The Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme Mentee Development Event

Audience: Academic staff, Research staff, Research supervisors

Date: Thursday 30 May 2024

Times: 12.00 to 13.30

Key details: This event is invitation-only and open to all current and previous mentees of the Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme

Target audience

All current and previous mentees of the Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme

Qualifications needed


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On behalf of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, I would like to invite you to attend the Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme Development Event taking place on 30 May 2024, 12:00–13:30, in the Conference Room 109c (Muir) in the Old Burgh School.

For our first event of 2024, chaired by the Principal, we will be joined by Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Vice-Principal (People and Diversity), who will provide an overview of the University’s recent successful submission for an Athena Swan Silver award and Professor Catherine O’Leary, Assistant Vice-Principal (Dean of Arts and Divinity), who will speak about her leadership journey.

Following these short presentations, Professor Mapstone will host a Q and A with the audience. This will be followed by a 30-minute networking session over lunch (which will be provided). If you have any dietary requirements, please contact If you have any queries regarding this event, please contact


Speaker biographies:


Professor Catherine O’Leary

Professor Catherine O’Leary currently serves as the Assistance Vice-Principal (Dean of Arts and Divinity). Within this role, Professor O’Leary advises the leaders of the Faculties of Arts and Divinity on aspects of University strategy, regulation, procedure, and provides informal counsel to academic colleagues within these faculties.

Professor O'Leary studied International Marketing and Languages at Dublin City University before going on to complete a PhD in Spanish literature at University College Dublin. She lectured at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth from 2000 until moving to St Andrews in 2013. Since her arrival at St Andrews, she served as Head of the Department of Spanish (2014-17) and Associate Dean of Arts (2017-18).

Professor O’Leary’s research focuses on contemporary Spanish theatre, censorship, and exile and cultural memory. Professor O’Leary is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Cultural Identity and Memory Studies Institute (CIMS), based in the School of Modern Languages, and is Co-Chairperson of the Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA), established in 2019 to give a public and collective voice to the Arts and Humanities in the context of Higher Education in Scotland.


Dr Rebekah Widdowfield

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield currently services as the Vice-Principal (People and Diversity). A researcher by background, Rebekah worked in academia for a number of years, before joining the Scottish Government 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 Science.

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. She joined the University of St Andrews in June 2022 where she is responsible for delivery of the University’s strategic ambitions around EDI and the staff experience. In that capacity, she also led the University’s recent successful submission for an Athena Swan Silver award.

Rebekah has served in a number of non-executive roles including for the City of Glasgow College, the Scottish Book Trust, and the Centre for Homelessness Impact. She is currently a member of the board of the James Hutton Institute and sits on its Science Excellence and Research Impact Committee.

Aims and objectives

  • To discuss and gain a greater understanding of the outcomes of the University's Athena Swan submission
  • To have a greater unedrstanding of different styles and approaches to leadership
  • To network with other mentees


Professor Dame Sally Mapstone

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield


Muir (109), Old Burgh School

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