Skip navigation to content

University LGBTIQ+ Staff Role Model Members

Launched on National Coming Out Day 11 Oct 2016, updated 7 Jun 2018.

Professor Paul Hibbert MBA PhD FHEA: Vice-Principal for Education (Proctor) - previously Dean of Arts & Divinity

Paul Hibbert

I am the Dean of Arts and Divinity and a Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews.  As Dean my role is largely focussed on offering collaborative leadership and support to ten academic schools, involving over 500 staff and more than 5000 students.  We all work together to support excellence in education and research.  I have a responsibility to help everyone in this diverse community to have the opportunity to do their best by managing processes and practices – and by sorting things out when complications arise.  Working with colleagues in the Proctor’s and Principal’s office, I also have responsibilities in relation to particular institutional partnerships, strategic projects and policy developments. 

My research (serendipitously) dovetails with my role as Dean, since it is focussed on collaborative and relational processes of organizing and learning. I remain research active, and I have been successful in publishing my work in leading journals and gathering awards from the Australia and New Zealand, British and US Academies of Management. I am also strongly committed to using research to enhance teaching and learning – I support that aim through my own research output, and service to journals and learned societies in editorial and leadership roles. I also work with research ‘users’, through providing collaborative learning and leadership workshops and training events for agencies in the local government and healthcare sectors. 

I am honoured to have the opportunity to help represent the LGBTIQ+ community in the University, and to support the University’s strong commitment to equality and diversity.

Professor Frances Andrews, BA, Phd, FRHistS. 

Frances Andrews

I am a professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews, currently one of the Senate Assessors elected to the University Court (2012-2019) and also a vice-president of the Royal Historical Society. It is a professional weakness to be interested in the past, so I have to mention that I have been working at St Andrews since 1995, when I arrived as a new lecturer, a year out from my PhD and one of very few women then working in the newly formed School of History and IR. The awareness of equality and diversity issues has improved beyond recognition in the many years since. For me personally, it was a great pleasure to be the first woman to be appointed a professor in the School of History (in 2009). Was I the first gay person? Who knows?

My civil partner and I both have busy careers: she is based in England and we spend a lot of time in airports or on train stations as a result, which means that time together is very precious. We celebrated our civil partnership in 2007 with a big party and lots of children around us, hoping to make it a memorable (and unsurprising) event for the next generation. 

My research focuses on the late middle ages in Europe, and in particular the wonderful history of Italy, which gives me a very welcome reason to travel there often, with or without my students. I have long taught courses on the way medieval Europeans marginalised or excluded different types of people, from heretics to sex workers to ‘homosexuals’ and the ‘others’ of the imagination. It isn’t a comforting story.

I am delighted to have been asked to help represent the LGBTIQ+ community in the University, and to support the University’s strong commitment to equality and diversity. 

(updated: May 2018)

Kirsten Mericka: OeAD-Lektorin in the German Department, School of Modern Languages

To begin with, I would like to say that I am honoured to help represent the LGBT+ community in the University even though I am not a permanent member of staff. 

I am the current OeAD-Lektorin (Österreichischer Austauschdienst/Austrian Agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research) in the Department of German. At St Andrews, I teach German languages classes from first to fourth year. 

My research interests lie within the field of foreign and second language acquisition and teaching. I currently focus on video projects. I also organise a couple of cultural events each academic year, for example the Austrian Short Film Festival or readings with Austrian authors. This year (2018), I am also co-organising the Cross-Sector Annual Language Conference. 

I am originally from Vienna, Austria and happy to tell you about the university and city life there. For my undergraduate degrees I studied Social Anthropology and Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna. My Master’s thesis in German as a Foreign and Second Language explored the motives of German learners in Brazil and the USA. 

I have lived in various countries and always sought out the respective feminist LGBT+ scene to actively engage in activities. In Vienna, I helped to establish a non-monosexual group for example. I’m glad there are some good organisations and groups in Scotland already, e.g. Bi & Beyond in Edinburgh. At the University of St Andrews, I am part of the LGBT+ Staff Network. At the moment, we are trying to increase our visibility. Feel free to email us if you are interested in more information about what we do: 

Dr Chris Hooley: Senior Lecturer in Theoretical Physics, Senate Assessor, and CM-CDT Operations Director 


Chris came to St Andrews as a Lecturer in 2005, and has been a Senior Lecturer since 2013.  He leads a research group in the theory of strongly correlated quantum systems, teaches several related topics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and is also Operations Director of the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics (CM-CDT).  

Chris is an active member and former branch president of the University and College Union, and a Senate Assessor on the University Court.  He is also a proud Honorary Vice-President of PhySoc, the University's student physics society.  Chris came out as a gay man in 1995, and he now undertakes representative work on LGBTIQ+ issues within the University, at the Scottish Trades Union Congress level, and within the international physics community.

Professor Aaron Quigley: Chair of Human Computer Interaction & Deputy Head of School of Computer Science 


In July 2010 Aaron became Professor in the Chair of Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science. He had previously worked in Australia, Japan, Germany, USA and Ireland. His work has seen him undertake roles as a software developer, visiting scientist, postdoctoral researcher, assistant lecturer, lecturer and associate professor.  

Aaron has been married to his husband Bradley since 2011 but they have been a couple for 19 years. They first met as students in the University of Newcastle in Australia where Aaron was undertaking his PhD while Brad was an undergraduate, in a different school. Staff and students celebrated Aaron and Brad's civil partnership and members of the school attended their special day (article by The Times on the ceremony).  

Before this life together has always presented difficulty. Aaron had a green card to work in the USA but in 2001, that was of no use to allow Brad to stay, so Aaron had to turn down a permanent job in a research lab in Boston while Brad didn’t take up a position in Harvard Law. In 2005, they had to appeal to the Minister for justice in Ireland to allow Brad to remain with Aaron. In December 2005, they were covered in the media as the first gay couple to be allowed stay in Ireland, where both could work. Each year until 2009 they had to visit the immigration office, with many puzzled looks from the local staff. Even by 2011, the UKBA wrote to Brad to inform him “you will be removed, you will be removed to Australia” due to an unclear visa application form. With Brexit, the concern returns as Brad is allowed to stay with Aaron as a European citizen exerting his rights to mobility, rights which are now under threat. 

Aaron is the director of SACHI, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group. His research interests include surface and multi-display computing, human computer interaction, pervasive and ubiquitous computing and information visualisation on which he has delivered over 50 invited talks. He is the ACM SIGCHI Vice President of Conferences, a board member of ScotlandIS and member of the MobileHCI steering committee. His research and development has been supported by the AHRC, JISC, SFC, NDRC, EU FP7/FP6, SFI, Smart Internet CRC, NICTA, Wacom, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and MERL. He has published over 150 internationally peer-reviewed publications, including edited volumes, journal papers, book chapters, conference and workshop papers and holds 4 patents.  

During his time in St Andrews he has been Deputy Head of School, served on the Teaching and Research Ethics Committee, Knowledge Exchange Group Committee and the Science/Medicine Promotions Panel. He has delivered two graduation addresses and one Science faculty welcome address along with being a speaker during the University's 600th anniversary celebrations in a Masterminds session. From 2012 - 2014, he was the Deputy Director and Director for Knowledge Exchange for the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA). 

"St Andrews has been a remarkable place to work where being gay is as unsurprising as being a Professor, life is too short for anything else."

Dr Elisabetta Girelli: Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

Elisabetta Girelli

I am a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. My work, both in regards to teaching and to research, has been focusing on issues of sexual and gender identity for a long time; Queer Theory and Studies is one of my chief fields of interests, and over the years I have hosted and/or participated in a variety of Queer-related events, from film screenings to Queer Question Time. I try (and usually succeed!) to include discussions of sexuality and gender in all my teaching.  

As a seemingly straight-identified woman, I discovered a long time ago that the social assumptions surrounding heterosexuality did not at all fit my life experience, and I realised the crucial difference between heterosexuality and heteronormativity. The latter term covers the series of social and cultural norms bearing on sexual and romantic relations with the opposite sex: a set of spoken and unspoken rules that may effectively oppress and coerce an individual, limit possibilities, and make one feel (so wrongly!!!) a misfit. These norms include, for example, the rule that if one is ‘straight’ one will not ever feel any sexual or romantic interest in a person of the same sex; the rule that one has sex 2.5 times a week, with a person of the opposite sex of course, and usually with the same person; even the rule that one MUST be interested in sex at all! In regards to this last point, I’ve become increasingly aware of the topic of asexuality and of the asexual community, and I feel very strongly that asexual-identified people need to feel their identity recognised and validated. 

Gender issues are of course equally crucial to my contestation of heteronormativity, and as a woman who has chosen not to have children, for example, I feel my choice is still questioned and criticised. I consider myself Queer because I do not, and will not, conform to social expectations placed on me in regards to my sexual and gender identity; I want to be who I am, I refuse to be boxed in a category, and I want to be free to change how I relate to sex and gender. The fluidity of Queer speaks to me, and it is one of the axes of my belief system: I celebrate difference, multiplicity, and non-conformity. You don’t have to conform. You don’t have to follow the rules. You make your own rules. I am always very happy to talk to any colleague (or indeed student!) who feels the need for a chat about any LGBTIQ+ issues – my office door is open, or you can email me. 

Anonymous staff member      

I was approached by my university’s Head of E&D to think about contributing a piece as part of the Stonewall Role Models initiative.  I was pleased that my colleague had asked me to do this as it made me appreciate how fortunate I am to work in a sector where I can be as open about my private life as straight employees are about theirs.  At first I said yes to my colleague without hesitation but then took a bit longer to think about it.  

Despite the fortunate position that I find myself in within the university sector, I had to remember that not everyone has that luxury in the private sector and that actually the person I had to consider more than anyone else was my husband.  He is part of a profession in which there are still deep-rooted prejudices about what it is to “be a man” or what types of jobs are “fit” for gay men.  I therefore suggested to my E&D colleague that I could still write something but make it anonymous.  

Because of the discrimination and prejudice that still exists in sections of global society, it’s all the more important that there are visible role models in our universities and that we can talk about our lives just like everyone else.  I just wish the very real and dangerous discrimination that exists all over the world didn’t prevent me from being one of those visible role models in my university.  Maybe one day things will get better but that day is yet to come.

Further online information:

LGBTIQ+ Staff Role Models logo




Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096