Lizann Bonnar


  • United Kingdom

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Work-based learning, education for sustainable development, equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education, assessment and feedback.

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined Psychology at Strathclyde in September 2004, following a MA (Hons) and PhD in Psychology at the University of Glasgow. My PhD was in cognitive psychology, specifically visual attention and recognition.  Although my research background is in experimental design and quantitative research methods, I have learned to use qualitative methods with students in a range of projects, in one project to develop an understanding of children's experiences of participating in Parkrun, and another on the psychological impact of food poverty. Current research projects with students are in the area of student mental health and sense of belonging amongst students who are traditionally under-represented in higher education. I am also engaged in collaborative projects with colleagues and students on applying an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion across the student journey.

In addition to my role in the Department of Psychological Sciences and Health, I am Vice Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (since 2019). In this role, I lead on the enhancement and quality assurance of the Faculty's UG and PGT education portfolio, covering over 100 degree programmes with more than 8000 students across 15 discipline areas that are organised into 7 departments/centres.  I am passionate about transforming teaching, learning and assessment so that students and graduates develop the personal attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills needed to address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion across all stages of the student journey underpins this work. I have also led the University's Assessment and Feedback Working Group since 2013, and in this role I have led the development of university policies/procedures and guidance on student assessment and feedback.

Externally, I am a member of the Undergraduate Education Committee (UEC) of the British Psychological Society (since 2015) and have led a working group of this committee on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the discipline through a review of the Standards for Accreditation of UG and Conversion level degrees. I have also been a member of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Advisory Panel for Psychology.


Teaching Interests

At undergraduate level, I am class leader for the final year C8437 Psychology Work Placement class, and supervise several honours and MSc dissertation projects each year. Prior to taking up the role as Vice Dean Academic (now .7FTE), I was class leader for C8321 Research Methods and Data Analysis, and also taught on Introduction to Research Design and Analysis (C8203), and research methods classes on three MSc programmes: MSc in Research Methods in Psychology, MSc Clinical Health Psychology, and the online MSc Psychology with a specialistion in *Business (conversion). 

I recently led on the development of a university-wide module called 'Multi-disciplinary Perspectives of Sustainable Development', and worked with colleagues across the University to deliver this for the first time in January 2020. The module has been developed in line with UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development Learning Objectives and is delivered (co-led with Professor Debra Willison) by staff from all four faculties and attended by students from different degree levels and disciplines across the University. Predominantly delivered online, the module uses action-oriented and transformative pedagogies to support students to develop the competencies identified by UNESCO as essential for addressing the sustainable development goals. 

I have a passion for enhancing students' understanding of sustainable development and social justice, both within psychology and in other disciplines. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Oxford Women's Leadership Development Programme, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

17 Aug 202215 Nov 2022

Award Date: 15 Nov 2022

Doctor of Philosophy, Attending to Visual Information for Perception and Recognition, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

Master of Arts, Psychology, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 2000

External positions

Member of Advisory Panel for QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Psychology, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

Dec 2020Aug 2023

External Examiner, Queen's University Belfast

1 Sept 202031 Aug 2024

External Examiner, Psychology Department, Heriot-Watt University

Sept 2016Aug 2020

Member of Undergraduate Education Committee, British Psychological Society (The)

Oct 2015Sept 2021


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