Dr Debra Willison

Principal Teaching Fellow

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

Current Responsibilities

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

Director for the Centre for Forensic Science (2016-present)

Provide leadership for staff within the Centre in the areas of teaching and knowledge exchange.


BGE Pupils: Analysis of Soils in Scottish Schools (SPELT)
Willison Debra, Davidson Christine
ELIR Reflective Analysis 2018
Willison Debra, Milligan Catherine, Gould Helyn, Green Brian, Watt Gill
A study to assess the work experience and placement activity within the faculty of science at the University of Strathclyde
Willison Debra
3rd International Enhancement Themes Conference (2017)
Excellence in teaching
Willison Debra
HEA STEM Conference (2017)
Enhancing student transition from study to employment through student driven engagement with alumni (SPELT)
Willison Debra
How to overcome barriers to student engagement with work based placements (SPELT) : stage two
Willison Debra

more publications

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

University of Central Lancashire
Visiting researcher
How Safe is your Playground? Analysing Soil in Scottish Schools
Scottish Government (External organisation)
Monash University
Visiting researcher
University of South Australia
Visiting researcher
Higher Education and Industry STEM Coordination Group (External organisation)

more professional activities


Enhancing Student Transition from Study to Employment Through Student Driven Engagement with Alumni
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator)
QAA funding to allow a student intern to support the establishment of Alumni Clubs in each department in Science.
05-Jan-2017 - 03-Jan-2018
The Importance of Industrial Experience in Student Employability
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator)
QAA funding to support student intern to research the breadth of industrial experience in Science and devise resources for students.
05-Jan-2016 - 03-Jan-2017
Supporting Students Entering University via Non Traditional Pathways
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator) Langford, Nigel (Co-investigator)
QAA funding to support two student interns to carry out a survey of students and create a suite of resources to support their transition into higher education.
05-Jan-2015 - 05-Jan-2015
Personal Development Planning (PDP) - Tackling Student Buy-in
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator) Bonnar, Lizann (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 04-Jan-2014
Internationalisation: Harnessing International Alumni to Improve International Opportunities for Students
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator)
Alumni and Development Office funding (£5000) allowed the engagement of two marketing student interns to develop materials to support international engagement.
01-Jan-2014 - 25-Jan-2014
Increase International Student Recruitment
Willison, Debra (Principal Investigator)
ISRIF funding to support the engagement of two student interns to support international recruitment
01-Jan-2014 - 31-Jan-2014

more projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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