Category: Teaching staff

Dr Liz Elvidge, Head of Postdoc and Fellows Development, and Imperial Council member

Dr Liz Elvidge

For Women at Imperial Week, we are profiling Liz Elvidge and Rasha Dabagh who are both members of the Council, Imperial’s governing body.

“Throughout my career I have always been passionate in supporting women, and I’ve had great opportunities at Imperial to do this.”

I started at Imperial on 5 May 2008. It was not the nicest first day I’ve ever had – dirty coffee cups on the desk, a broken chair and desktop. I almost didn’t come back for the next day! Anyway, clearly I did. In 2009 I launched the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre, the first of its kind in the UK. The Centre is dedicated to providing support, and development opportunities for our Postdocs and Fellows. Nearly 16 years later, I’m still head of the Centre.

I also introduced the Springboard Women’s Development Programme to the university, which is a programme for any female members of staff who want to set goals, build confidence and network. It has had a huge impact on the participants. Throughout my career I have always been passionate in supporting women, and I’ve had great opportunities at Imperial to do this.

In 2015 I was awarded the Dame Julia Higgins Medal for ‘outstanding support for early career researchers and academics’. It was an absolute career highlight. The medal was presented at the Graduation Ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall. I didn’t know I had been nominated so it was such a lovely surprise. Nine years later, there has been significant effort via the Athena Swan work to support women, but I think there is much work still to do – particularly for early career academic women. There are of course examples of excellence across the university, but this can be very variable.

Last year I was appointed to Imperial’s Council in the new membership position, drawn from Imperial’s academic job family. I applied because I wanted to have the opportunity to represent both the academic job family, and women at the highest level at Imperial. The appointment of four women to the Council has been a significant step forward.

Outside of Imperial I’m a newly appointed Magistrate, which is both rewarding and interesting. I live in a small village in Cambridgeshire with approximately 130 houses, but no facilities, shop, bus service or school. But I am very much embedded in the community. For example we have a monthly pop-up pub on the first Friday of the month, so you’ll find me serving behind the bar (kitchen hatch). I also co-ordinate the speedwatch volunteers group that monitors car speeds through the village – I love a high-vis jacket.

Finally, I’m been committed to fundraising for Cancer Research UK since 1998. Last year I did the skipping challenge. This month I’ll be doing the ‘Walk all over cancer’ challenge.

Look out for our second Women at Imperial Week profile which, will be published on Wednesday.

Women at Imperial Week graphic

Dr Stephanie Hodeib, Teaching Fellow, Department of Immunology and Inflammation

“Celebrating LGBT+ History Month is crucial to acknowledging and appreciating the diverse contributions of the community throughout history.”

As a recently appointed Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, my professional journey has been a blend of education and career growth. I embarked on this journey by completing a PhD in the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial. There I developed the skills that paved the way for my current role, principally by teaching fundamental lab skills. During my PhD I gained experience in teaching by working with taught courses and providing teaching support. This allowed me to successfully achieve the Fellowship of Higher Education.

In my current role, I focus on developing wet laboratory skills in students, and evolving their ability to critically think about the scientific method in an objective manner. My teaching is also about bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world applications. It’s about making science come alive in the laboratory, but with a strong focus on immunology and infection. The impact of my work is evident in the growth and proficiency of students. Witnessing their progress is immensely rewarding, and their feedback informs me of how transferrable, and important, the skills they develop are in their future education and careers. (more…)

Dr Tilly Collins, Senior Teaching Fellow, Centre for Environmental Policy 

“I publish on a wide range of topics as well as being passionate about training and supporting new generations of sustainability scientists.”

As a teenager I thought I would become a fashion designer, which was a distinct improvement from wanting to be a horse. But after studying at Chelsea School of Art and ten years working in event design and management, I changed direction completely, went to agricultural college and moved into arboriculture, entomology and ecological science.  

This diverse background and my voracious curiosity has led to a multidisciplinary path and I publish on a wide range of topics as well as being passionate about training and supporting new generations of sustainability scientists.   

The variety of roles I hold leads to real variation in tasks and some days find me concentrating on teaching, whilst other days are a juggle of meetings, advice, research and writing. I also chat a lot and have an unsung role as ‘departmental glue’ mediated via informal channels.  

My advocacy for edible insects often leads to media appearances as do my designs for urban air pollution mitigation. Alongside Caroline Howe, I lead research into Sustainable Viticulture Futures – a recent research growth area within the Centre for Environmental Policy’s Transdisciplinary Centre for Nature & People. With climate change, rural land uses are adapting, the area under grapevines is changing, and this creates a huge opportunity for improving sustainability of practice in social, economic and ecological dimensions. Four members of the ‘wine group’ recently presented their work at the British Ecological Society’s Ecology Across Borders conference to substantial international interest.  

When not at Imperial, I am very social. I garden, provide advice on urban ecology and care for my three teenage children. 22 million people have now watched a TikTok made by one of my teens (Blue Gray) of ‘Dyeing Mum’s hair purple’ and I remain perplexed. The slow and wobbly return to an adapted new-normal and more face-to-face interactions is very welcome. 

Dr Tiffany Chiu, Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Development, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS)

“For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice.”

I work in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship where I co-lead the PG Cert in University Learning and Teaching which enhances staff learning, teaching and assessment practices. I previously taught research and academic writing skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of East London. I found it fascinating to shift from teaching students to teaching staff. For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice and can explain the educational rationales and pedagogies that underpin their activities. 

I am currently also Principal Investigator for the Supporting the Identity Development of Underrepresented Students (SIDUS) which aims to promote inclusion and support success for STEMM students from underrepresented groups. Our team conducted 110 interviews with underrepresented students to explore their lived experiences, including their successes, challenges and opportunities. We are currently working with three brilliant StudentShapers students, to develop pedagogical materials to promote inclusion, educational aspirations and student success. I am very excited to see how our materials can support staff and students!