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University LGBTIQ+ Staff Role Model Members

Launched on National Coming Out Day 11 Oct 2016.

Professor Paul Hibbert MBA PhD FHEA

Paul Hibbert

Assistant Vice-Principal (Dean of Arts and Divinity) (2021-)

Text provided in Sep 2016 - 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

Text provided in May 2018 - 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. 

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


Text provided in Sep 2016 - 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.

Dr Elisabetta Girelli: Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

Elisabetta Girelli

Text provided in Jul 2017 - 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. 

Claire Scott: Sports Development Manager  

Claire Scott Role Models

I am currently the Sports Development Manager, Saints Sport. You will probably find me in or around the sport centre in my full time capacity, or as a volunteer. In my spare time I currently coach the Womens 2nd Football Team. I joined the University of St Andrews Sport and Exercise Department in 2016. This was my first post within tertiary education having come from working mainly within the Third Sector and Local Authorities across Scotland. One area of my work is to work with the Athletic Union’s 60+ Student Sport Clubs in creating an inclusive culture and how we can ensure the sport centre is a safe, warm and welcoming environment to the LGBTQ+ community.  As a member of this fantastic community, it was an exciting opportunity I could not wait to get started on!

This then prompted particular reflection around the support provided to our Saints Sport staff and service users. A few emails later, our friend from HR (EDI) asked if Saints Sport would be interested in becoming the first Sport Department in Scotland to sign up and complete the LGBT Youth Scotland Silver Charter to which my team and I jumped at the chance! The charter tool kit has really pushed our team to ensure we are delivering the best service and environment for our students, staff and community possible. I sit with a great group of Charter Champions from a range of Departments across the University including HR and student services. I am also the Saints Sport LGBT Champion for our Department and liaise regularly with student and staff on all things LGBTQ+.

I’m originally from the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides and now reside with my partner in Dundee, her name is also Claire, and we have the same middle name which can make family gatherings very confusing!

I am thrilled represent the LGBTIQ+ community in the University, and to support the University’s strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.


Kathryn Herschell: Equality and Diversity Awards Adviser

I’m Kathryn, and my pronouns are they/them or she/her. I joined the University of St Andrews in August 2021 to work in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team. I’m proud to be bi and am a vocal advocate for LGBTIQ+ people. I’m also neurodivergent, chronically ill, have an invisible disability, and have experience with mental health issues. I am delighted to be a visible bi role model at the University, and an ally to other minority and underrepresented groups.

Prior to coming to St Andrews, I have been a trade union equalities rep, set up staff networks for LGBTQ and disabled people, organised participation in Pride events, and delivered training on equality and diversity in education. I am conversant in BSL, which I studied a few years ago as part of improving accessibility at a previous workplace.

For me, being bi means that I can be attracted to people of all genders and none. When I was younger, I was ashamed of my orientation and didn’t talk about it because of the biphobia that’s present in so much of society. I was told bi people were greedy, attention-seeking, and unable to decide if they were gay or straight. It wasn’t until I met some other bi and queer people that I really started to realise that my identity is valid, and worthy of celebration. When I came out, I found not just acceptance, but community, supportiveness, and allyship.

Outside of work, I can usually be found wild swimming (yes, even in winter), riding my beloved e-bike, or crocheting. As someone who’s new to St Andrews, I’m keen to find out where the best coffee and gluten free cakes are to be found!

Further online information:

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Human Resources

University of St Andrews
Walter Bower House

St Andrews
KY16 0US
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096