include leading on the development of strategy to capitalise on the opportunities associated with digital delivery of learning materials (including optimal use of the VLE), in addition Kirsty is particularly interested in innovative approaches to teaching and learning including assessment and feedback.  Much of this work has been given a major boost with the current pandemic requiring rapid innovation across the university.  Kirsty’s research interest include the role of technology to enhance learning, assessment and feedback.  Kirsty has a specific interest in how to enhance the value and quality for feedback and in particular ensuring that feedback is accessible to all.  Kirsty is based in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition where she has taken a lead in developing a cross school blended course which supports student to learn collectively irrespective of their location of study.


Jacqueline (Jacquie) Nicholson, RNMH, BA Hons, PG Dip, MSc., Scottish Lead at UMO

Jacquie Nicholson photoJacquie came to the university in 2017as part of an increase in mental health provision for students. Providing specialist services to students and advice to staff Jacquie further increased the mental health resources available introducing a new team of specialist mental health and autistic spectrum mentors. She then moved to a mental health policy role with an increased focus on staff. Working collaboratively with colleagues across the university and the wider community she has supported inclusive approaches and an open culture towards the removal of stigma.

Organised with academic colleagues in the School of Psychology Jacquie has co-supervised a number of short student research projects exploring mental health in the university. Jacquie is currently undertaking training in psychotherapy and has recently taken up the role of Scottish Lead at UMO.

Jacquie is professionally registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the British Psychological Society, University Mental Health Advisers Network and currently is a student member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.


Professor Kath Shennan, Dean of Quality Enhancement and Assurance

Kath Shennan photoProfessor Kath Shennan is Dean of Quality Enhancement and Assurance. Her role is to ensure that the University’s academic provision is robust, meets the standards required by the Quality Assurance Agency and that we constantly strive to make improvements to our educational practices so that we enhance the student experience. She has led the Institutional Enhancement Theme Team for the past three Themes (Developing and Supporting the Curriculum, Transitions and Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience) and is now passing on the experience she gained from these past Themes to Steve Tucker who will be Institutional Theme lead for the new Enhancement Theme, Resilient Learning Communities.