Dr Emma Heron

Dr Emma J Heron PhD, SFHEA

Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment, College of Social Sciences and Arts


As College Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment, I lead in the areas of student voice on, and co-creation of, assessment and feedback, student engagement and student reps, developing employability and graduate attributes in the curriculum, technology-enhanced learning, international student mobility, and academic advising. I work closely with colleagues from across the university and enjoy meeting a variety of student groups. 

My teaching focuses on developing skills and transitions in, through and out of higher education. I have been an academic adviser for many years and have recently been externally accredited for this role. I have a keen interest in the applied nature of learning. I lead on a work placement module for social science students and am currently undertaking external accreditation for the development of employability in the HE curriculum. 

I am an external examiner for work place learning. My research focuses on the student experience of higher education and in particular listening to genuine student voice. Current work includes leading on university-wide research gathering student voice through my Listening Rooms methodology, social science students' motivations around work placement experiences, and the relationship between alumni and academic advisers.


I have worked at Sheffield Hallam since September 1999 and have held a number of different and varied academic roles during this time. A common connection between all of these roles is my passion for student learning and an appreciation of the need to understand and improve the student journey from entry through to exit and beyond. I am passionate about the holistic experience of the student and I am acutely aware of the need and responsibility of higher education to enable students to travel through their degree with confidence, resilience and enquiry. Throughout my entire time here, I have taught students at undergraduate and postgraduate level on social science modules as well as develop, lead and teach on transition modules and work placement.

My current role sees me working at College level across six academic departments on areas of curriculum design, course development, student voice and academic advising. I work closely with the Students' Union on activities concerning Course, Department and College Reps. I am involved with supporting staff undertaking research on student experience projects for their departments. I line manage the College's e-learning team and take an active interest in how technology can enhance student learning and staff teaching practice.

For the four years before this, I was the Head of Academic Development for the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics. This role saw me take strategic responsibility at Departmental level for learning, teaching and assessment and student experience, including responses to key survey metrics. I line managed the departmental Quality Lead and Employability Lead as well as developing a successful academic development leadership group, which benefited from representation from the Students Union, library services, e-learning team and key staff from the department. 

I have been Subject Group Leader (Politics) for a year and a half and enjoyed line managing and work planning 7 staff and developing the course together. Before this, I was the Departmental QSME Lead for 3 years, which was my Principal Lecturer promotion. Here I got to see the connections between quality assurance and quality enhancement. I also developed, with the then College's Head of Quality, a student guide on how to avoid allegations of cheating in academic work. In July 2012, I organised and ran an HEA subject workshop at Sheffield Hallam on 'New Developments in Placement Learning (Politics)'. For the two years prior to this, I took on a new role in the College as Learning Hub Manager. This was job-shared with a professional services colleague and it was our task to develop the concept and realisation of staff and student enhanced experience of virtual and physical learning spaces. 

My earliest days at Hallam saw me take on the role of course leader for the Politics degree, as well as gaining SWAP (HEA) funding for exploring aspects of internationalising student work experiences. I have a real interest in gardening and garden design, although my enthusiasm outweighs any practical ability.

Specialist areas of interest

Student experience
Student voice
Higher Education pedagogy


Subject area



BA (Hons) Politics
BA (Hons) Applied Social Science
BA (Hons) Sociology


I teach and module lead the work placement module for Politics, Applied Social Science and Sociology students, which is now in its seventh year. This is a module open to second year students. I have always maintained involvement with the professional, personal and academic development of students through specific modules at Levels 4, 5 and 6. I have supervised undergraduate social science dissertations as well as taught on modules concerning welfare theory and British politics.


Current research projects

Listening Rooms at Sheffield Hallam

Collaborators and sponsors



Other activities

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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