New appointments will build on strong foundations

Student education at Leeds has been further boosted with the announcement of two key appointments.

Professor Tina Overton and Dr Christina Edgar, who have been appointed Director of LITE and Director of Student Opportunity at Leeds respectively

Professor Tina Overton and Dr Christina Edgar, who have been appointed Director of LITE and Director of Student Opportunity at Leeds respectively. January 2019

Professor Tina Overton will become the new Director of Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence (LITE), while Dr Christina Edgar has been recruited to the post of Director of Student Opportunity.

Professor Overton has moved from a position as Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Education at Monash University in Australia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has won multiple awards, including a National Teaching Fellowship.

Author of several textbooks in chemistry and skills development, Professor Overton has led the Higher Education Academy UK Physical Sciences Centre and Monash Education Academy.

LITE, which was launched in 2016, is a community of research and innovation, with the aim of establishing Leeds as a sector leader in teaching practice and scholarship. It provides funding, time and support for current and future student education leaders to develop their profile at the University, and to carry out research and innovation projects with internal and external impact.

Speaking about her appointment, Professor Overton said: “I’m both delighted and excited in equal measures to be offered the chance to lead LITE into its new phase of development.

“I want to make LITE essential to educators at Leeds – to continue to build this thriving community and enhance its impact on the student experience, as well as the reputation of Leeds for excellence in education in the sector.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Tom Ward, said: “Professor Overton is a world-renowned leading light in pedagogic research, so this is a real coup for the University and LITE.

“I’m grateful to Dr Rafe Hallett for his leadership of LITE during its first few years, and to Dr Kelvin Tapley, who has done an excellent job as Interim Director. Under his leadership, LITE has expanded its impact and has adapted to external pressures and strategic demands with great skill. Kelvin will continue to play a leading role in the education infrastructure at Leeds.

“I’m sure Tina will build on these strong foundations and help establish the University as an international leader in pedagogic research and debate.”

Expertise in the student journey 

With a PhD in Experimental Particle Physics from the University of Manchester, Dr Edgar’s expertise in the student journey comes from her previous roles, which feature a core of student recruitment, admissions and widening participation alongside broader roles and responsibilities across student services, communications, service enhancement and teaching quality. Most recently, she has been the Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Edgar said: “I’m delighted to be joining the University as Director of Student Opportunity. 

“I will be focussed on supporting the University with our drive to continually develop the outstanding opportunities available for our students, embedding this within our education offer. I’m really looking forward to working with colleagues right across our University community – staff, students, partners and advocates – on this exciting and important agenda. 

“I’m already enjoying the warmth of the Leeds welcome. So, thank you and do say ‘hello’ if you spot me (getting lost!) around campus.”

Professor Ward said: “I’m delighted Dr Christina Edgar is joining us. She brings in wide experience from Warwick, Reading and Sheffield Universities. 

“Together with Catherine Lorigan, Director of Student Operations, Christina will lead our Student Education Service in its mission to deliver an exceptional student educational experience in a sustainable and efficient way.

“I’m grateful to Robert Partridge for his leadership of Student Opportunity to the end of 2017, and to the Student Opportunity Section Heads, who have managed so effectively during 2018.”

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