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Centre Members

Andrew Cross (co-director)

Andy is impact coordinator in the School of GeoSciences. His interests include work to support the relationship between research and teaching (particularly through approaches like the GeoSciences Outreach course), and the development of relevant frameworks for evaluating and designing different approaches to experiential learning. Andy is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Jon Turner (co-director)

Jon is Director of the Institute for Academic Development.  Previous experiential learning projects have included leadership of Making the Most of Masters and developing the original UKGRAD “How to be an Effective Researcher” course.

Hannah Cornish

Hannah is a researcher and academic developer at the Institute for Academic Development. She is part of a team looking at research and teaching linkages across the University, supporting the Learning and Teaching Committee in implementation of strategy. She is also involved in an ESRC project which looks at the impact and value of research-led teaching from multiple perspectives. Her interest in experiential learning stems from how it continually emerges as an elegant solution to better integrating research and teaching activities.

Peter Higgins

Pete is Chair of Outdoor and Environmental Education, Director of the University’s Global Environment and Society Academy, and Director of the United Nations recognised Regional Centre on Education for Sustainable Development (Learning for Sustainability Scotland). His teaching, research and knowledge exchange and policy development roles have had a strong focus on experiential learming throughout his career in academia and previously. He has written numerous articles and texts on experiential learning processess. He has been honoured with the Kurt Hanh Award by the Association for Experiential Education and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Lesley McAra

Lesley is a Professor of Penology and the Assistant Principal for Community Relations. Lesley is also Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, and has broad research interests in the general areas of sociology of punishment and the sociology of law and deviance. Her role as Assistant Principal is to provide academic leadership in the field of Social Responsibility, and to coordinate and further develop opportunities for community engagement and experiential learning.

Cat Magill

Cat is the Coordinator for Research and Programme Development at the Edinburgh Living Lab. She supports the development of Living Lab projects that demonstrate how data-driven innovation and citizen engagement can help to deliver on priorities for the city of Edinburgh. Pilot projects bring together researchers and students from the University of Edinburgh with city partners and use a data-design-and-society method to develop collaborative and citizen-centred approaches to civic challenges.

Gavin McCabe

Gavin is manager of the University’s Employability Consultancy, where he supports strategy and initiatives relating to student development, employability and graduate attributes. He is also responsible for initiating, leading and evaluating activities, approaches and innovations both within the formal curriculum and the co- and extra-curricular.

Simon Riley

Simon Riley is Professor of Experiential Student Learning, Edinburgh Medical School.  He is the Academic Lead for ‘Student-Led, Individually-Created Courses’ (SLICCs) an experiential learning and assessment framework based on a reflective e-portfolio that is being adopted across the institution. In Medicine, he is Director of ‘Student Selected Components’ in the undergraduate medicine programme, which offers students multiple opportunities for choice and autonomy throughout the curriculum.

Simon Beames

Simon Beames is senior lecturer in Outdoor Learning at the Moray House School of Education.  He is former co-editor of the Journal of Experiential Education and, among other duties, teaches a postgraduate course on experiential education.   Simon has published widely in the fields of educational expeditions, learning outside the classroom, and the sociology of adventure.

Jule ‘Yula’ Hildman

Yula is member of the Outdoor Environmental Education Unit of Moray House School of Education. She is active in teaching and research on experiential education, and has been a practitioner in the field of indoor and outdoor (experiential) education for 15 years. Her PhD and previous professional training as a school teacher also addressed how to transport the curriculum in an experiential way. Her main focus and expertise is in personal and social development, and educational leadership.

Margaret Petrie

Margaret  has been a practitioner, researcher and educator in the broad field of Community Education and Engagement for over thirty years mainly outside of academia. She has worked in youth unemployment, youth homelessness, in adult education with women returning to education, in strategies to combat gender based violence, in the disability field promoting educational inclusion and in equalities engagement. Her research interests relate generally to the role of informal education in promoting or inhibiting social justice and participatory democracy.

Helen Szoor-McElhinney

Helen is the Public Engagement with Research Lead for EPSRC Proteus, a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the EPSRC Our Health Programme Lead. Our Health is a new Interdisciplinary Community-University Research Programme that acts as a bridge between The University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh City Council and the local community with the aim of improving health literacy and reducing health inequality. Helen is interested in exploring how interdisciplinarity and community engagement can enrich student and community learning experiences and enable social justice.

Ruth Donnelly

Ruth is Assistant Director of the Careers Service with a particular focus on student development and employability and the role that external partners can play in supporting this. She leads the Students as Change Agents (SAChA) project which aims to increase the volume and quality of experiential learning at the University, in both curricular and co-curricular settings, by creating opportunities for students to work with external organisations to tackle live challenges, working in interdisciplinary teams.

Bonnie Auyeung

Bonnie is a Reader and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research is focused around two central themes: 1) the role of prenatal factors on psychological and neural postnatal development and 2) early markers of developmental disabilities. Prior to her current role, Bonnie worked at the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge where she is remains Director of Psychoneuroendocrinology. Before joining Cambridge, Bonnie was a researcher at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She currently leads the Psychology Outreach course where students work with community partners to put their knowledge and learning into practice.