Teaching & Learning


Initiatives and resources supporting the objectives of UCL's Education Strategy 2016-21


UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education

We showcase inspirational practice from across UCL and lead three major cross-UCL initiatives: Connected Curriculum, UCL Arena and UCL ChangeMakers.

UCL Arena Centre, led by Academic Director Dr Sam Smidt, works closely with the Vice-Provost for Education and Student Affairs, Professor Anthony Smith, and his team as well as with academic and professional colleagues from across UCL to develop engaging, research-based approaches to education, in line with the UCL Education Strategy 2016-21 and UCL 2034 strategy.  UCL Arena Centre holds Institutional SEDA membership.  

We lead three major cross-UCL initiatives:

  • UCL Connected Curriculum – embedding research and enquiry in all levels of the student’s learning 
  • UCL Arena – resources, networks and development for UCL staff who teach
  • UCL ChangeMakers – students and staff working in partnership to enhance learning

Follow our work on Twitter @UCLArena.

We support education enhancement and programme development at department or faculty level offering workshops, consultancy activities and other support: find out more about the support we offer.

Meet the team

Academic Director


Dr Sam Smidt in UCL Arena
Dr Sam Smidt, PFHEA

Sam takes a lead for postgraduate and personal tutoring matters. A particle physicist by background, with many years’ experience in online and distance education at the Open University, Sam has worked on developing and implementing learning and teaching policy.  Sam also has several years’ experience working as part of a large consortium developing e-learning platforms and pedagogies in Central Asia.

Email: s.smidt@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6451; Ext: 56451

Teaching Fellows


Dr Brent Carnell, SFHEA

Principal Teaching Fellow

Brent leads on enabling the UCL Connected Curriculum – UCL’s distinct approach to research-based education. He also supports education enhancement in The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, where he coordinates a third year undergraduate module on the Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies programme. His research currently focuses on the relationship between physical university spaces and institutional education strategy. 

Responsible for: UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment

Email: b.carnell@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 9147; Ext: 59147

Dr Jason Davies, SFHEA

Senior Teaching Fellow

Jason oversees the Provost's Teaching Awards on behalf of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs) and liaises closely with the UCL Institute of Education. He has been at UCL for over twenty years in a number of research and teaching roles across the Humanities and Social Sciences, and currently publishes on education-related areas such as threshold concepts.

Responsible for: UCL Institute of Education

Email: j.p.davies@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6457; Ext: 56457

Dr Nick Grindle, SFHEA

Senior Teaching Fellow

Nick leads UCL Arena Two and works with the Faculties of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences, and SSEES. Nick joined UCL Arena Centre in September 2011 from the History of Art department. He has also taught and been a consultant at the Open University and lectured at Oxford Brookes University, Imperial College and Birkbeck.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Social & Historical SciencesUCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Email: n.grindle@ucl.ac.uk; Phone: 020 3108 6458; Ext: 56458

Mr Jesper Hansen, SFHEA

Senior Teaching Fellow

Jesper leads Arena One, which is a development pathway for postgraduate teaching assistants (PGTAs). It consists of the mandatory Gateway Workshops and the optional Teaching Associate Programme (TAP). After completing TAP participants can submit an application for Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jesper joined the Arena Centre in 2016, but he has been at UCL since 2010, when he began teaching in UCL Scandinavian Studies.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Laws

Email: j.hansen@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6455; Ext: 56455

Dr Jenny Marie, PFHEA

Principal Teaching Fellow

Jenny is the Director of UCL ChangeMakers, which supports students and staff to work in partnership to enhance education at UCL. This includes project work and specific support for ASER Intensive departments, such as ASER facilitators working to ensure that the plans receive sufficient student input. Jenny has launched a pilot student consultancy scheme, where students will observe staff teaching and provide feedback and suggestions. She also leads UCL’s REACT team, who are investigating students that are harder for the university to engage and the barriers they face. Jenny also teaches on various strands of UCL Arena

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences

Email: j.marie@ucl.ac.uk, Phone: 020 3108 6456; Ext:56456

Dr Jenny Griffiths in UCL Arena
Dr Jennifer Griffiths, SFHEA

Principal Teaching Fellow

Jenny is leading on assessment and feedback initiatives across UCL in 2018. Prior to joining Arena, she worked in Medical Physics and Engineering research and education, and oversaw a review of postgraduate Masters teaching and student experience within the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. She has significant experience of development of new cross-disciplinary programmes that embed active and authentic learning and assessments to develop students’ understanding and skills. Her education research interests include engineering education and postgraduate taught student development.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Life Sciences

Email: j.griffiths@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 1055; Ext: 51055

Dr Mina Sotiriou, SFHEA

Senior Teaching Fellow

Mina works across UCL Arena Centre and Life Learning on quality assurance for all Life Learning courses such as CPDs, short courses, personal development and executive education. Mina has particular interest in the pedagogies of e learning. For the last two years, she has been working with UCL academics to develop short courses and programmes, across a range of disciplines, both in UCLeXtend, the online public platform, and UCL Moodle.  Most recently, Mina has been working alongside colleagues to create teaching toolkits to help build a cohesive suite of UCL-specific education design and development support resources.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences

Email: a.sotiriou@ucl.ac.uk, Phone: 020 7679 9146; Ext: 09146

Alex Standen
Dr Alex Standen, SFHEA

Principal Teaching Fellow

Alex leads UCL Arena Two, a development pathway for probationary Lecturers and Teaching Fellows. She teaches across the Arena programme and is also working closely with the Doctoral School on Research Supervisor development. Alex first joined UCL in 2013 in a student support and engagement role in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, prior to which she taught Italian and European Studies at the Universities of Birmingham and Auckland.

Email: a.standen@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6454; Ext. 56454

Dr Vincent Tong, PFHEA

Principal Teaching Fellow

Vincent is the strategic lead of the Connected Curriculum. As an active scientist leading a NERC research consortium and an educator with an academic background in both science and humanities, he is passionate about research-based education across a wide range of disciplines. He is also leading the R=T (Research equals Teaching) Consortium, in which students and academics work together as partners to inspire research-based education.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Email: vincent.tong@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6452; Ext: 56452

Dr Teresa McConlogue, SFHEA 

Principal Teaching Fellow

Teresa takes a lead on assessment and feedback, chairing the Connected Curriculum Assessment and Feedback working group and initiating the UCL Assessment Forum . She has developed a framework for involving students in assessment judgements and implementing peer assessment. Teresa works with equality and diversity groups at UCL to promote the work of the Connected Curriculum Liberating the Curriculum group which aims to ensure that knowledge from marginalised scholars is fairly represented in the curriculum.

Responsible for: UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences and UCL Faculty of Life Sciences

Professional Services

Amanda Greenslade

Head of Resources

Amanda leads the Professional Services team and works closely with the Professor of Higher Education Development and Academic Director on strategic planning for UCL Arena Centre. She also manages all aspects of Finance, Estates and Human Resources.

Email: a.greenslade@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6462; Ext: 56462

Valentina Barbaria

Arena One and Events Administrator

Valentina leads the administration of the UCL Arena One, Gateway workshops and the Teaching Associate Programme, which interacts with over 700 attendants every year.  She also co-ordinates UCL Arena Exchange seminars, run by UCL staff and external colleagues.  Prior to this, Valentina worked at Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at UCL Psyschology and Language Sciences.  

Email: valentina.barbaria@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6465; Ext: 56465

Lauren Hawkridge

Communications and Events Manager 

Lauren manages all communications within the department and works closely with the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs) team to distribute effectively across UCL.  Lauren manages the UCL Education Conference, UCL Education Awards, is an editor of the UCL Teaching and Learning Portal and writes the monthly UCL Education and Events newsletter.  Lauren is also responsible for the Twitter account @UCLArena.  Prior to this, Lauren worked at UCL Institute of the Americas.   

Email: l.hawkridge@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6464; Ext: 56464

Sonale Karadia

Deputy Head of Resources and EA to the Director

Sonale provides a dedicated executive support to the Centre Director and Head of Resources. She is responsible for providing complex diary management and delivering comprehensive administrative support on Finance, Human Resources, and Estates.  Sonale also works closely with the Principal Teaching Fellows and Teaching Fellows to provide administrative and operational support across the breadth of the Centre’s activities.

Email: s.karadia@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6463; Ext: 56463

Abbie King
Abbie King, FHEA

UCL ChangeMakers Manager

Abbie is the UCL ChangeMakers Manager, providing support to students and staff working in partnership with each other on educational enhancement projects at UCL. This includes project work, support for ASER Intensive departments and the Student Reviewers of Teaching initiative. 

Email: abbie.king@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6466; Ext: 56466

Peter Phillips

Arena and Evaluation Administrator

Peter leads on the administration of UCL Arena Two and UCL Arena Open. He collates and produces evaluation metrics for these pathways. 

Email: peter.phillips@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6468; Ext: 56468

Fiona Wilkie

Connected Curriculum Administrator

Fiona is the main contact for UCL Connected Curriculum and leads on all aspects of administration.  She works closely with academic leads, organises working groups and co-ordinates events and conferences. 

Email: f.wilkie@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 020 3108 6469; Ext: 56469

Dr Rosalind Duhs, PFHEA

Ros retired as Director of UCL Arena in December 2016. Since then she’s drawn on her academic background in university teaching on a range of projects at UCL. Her PhD was a study of the experience of academic staff learning to teach in higher education in Sweden and England. She helped to set up a centre for the development of teaching and learning in higher education at Stockholm University, Sweden, where she was Associate Director and Programme leader. She’s currently supporting the work of Faculty leads on the BME Attainment Project. She’s also an ‘Advance HE’ (Higher Educational Academy) Accreditor and Consultant.

Current Seconded Fellows

Dr d'Reen Struthers, SFHEA

d’Reen is a seconded Senior Teaching Fellow for UCL Arena as well as a Lecturer in Primary education within Department for Learning and Leadership within the UCL Institute of Education. She teaches across Teaching Associate Programme (TAP), UCL Arena and also sits on HEA accreditation panels.  Previously at Roehampton University as a Principal lecturer for 11 years, her role included leading School-University partnerships, Training, development, and Teacher Inquiry. Additionally, her work in Mentoring continues to be recognised by Kingston University; she is the trainer for the Mentoring programme for Staff run by the Equalities Unit, since 2010/11. Birkbeck College, University of London, also draw on her training for their Athena Swan, Aurora and Trigger mentoring programmes.

Phone: 020 3108 6471; Ext: 56471

Jane Skirving, SFHEA

Jane is seconded to assist with the intrinsic delivery of the UCL Arena Programme.  She chairs the Arena Open Fellowship Scheme, teaches on the Teaching Associate Programme (TAP), Gateway Workshops and Introduction to teaching Post-doc students seminar and is an assessor across the HEA Fellowship Scheme. She is based at UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) and has taught both in the UK and abroad, and much of her work at CLIE involves teaching international students and supporting the large multicultural teaching team of full- and part-time staff.