Professor Debra Willison

Deputy Associate Principal

Pure and Applied Chemistry


Personal statement

Current Responsibilities

Seconded to the Office of the Vice Principal (2017-present)

Undertake duties to support the Vice Prinicpal's portfolio in Learning and Teaching.

Chair of Strathclyde Online (2017-present)

Committee which oversees the coordination and development of digital education activity across the institution with the aim of realizing opportunities, maximizing connectivity and support.

Vice Dean Academic, Faculty of Science (2015-present)

Responsible for the strategic development of teaching and learning in the Faculty of Science, playing a key role in the development of the Faculty academic plan and guiding departments in determining their academic strategy to support this plan.

Key areas of activity include:

  • student recruitment
  • curriculum development
  • learning enhancement
  • retention
  • widening participation
  • quality assurance


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Research Interests

My research interests centre on the enhancement of learning and teaching within the following areas of focus: 

  • Student Transitions in Higher Education
  • Students as Partners in Academic Development
  • Personal Development Planning
  • Employability
  • Widening Participation

Previously, my research profile centred on the synthesis of ferrocene derivatives and metal carbonyl complexes and their use as chiral auxiliaries in asymmetric synthesis.

Professional Activities

Enhancing Student Employability Through Engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.....and Beyond
Lancaster University
Visiting researcher
The Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Visiting researcher
raghda hmoud alfaouri
Perspectives on Enhancing Student Transition into Higher Education and Beyond
Pedagogy & Leadership in Higher Education Subtheme Launch Event

More professional activities


A Scottish perspective on the barriers to progression into, and through, Chemistry HE for those from deprived backgrounds
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator) Scott, Fraser (Principal Investigator)
04-Jan-2023 - 03-Jan-2024
Student Mental Health and Anxiety as a Hidden Disability in UK Chemistry Labs
Thomson, Patrick (Principal Investigator) Scott, Fraser (Co-investigator) Willison, Debra (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2025
Enhancing Chemistry and Science Career Motivation in Scottish Primary Learners.( Outreach Fund - Large Grants 2023)
Scott, Fraser (Principal Investigator) Walker, Sarah (Co-investigator) Willison, Debra (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
EPSRC IAA: Vlog Outreach Project
Scott, Fraser (Principal Investigator) Willison, Debra (Co-investigator) Walker, Sarah (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2024
Decolonising the Science Curriculum
Morrissey, Sean (Co-investigator) Carlysle, Felicity (Principal Investigator) Willison, Debra (Co-investigator)
QAA Scotland funded project
A Success Infrastructure for a Diverse Student Community
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator) English, Rosanne (Principal Investigator)
QAA funded research project for 2 student interns (£1000)
03-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2022

More projects

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Professor Debra Willison
Deputy Associate Principal
Pure and Applied Chemistry

Tel: 548 3281