RAISE Committee 2021-22

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Stephen McVeigh

Chair (Swansea University)

Stephen is Professor and Associate Dean Education in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Swansea University. His work in these roles combines teaching across all levels of study with providing leadership in the development and implementation of new initiatives and strategic directions in learning and teaching across the University. 

Stephen has been actively involved in student engagement work for over 10 years, work which has brought together students, academic colleagues and professional services staff to create and enhance the context and structures for meaningful partnership with students in their learning and the environments supporting it. Placing students at the centre of University activity has required changes in culture and attitudes as well as systems and organisation and Stephen has made contributions in all of these areas. Among the outcomes are: a new model for student-staff forum, the creation of the new role of Student Engagement Lead, student exchange with PICNIC. Other projects are in development or pilot, such as: peer-to peer learning, funded student/staff co-created enhancement project scheme, student feedback journal, and flexible structures for co-created assessment design. 

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Tom Lowe

Vice Chair (University of Portsmouth)

Tom Lowe is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Portsmouth, where his research includes student engagement in development of education, embedding employability into the curriculum and belonging. Prior to Portsmouth, Tom was the Head of Student Engagement and Employability where he led the University’s student development, internationalisation and extra-curricular opportunities, staffing and strategies relating to fostering student success at Winchester. Tom was also the programme leader for the MA in Student Engagement in Higher Education at Winchester, and has served on the RAISE Committee in various roles for eight years. Tom is experienced in the practicalities surrounding student engagement in quality assurance, learning and teaching, University governance and Students' Unions, as well as student involvement in extra-curricular activities and overcoming barriers to student success through inclusive practice.

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Tania Struetzel

Treasurer (University of Greenwich)

Tania is the Student Engagement Manager at the University of Greenwich, leading the new student engagement provision focusing on engagement, retention and student voice. She previously worked at Middlesex University, where she was the institutional project lead for the TSEP Inclusive Engagement project exploring the experience of student representatives identifying as students of colour. Tania was a QAA Student Strategic Advisory Committee member and has recently completed the PgCert Student Engagement in Higher Education at the University of Winchester. 

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Jill LeBihan

Secretary (Sheffield Hallam University)

Jill is Head of Student Engagement at Sheffield Hallam University, with responsibilities for working with students and staff on representation, co-creation and student voice.  Jill’s academic background is in English Literature and Women’s Studies, and she has considerable experience as a lecturer and academic leader.  She is skilled in curriculum design and delivery, with an active interest in teaching innovation and creativity.  Jill is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Winchester, on the MA in Student Engagement.  She is currently working on student engagement strategies to prevent harassment and to improve academic integrity. 

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Rachel Forsyth

Journal Editor in Chief (Lund University)

Rachel Forsyth is Editor-in-Chief of the RAISE journal, Student Engagement in Higher Education. She is currently a project manager at Lund University in Sweden; prior to that she was Head of the University Teaching Academy at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, leading a multi-professional team focusing on academic development. She is interested in scalable change in curriculum and assessment practices, particularly in relation to inclusive practice.

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Ruta Furmonaviciene

SIGs Convenor (De Montford University)

Senior lecturer in Biomedical Science / Immunology at De Montfort University (DMU), DMU Teacher Fellow, SFHEA, STEM Ambassador and Widening Participation Lead for Leicester School of Allied Health in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, DMU.

Ruta is passionate about varied, inclusive, and inter-disciplinary teaching and learning. She seeks to develop learning and teaching communities supported by a blend of online tools and physical environments enabling co-creation. Her teaching aims to include provision of individual support, flexibility and UDL.

Ruta has been awarded DMU Research Informed Teaching Award for collaborative project ‘Virtual Laboratory for Clinical Diagnostic Pathology’; DMU Research Informed Teaching Award; DMU Teaching Innovation Project award; Microsoft Azure Educator Grant and Global Lithuanian Leaders’ and Lithuanian media award for science and innovation (www.100lietuvosmoteru.com).

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Kevin McStravock

Communications Officer (University of Winchester) 

Kevin McStravock is the Press, PR and Communications Officer for the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Prior to joining QAA in June 2021, Kevin served for two years as the Deputy President and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Union of Students in Ireland, Ireland's national representative body for third-level students. Kevin's journey into student engagement started when he was elected Vice President for the Coleraine Campus of Ulster University Students' Union in June 2016, later going onto serve as President of the Students' Union from 2017 to 2019. Kevin is in the second year of the Masters in Student Engagement at the University of Winchester and is particularly interested in student engagement in quality assurance, student partnership, equality, diversity and inclusion in student engagement, and student engagement in governance.


Eugenie Johnson

Marketing Officer (Newcastle University)

Eugenie is a part-time MSc student in Public Health and Health Services Research at Newcastle University and a Training Fellow in Evidence Synthesis. During both her BA in Combined Honours and MLitt in English Literature at Newcastle University she was involved in the student council and PASS schemes and is now a student representative for the Innovation, Methodology and Application Theme within the University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. 

Eugenie has a background in journalism and continues to work as Assistant Managing Editor for Cochrane Incontinence, based at Newcastle University. After previously serving as a Student Representative on the RAISE Committee, she looks forward to bringing her experiences both within and outside Higher Education and student engagement to RAISE and the Marketing Officer role.

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Ella Dyer

RAISE Administrator (Newcastle University)

Ella’s interest in student engagement has grown over a number of years. She was a Student Representative and advocate of the student's voice during her undergraduate degree at Sheffield Hallam University. More recently, student engagement was at the core of Ella’s Learning and Teaching Assistant role at Newcastle University. 

Ella is now in the final year of her ESRC-funded PhD focusing on how to improve care for women with diabetes after baby loss.  

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Clare Cotton

Conference Co-ordinator (University of Lincoln)

Clare is a Student Engagement Project Manager at the University of Lincoln.  She leads on a wide range of student engagement projects and initiatives supporting staff and students to find new and exciting ways to work together to further student engagement initiatives in the learning community.


Recent projects include supporting institution wide student peer mentoring, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Scheme (UROS), NSS, co-ordinating the Student Engagement Leads network, and student skills sharing strand of the Lincoln Festival of Learning.


As RAISE Conference Co-ordinator Clare is leading the organisation and planning of the RAISE Annual Conference which will be held in Lincoln in September 2022.

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Ellie Mayo-Ward

Ordinary Committee Member (Cardiff University)

Ellie is the Student Engagement Manager at Cardiff University in Wales, working with staff and students to foster partnership and a positive culture of student engagement across the institution. She is an ordinary committee member for RAISE, working on partnership projects looking at the whole sector, and looking after the RAISE buddying scheme. Ellie’s passion for student engagement started through being elected as Vice President Education for two years at Bournemouth University’s Students’ Union. Following that, Ellie joined HEFCE knowing it would transition to the Office for Students, to help lay the foundation for Student Engagement in the new organisation and worked on the emergent Student Engagement strategy for the OfS.

Ellie has experience of supporting student engagement within institutions and more widely as part of the regulatory environment, so has a good understanding of the regulatory expectations for student engagement for the sector and how this can be applied in practice. Her passion lies in direct engagement with students, and empowering students to be true partners in their HE experience.  

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Claire Garden

Ordinary Committee Member (Edinburgh Napier University) 

Claire is an Associate Professor and Head of Learning and Teaching in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University. As well as teaching and student supervision across all levels of her subject (biomedical sciences), Claire contributes to the strategic leadership of Learning, Teaching and Assessment within the School and University.  She especially enjoys mentoring and coaching, and learning from students and colleagues. Claire is a founding member of the Student Engagement Special Interest Group at Edinburgh Napier University and leads scholarship and research focussing on: inclusion; the interface between novel teaching methods and student engagement; and student skills development.  At the moment she is particularly interested in developing student partnership approaches to curriculum development and research. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Royal Society of Biology.

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Kiu Sum

Student Officer (University of Westminster)

Kiu is currently a Doctoral Researcher at University of Westminster and previously graduated from Imperial College London. Her academic research interests lie in public health nutrition with nutritional behaviour and mobile health. 

Alongside her study, Kiu has been involved in a number of student engagement and pedagogy research projects (i.e. Students as Co-Creators) and taken on various roles championing student engagement. With her passion for bringing together student engagement with nutrition, Kiu is the current Chair of the Student Section at The Nutrition Society. In addition to her Student Officer role at RAISE, Kiu is a Co-Convenor for the “Engagement Assessment” SIG. 

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Caitlin Inman

Student Committee Member (University of Lincoln)

Caitlin Inman is a BSc Psychology with Clinical Psychology student at the University of Lincoln. She has a particular interest in the implementation of effective blended learning and bolstering student engagement in the post-covid era. Caitlin is her current course representative and has been involved in peer mentoring schemes and organising psychology society activities, with a real focus on creating cooperative partnerships between staff and students. She has carried out qualitative research into students’ experiences in Thailand during lockdowns, subsequently creating practical resources and school curricula for stress management following the principles of experiential learning. She is keen to apply her psychological perspective to the activities of RAISE and to further her university’s guiding principle of the student as producer, particularly among larger cohorts.