Zoe Patterson

Zoe Patterson


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Design Education

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August 2012 - August 2015

UG Director within the School of Design


Undergraduate Director (Design)

Role Details

Role title: Director of Undergraduate Programmes, Design (UGT) School/Support Department: Edinburgh College of Art 

Term of assignment - Normally up to 3 years with the possibility of extension to 5 years at the discretion of the Head of Subject Area and ECA Principal.

Workload allocation is between 0.2 – 0.4 FTE and will vary depending on the size of the School and number of UG students.

Role Purpose

First point of contact with ECA and UG Teaching Office for Design in relation to all undergraduate business. The role of UG Director, Design is to oversee progression of UG students on all of Design’s undergraduate programmes and lead on enhancement of the undergraduate learning experience, ensuring Design/ECA are regulations-compliant at all points. You should also foster a good undergraduate community and environment within Design; have overall care for the undergraduate community; recruit and retain undergraduate students; administer paperwork as necessary and contribute to evolving UG strategy within Design and the wider ECA.

You will be required to undertake specific tasks applicable to Design, but typically this role involves the following responsibilities:

Main Responsibilities

Represent Design on the following committees which meet approximately twice each Semester. There is paperwork to be read before the meetings and you should use the meeting to bring forward initiatives for UG matters and respond to initiatives coming from other directions (sometimes taking these to staff meetings to ensure staff are aware or for discussion). HSS UG L&T committee (CUGLT) decides strategy for discussion and implementation at HSS school level and ECA UG studies committee connects directly to this group. Any major changes to programmes and courses or new programmes and courses need to be brought forward by you to the UG Board of Studies (and in some cases then to CHSS for approval). You should cascade information and directions from the Committee to colleagues in your subject area and ensure that they are acted upon.

Co-ordinate and contribute towards undergraduate information for the University undergraduate website, prospectus, programme brochures, etc. relating to your Subject Area which includes sharing up-to-date images of undergraduate work or events for use by CAM. Attend UG Open days, e-Open days, Induction and Welcome events and all training as necessary.

Programme and Course operation and development

Work with the ECA UG Director overseeing the operation and development of all UG programmes within Design.  Work with ECA Undergraduate Teaching Organisation in the development and enhancement of support for UG teaching activities. Act as a contact point and lead/support development of ECA wide (and where appropriate subject level) UG policies and processes including contributing to roll out of University-wide projects, eg, Shared Academic Timetabling, SMART, KIS etc


Overall responsibility for the consistency and accuracy of Undergraduate Handbooks within Design in liaison with UG Programme Directors and ECA Undergraduate Teaching Office. These are vital because they contain our regulations, assessment procedures, criteria, etc.

Timeframe: In practice this means that in June – you will meet ECA Undergraduate Office and review the Handbook together, making changes as necessary. The Handbooks must be available no later than late August for the start of the next academic session

Personal Tutor / Enhancing Student Support

You will be a key point of contact for UG Personal Tutors in Design; working with the ECA Senior Tutor to ensure PTs are fully trained and supported to carry out all PT tasks.  You may work with Programme Directors (or delegate to them) responsibility for resolving complex cases; especially regarding progression.

Student Representatives Meetings

Ensure regular meetings take place with relevant members of staff in Design and UG student reps.

QA, auditing, enhancement

Ensure all QA forms are completed by staff and students as appropriate in a timely fashion and oversee responses to External Examiners' reports

Planning and Organising

Assist the Head of Design to plan and organise the direction of Undergraduate Studies and UG business in Design and contribute to planning and organising for ECA UG business as appropriate, including contributing to development and coordination of UG recruitment, recruitment strategy and admissions processes.

Contribute to the School of Design and ECA strategic planning regarding UG matters.

Participate as Reviewer for School of Design Annual Review

Decision Making

Lead in the development of strategic planning and developing initiatives relating to Undergraduate studies in Design and contribute to these at ECA Undergraduate Committees. There is paperwork to be read and responded to before the meeting. You should use the meeting to submit papers on relevant Undergraduate matters from Design that relate to ECA as a whole and respond to initiatives raised in the Committee. Communicate and implement the decisions of ECA’s Undergraduate Committee to the School of Design

Contribute to policy decisions made at other committees and on ECA level operational matters.

Key Contacts/Relationships

Head of Design, School of Design Directors for PGR/PGT/Research/Outreach, Design UG academics (including Programme Directors)

ECA colleagues, in particular the ECA UG Director and ECA Undergraduate Teaching Organisation

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The role holder is likely to have experience as a Programme Director or Course Leader and will be capable of taking a Subject Area and ECA- wide approach to the policy and developmental areas of the role, and of working effectively and constructively both within Design, ECA and beyond.

Role Context and any other relevant information

The role holder will also undertake academic duties pertaining to their substantive role in Design, making due allowance for the time commitment to the role.


Academic Project Sponsor - eca

November 2020 - July 2021

The University defines the Academic Project Sponsor role as follows:

The Academic Project Sponsor is required to ensure that the project is focused on achieving its objectives and delivering the forecast benefits.  The Academic Project Sponsor has to ensure that the project gives value for money and adopts a cost effective approach which balances the demands of the University, users, and suppliers.  Throughout the project the Academic Project Sponsor is responsible for the business case and needs to be able to take a balanced view of the project on behalf of both ECA and the wider University.

This role will normally be undertaken by someone operating at a senior level within ECA, with significant experience and a proven ability to work successfully with a range of colleagues.  The expected workload will be 0.1FTE for a year, fixed-term, and buyout will be agreed with the Head of Subject Area.  However, due to the nature of the project, the work is likely to be concentrated in bursts at various moments of the year.

The responsibilities of the Academic Project Sponsor will include: 

  • Providing direction and guidance for strategies and initiatives to the Project Manager, who will be assigned by the project and who is likely be based in ISG or Student Systems, as advised by ECA RASG (Recruitment and Admissions Strategy Group), which will effectively be the Project Board;
  • Working with the Project Manager to develop the Project Brief, working closely with ECA RASG and ECA EDI to develop and agree an ECA position on portfolio (purpose; norms at UG/PG and across programmes etc.).  This will involve meeting with key stakeholders in a range of programmes and across UG and PGT and developing a network of portfolio users;
  • Checking that the benefits of the project are identified and being achieved;
  • Facilitating go/no-go decisions throughout the development process or presenting options to RASG for key decisions;
  • Working with RASG to evaluate the project's success upon completion;
  • Supporting ECA RASG to negotiate funding for the project;
  • Contributing to effective project planning, and ensuring that such plans are produced in a timely manner;
  • Reviewing and approving changes to plans, priorities, deliverables, schedules and more;
  • Identifying and appointing project board advisors (where required) ;
  • Work with RASG to gain agreement among stakeholders when differences of opinion occur, working within ECA agreed portfolio requirements (and purpose), and representing the wide range of Subject Areas and colleagues across ECA at all project meetings;
  • Assisting the project when required (especially in an out-of-control situation) by working with RASG to exert organisational authority and  influence;
  • Helping to resolve inter-project boundary issues;
  • Helping the Project Manager in conflict resolution;
  • Advising the Project Manager of protocols, political issues, and potential sensitivities;
  • Making the project visible within ECA, working with ECA Communications & Engagement team to develop guidance templates for applicants to programmes that require portfolios;
  • Encouraging involvement and building and maintaining ongoing commitment through effective communication strategies with ECA RASG and key stakeholders to develop good practice guidance for academic selectors.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, Northumbria University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988


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