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Alison PurvisAlison Purvis

I have over 25 years of experience in higher education. I am an Associate Dean Teaching and Learning and my role is to provide visible strategic leadership of teaching and learning within the College of Health, Wellbeing, and Life Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University. I am accountable for the student academic experience, and I support delivery of the University’s strategic aims and operational priorities for teaching and learning.

I have held a variety of leadership posts including the leadership of strategic projects at institutional, college and departmental levels. My current change projects for the University include developing clear module delivery models and initiating change for transformation in digital learning. My focus in these projects is to work collaboratively with colleagues to deliver change that improves the staff experience so that staff can, in turn, enhance the student experience.

On a personal note: I’m a cat and dog person simultaneously with two of each. I love pens and stationery and my handwriting is often mistaken for a printed font! My lifelong hobbies are reading and photography, and more recently I’ve become a certified drone pilot. My favourite place to be is next to, floating on, or swimming in the ocean.

Why vote for me?

I joined BELMAS in early 2023 when I came across it unexpectedly. The inclusive aims and ethos of the society chimed with my values, and I immediately signed up. I am at a point in my career where I want to contribute more outside of my university and into the wider educational leadership community. Equally, I want to learn from other colleagues across the education sector. Throughout my career I have taken opportunities to share my passion for learning development and to bring others with me in making positive change. It is this passion and commitment to educational leadership that I would bring to the BELMAS council.

When I joined BELMAS I had the intention to look out for opportunities to become more involved in the work that the society does. When the call for council nominations came out I recognised this would be a great opportunity for me to share my experience, skills, and enthusiasm by contributing as a council member. My approach to strategic leadership in higher education is based on a fundamental desire to improve the satisfaction, engagement, and enjoyment of practice for staff so that a positive impact is made, at scale, on the quality of the student learning experience. I always take shared and collaborative approach to learning and teaching development because this results in a feeling of ownership for all parties and increases the feeling of being valued as an individual.

My current research includes the use of technology to support learning and teaching including the use of social media in higher education, and collaborative approaches to the leadership of strategic technological implementation. Recently I have been developing approaches to staff engagement in anti-racist practice, including exploring the challenging topic of critical Whiteness. Demonstrating leadership with inclusive practice is important for me to visibly live my values at work. As a female leader I am always keen to increase the representation of women in leadership and my visible contribution to the council would continue to develop this theme for me. More recently I have become interested in neurodiversity and how valuing and promoting diversity in thinking can benefit everyone in an organisation.

I would like my contribution to the council to result in:

  • Increased visibility and awareness of BELMAS amongst the educational communities that we serve.
  • Increased impact of the work of BELMAS through this visibility and furthering activity into new networks.
  • A more active community and engagement between BELMAS members.

I am enthusiastically putting myself forward to contribute to the BELMAS Council.