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

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Leadership Team

The members of the team who lead on and co-ordinate the services offered by the UCL Arena Centre to help all of UCL enhance their educational provision and develop professionally.

Dr Sam Smidt in UCL Arena
Professor Sam Smidt, PFHEA

Academic Director

Email: s.smidt@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6451 (internal: 56451)

I am Director of the UCL Arena Centre so lead on the strategy related to educational development at UCL and on the support of academic staff in enhancing their learning and teaching practice. 

A particle physicist by background, with many years’ experience in online and distance education at the Open University, I have worked on developing and implementing learning and teaching policy.  

I also have several years’ experience working in international education projects, particularly in capacity building projects in Central Asia and in Bangladesh.

I work closely with the following departments to enhance their education provision:

  • English Language and Literature
  • European Social and Political Studies
  • History
  • UCL Medical School

My areas of active research include

Contact me about

  • Strategy and leadership of the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education.
  • Personal tutoring at UCL.
  • Educational enhancement in the departments/faculties listed above.


Dr Jenny Griffiths in UCL Arena
Dr Jennifer Griffiths, SFHEA

Associate Director (Professional Development and Resources), Principal Teaching Fellow

Email: j.griffiths@ucl.ac.uk

I oversee the UCL Arena Centre’s work on:

My remit also covers Masters level skills modules delivered by the Arena Centre. 

Prior to joining the Arena Centre, I worked in Medical Physics research and Engineering Education. I have significant experience of developing new cross-disciplinary programmes that embed active and authentic learning and assessments to develop students’ understanding and skills, especially at Postgraduate level. I have delivered workshops and presentations internationally on Engineering Education and Authentic Assessment.

I work closely with the following departments and faculties to enhance their education provision:

  • UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences

My areas of active education research include

  • Engineering education.
  • Authentic Assessment
  • Postgraduate taught student experience.

Dr Jenny Griffiths on Iris.

Contact me about

  • Arena Fellowships (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA, PFHEA).
  • The UCL Education Conference
  • Educational enhancement in the faculty of Medical Sciences
  • PGT student experience
  • Developing authentic assessment


Alex Standen
Dr Alex Standen, SFHEA

Associate Director (Early Career Academic and Research Supervisor Development), Principal Teaching Fellow (on maternity leave)

Email: a.standen@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6454 (internal: 56454)

I have oversight of all of the UCL Arena Centre’s activity around the professional development of research staff and early career academics. 

This includes:

I work closely with the UCL Doctoral School to lead on the development and training of UCL research supervisors .

I first joined UCL in 2013 in a student support and engagement role in the Faculty of Brain Sciences, prior to which I taught Italian and European Studies at the Universities of Birmingham and Auckland.

I work closely with the following departments and faculties to enhance their education provision:

  • Faculty of Population Health Sciences
  • Arts and Sciences BASc
  • Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management
  • Bartlett School of Planning
  • School of European Languages, Culture and Society

My areas of active research include

  • Research student development.
  • Supervisory relationships.

Dr Alex Standen on Iris.

Contact me about

  • Research supervision.
  • PhD students and Postdocs who teach (including Arena One) – please contact arena.one@ucl.ac.uk in the first instance.
  • Early Career Academic development (including Arena Two) – please contact arena.two@ucl.ac.uk in the first instance.
  • Educational enhancement in the departments/faculties listed above.

My working days are Monday to Thursday.


Brent Carnell
Dr Brent Carnell, SFHEA

Associate Director (Early Career Academic and Research Supervisor Development), Principal Teaching Fellow

Email: b.carnell@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 9147 (internal: 59147)

I currently oversee the Leading Change in Education programme, the senior leadership development programme for those with high-level education responsibilities.

I teach on the UCL Arena Two programme, assess applications for fellowship, lead the UCL Education Conference, and support departments carrying out education development as a result of actions identified in the annual quality review process. 

In the past I have led on enabling research-based education across the institution. 

My research focuses on learning spaces, which is also the research focus of my two doctoral students. 

I also coordinate a module on the BSc Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies, in The Bartlett School of Architecture.

I work closely with the following departments and faculties to enhance their education provision:

  • UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Division of Medicine
  • Institute of Archaeology
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Political Science
  • School of Slavonic and East European Studies

My areas of active research include

  • Learning Spaces in Higher Education.

Dr Brent Carnell on Iris.

Contact me about


simon_walker_web_ready_200x200.jpg
Professor Simon Walker, PFHEA, NTF HEA

Academic Lead

Emailsimon.walker@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0) 203 108 8099 (internal: 58099)

I support educational enhancement across UCL, leading educational strategy initiatives on assessment and feedback and programme design.

Prior to joining UCL, I was Head of Educational Development at the University of Greenwich where I led a wide range of university policies and strategies. These included:

  • Greenwich Graduate Attributes Initiative
  • Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy
  • Personal Tutoring Policy
  • New Arrivals and Transition Policy
  • Greenwich Connect, the University’s Pedagogical Research Strategy (GRIP), and;
  • TEF submission. 

I set up and co-led the Students as Change Agents UK Network in 2013, which continues to flourish. My current international work includes working on British Council/ World Bank projects in Bangladesh, and in Nigeria.

I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold a National Teaching Fellowship for my contribution to the field of Learning Design, commended by Google in 2012, and shortlisted for a Guardian Higher Education Award for Digital Innovation in 2018.

Recent publications

Simon Walker, Emily Salines, Abdillahi Abdillahi, Sharon Mason, Aanesh Jadav & Catherine Molesworth (2019) Identifying and resolving key institutional challenges in feedback and assessment: a case study for implementing change, Higher Education Pedagogies, 4:1, 422-434, DOI: 10.1080/23752696.2019.1649513

Walker,S., McKenna, D., Abdillahi A., Molesworth, C (2017) Examining predictors of retention with implications for TESTA@Greenwich. Journal of Educational Innovation Partnership and Change. Vol 3 Number 2 Journal. DOI: 10.21100/jeipc.v3i1.607

Contact me about

  • Assessment and feedback
  • Curriculum design
  • Programme leadership
  • Staff-student partnership.