Vice-Principal (People and Diversity)

The Vice-Principal (People and Diversity) is responsible for delivery of the University’s ambitions that equality, diversity, and inclusion should be at the heart of the St Andrews experience and all that we do.

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield (she/her) joined the University in June 2022 as Vice-Principal (People and Diversity).

A researcher by background, Rebekah worked in academia for a number of years researching homelessness and social exclusion, before joining the Scottish Government in 2001 to pursue a more applied research career. She became a senior civil servant (SCS) in 2008 serving in a variety of analytical and policy roles including as Chief Researcher and as Head of Higher Education and Learner Support.

As a member of the SCS, she led on several strategic advances including establishing and then working with the Commission on Widening Access to support a more comprehensive approach to enhancing access to university.

Rebekah left Government to become Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in September 2017, leading a programme of change to enhance the Society’s visibility, impact and reach through initiatives such as the RSE’s Women in Science Exhibition, a regular summer public engagement programme and establishing the RSE Post Covid Futures Commission to ensure learning from Covid to support a better future.

Rebekah is a member of the Board of Management of City of Glasgow College and a former trustee of the Scottish Book Trust and of the Centre for Homelessness Impact.

Educated at a non-selective state school, Rebekah holds a degree in Geography from the University of Oxford, an MPhil from the University of Central Lancashire, and a PhD from the University of Newcastle. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and an honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.