Nexus Interactive Feb 2014



Nexus Interactive Feb 2014
Designed and Activated by: The Gatehouse - Design & Print Consultancy at RGU
A word
from the
RGU Police
Law Students
Paul Reape
Online MBA
Getting to
know SPARG
ROV Kids Day
Sarah Buchan
Riverside East
Round Up
News In
A word from the Principal
Universities together form a
global community of learning.
RGU, like other universities,
is part of many intentional
networks and partnerships.
Staff work closely with
colleagues overseas, and our
student body contains many
members whom we are able to
welcome from around the world.
Universities are of course part of a
local and regional community, and
RGU has over recent times shown
its commitment to education, culture
and quality of life in the North-East of
Scotland. But we also have significant
global ambitions and intentions.
We are also looking more closely at our
own international footprint, and how
we can offer the benefit of our courses
to students in a range of countries
and develop a visible presence there.
And of course we will continue to
welcome overseas students to the
RGU campus, which will be enriched
by their presence.
RGU’s international relationships will
be a significant element of the next
phase of our strategic growth. I hope
that colleagues with an interest in this
agenda will participate actively in its
further development.
Some of this will be reflected in the
relationships we build with other
universities with a major reputation,
and this will be part of our plans for the
next phase of strategic development.
The partners we choose to work with
will not necessarily constitute an
exclusive group: colleagues will always
be free to build individual relationships
and collaborations. But we hope
that beyond these relationships we
will build special partnerships with
institutions that have similar strategic
aims to ours, and I hope that colleagues
may be able to find interesting
opportunities in these developments.
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski
Student Partnership helps RGU to achieve
the best possible student experience
RGU already has the UK’s best
graduate employment record. It
now aims to ensure that it also
offers the very best student
learning experience – and it
is embarking on a partnership
with students to achieve this.
It has entered into a Student
Partnership Agreement which ensures
students and staff work together
to continually improve the student
learning experience.
Proposed by the Scottish
Government’s Student Participation
in Quality Scotland guidance, the
partnership is based on an agreement
between the university and the
Students’ Union, acting on behalf of
the wider student body.
The agreement ensures an effective
working relationship between the
student body and the university
is maintained and developed, and
outlines three themes - Representation;
Campus Community; and Assessment
Feedback - which will be progressed
to enhance RGU’s vibrant learning
Strengthening the interaction between
the student population and RGU,
Representation was identified as a
theme to encourage students to get
involved through formal representative
roles such as student faculty
officers, student governors and class
The Campus Community theme
aims to enhance the extra-curricular
experience, increasing the variety
of activities and making them more
accessible to both staff and students
across the campus.
Assessment Feedback forms the
Partnership’s third theme, which,
relating to the learning experience
uses student views on assessment to
identify and promote the enhancement
of design and practice of exams and
Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the
Principal of RGU, says: “This
agreement underscores our aim of
providing a campus environment that
supports and enriches a vibrant and
diverse student life.
“The partnership recognises the
importance of collaboration between
individual students and members of
staff at all levels to create a dynamic
learning community, which is achieved
through listening to both perspectives
and allowing each group to contribute.
development through the provision
of extensive extra curricular activities,
making them feel part of a supportive
learning community.”
Steven Mills, the Student President
for Education and Welfare, said: “It is
fantastic that we now have a formal
partnership agreement which will see
RGU:Union and the university working
even closer together to continually
improve the student learning
The Principal of RGU and the three Student Presidents signing the agreement
“Student participation and engagement
are key to helping us make the
university an even better place to
study so we hope that this partnership
will encourage more students to get
involved either formally or informally,
empowering them to provide opinions
knowing that their views are being
taken seriously by the university at a
senior level.”
The development of the partnership
has included the establishment of
a working group that comprises
representatives from RGU:Union,
students and academic and support
staff to monitor initiatives and activities
in the key areas that supports the three
enhancement themes.
“We hope that through engagement,
we can support and enhance each
student’s personal and professional
Shona Cormack, the Vice-Principal for the Student Experience joins the group for the signing
RGU students mooting their way to success
RGU law students have started
the year off on a high with
another mooting competition
Budding legal eagles at RGU’s Law
School have furiously debated and
won two mooting competitions already
in 2014.
Thomas Main and Barry Moir, who are
both in their fourth year of Law, are
taking part in the National Student Law
Society Mooting Competition and have
battled through to the third round.
RGU is the only Scottish university left
after Thomas and Barry, both 21, beat
off stiff competition from Dundee and
Strathclyde universities during the first
two rounds.
Thomas said it is a huge achievement
for himself and Barry to reach this
stage as they have gone further in any
external competition than any previous
RGU mooters.
“To be the only Scottish university
left in the competition is a huge
achievement for both of us,” he said.
Thomas continued: “This is a new
competition and we are proud to
be representing RGU and Scotland.
Having received excellent tuition
during the last four years, we hope to
do the university and our tutors proud.
“It will be a fantastic experience
competing against the best mooters
from other universities, however all the
problems are on English law so learning
the English law concepts has proved to
be a bit of a challenge but one in which
we revel in.”
Barry added: “It’s been time
consuming, nerve-wracking and
requires some hard work but definitely
worth the effort. Being the last
remaining Scottish university in the
competition is something we’re both
exceptionally proud of and we hope
to progress further and rise to the
challenges ahead of us.
“Although it has been me and Tom
participating, we owe a lot of thanks
to the staff of the Law School for their
excellent tuition over the years and the
support we have received from them.”
Jamie Guyan and Stephen Dickson
have also debated their way to the
semi-finals of the Alexander Stone
Moot Competition, which is organised
by the University of Glasgow and is
open to all universities offering the LLB
degree in Scotland.
The two LLB students at RGU’s Law
School took on a team from the
University of Strathclyde and won.
They are now guaranteed a place in
the semi-finals and will face Glasgow
Caledonian in the next few weeks.
The moot was judged by local Sheriff
Graeme Napier and involved a dispute
over the sale of a farm to a property
Jamie said: “The competition is a
fantastic opportunity and is the only
way to really practice your legal
argument structuring skills as well as
vastly developing my public speaking
“We are delighted to have made it to
the semi-finals.”
Val Bremner, lecturer at the Law School
who is also the Mooting Organiser
and Coach, said: “It is great to see
our teams succeeding in so many
“They give an opportunity for the
students to display their advocacy
and legal analytical skills in this way.
At RGU practical legal skills are taught
alongside the core LLB subjects to
assist the students in developing these
skills to take forward to the workplace.”
Jamie Guyan and Stephen Dickson with Sheriff Graeme Napier
Paul plans physiotherapy
prospects from Peru
Job interviews can happen
in some unexpected places.
When Paul Reape completed his
physiotherapy course at RGU he
didn’t expect he’d be Skyping from
Peru for a job in Aberdeen.
Easy to find within RGU: SPORT at
Garthdee, the clinic offers professional
physiotherapy treatment, massage and
podiatry service, at competitive rates,
to get you back on track after illness or
Upon graduating with a BSC (Hons) in
Physiotherapy from RGU last July, Paul
decided to spend some time travelling in
South America before starting his career.
The team has access to the expertise and
ground-breaking facilities within RGU’s
Human Performance Laboratory and
is also supported by a sports medicine
GP, sports scientists, sports masseuses,
strength and conditioning advisors and
sports psychologists.
He said: “Before travelling to Lima I saw
a job advertised for a physiotherapist at
RGU’s Physiotherapy Clinic. Even though
I was booked to travel to South America I
knew I had to go for it. It’s the career I’ve
been training for.”
Shortly after submitting his application
Paul, who is originally from Ballina in
north-west Ireland, received an email
which said he had been invited for an
interview for the job.
Paul said: “I was fortunate to be able to
change my interview from being face-toface at Garthdee to online. Luckily the
manager of the hostel I was staying at was
from Ireland and said I could use Skype
on his home computer for the interview.
The rest is history.”
After his international adventure Paul
joined RGU’s Physiotherapy Clinic in
October and now works alongside
clinic manager Nick Summersgill and
physiotherapist Muriel Nelson.
understanding of what’s wrong and how
the treatment plan will help them get
back to fitness again.”
As well as his job at RGU’s Physiotherapy
Clinic, Paul is also setting up a running
group for students and staff who would
like to train for the Baker Hughes 10k on
Sunday, May 18 and raise some money
for charity.
He said: “I will shortly be starting a
running group for those who are keen to
get into shape for the Baker Hughes 10k.
In keeping with RGU’s Healthy University
initiative, ‘Fit for the Future,’ I want to
play my part in encouraging people to get
involved with health and fitness.”
Paul, who has been running 10ks
for more eight years, will run weekly
lunchtime training sessions, provide
training program advice and organise
group race t-shirts which can be worn on
the day. To join the group please email
Paul via [email protected]
To book an appointment call (01224)
263666 or email: [email protected]
Paul Greene, the Student President
for Communication and Media
The clinic treats a wide range of issues,
including sport injuries, back and neck
problems, joint and muscle problems,
whiplash, biomechanical problems and
neurological problems.
Paul said: “We’ve noticed a big difference
in uptake since Riverside East opened
on campus. There are a lot more people
coming to us now including staff,
students and members of the public.
“I love working in the clinic and its great
being able to use my skills in a relaxed,
professional setting. I get a lot of job
satisfaction helping people who come
through the door with various types of
injuries. It keeps you on your toes and
means you have to keep up-to-date with
new research and techniques.
“What I particularly like is that our
patients leave the clinic with an
For more information about RGU’s
Physiotherapy Clinic please visit: www.
Paul Reape
RGU makes senior appointments to its commercial and business
development teams
RGU has strengthened its
commercial and business
development teams with the
appointments of Heads of New
Business and Commercialisation
the oil and gas industry where she
was involved in the £13million sale
of Sub Atlantic Ltd, which designs
and manufactures world-class ROVs
(Remotely Operated Vehicles).
She said: “It is exciting to be part of
an organisation that not only provides
quality higher education but is also a
business that it an integral part of the
Donella Beaton has taken up the
position of Head of New Business
where she leads the university’s
business development team, while
Marjory Millum has been appointed to
Head of Commercialisation Support.
As Head of New Business, Donella
is responsible for identifying and
developing opportunities for new
business as well as supporting and
growing RGU’s strategic relationships
such as those with OILTEAM Academy
in Russia, Sonatrach in Algeria and
Global College in Malta.
“My legal background has been
essential to the position and I am very
much enjoying the diversity of the
role which sees me working across
the entire university, strengthening
links between our academics and the
research and commercial services
Donella was previously Head of
Operations for Research and Enterprise
within RGU, and prior to that was
Managing Director of a company on
the West Coast of Scotland which
provides online learning, marketing
and communication solutions for
public agencies and large companies
operating in English and Gaelic.
Commenting on her appointment,
Donella said: “Having worked at
the interface between industry and
academia for many years, this role
has given me the opportunity to
move to the academic side while still
maintaining a business approach as we
engage with industry.
Helen Mills, Director of Commercial
Innovation at RGU, comments: “I am
delighted with these appointments.
Both Donella and Marjory possess a
wealth of skills and knowledge which
fit well with the university’s commercial
and enterprise aims.”
During her time at the company, it
won the national Knowledge Transfer
Partnership award, a Highlands
and Islands business award and
an IIP special achievement award.
Donella herself won a place on
MIT’s International Entrepreneurship
Programme in Boston, courtesy of
Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Marjory joins RGU from a legal
background having spent 10 years
working in private practice in various
legal disciplines. She then joined
“These are exciting times at RGU and
we are working closely with academics
to identify new business opportunities
as well as ways in which to maximise
existing contracts and partnerships.”
In her role as Head of
Commercialisation Support,
Marjory oversees the end-to-end
commercialisation process for research
and enterprise in the university, dealing
with legalities of contracts and grant
applications including negotiations.
Marjory Millum (l) and Donella Beaton (r)
Getting to know SPARG
As part of the SPARG profile
series, Nexus gets to know the
woman at the top of Aberdeen
Business School as it gears up
for its 50th anniversary.
Professor Rita Marcella first entered the
world of business when she took up a
part-time job as a receptionist while she
studied for her first degree in English
Literature and Language from the
University of Aberdeen – something she
reflects on as a powerful learning curve,
giving her first-hand industry experience.
Having gone on to work in various
communications roles for a number of
oil and gas companies after graduating,
Rita, who is from Peterhead, relocated
to Stratford-upon-Avon for a spell
before moving back to Aberdeen
where she completed a postgraduate
diploma in Librarianship and Information
Management at RGIT as it was then.
Her student experience at RGU is what
she says prompted her to apply for a
job as a lecturer here in 1987, and after
having her first child followed by a
stint as Head of School at Northumbria
University, Rita returned to RGU as
a Professor of Communications and
Information Management in 2002, and a
year later was made Dean of ABS.
“I have been engaged in every academic
aspect of a university from a student to
lecturer, a researcher to course leader,
and Dean. This understanding of what it
is like working across the university has
been invaluable as I feel I can relate that
experience to my role as Dean where I
am ultimately responsible for all aspects
of the faculty,” says Rita.
While Rita enjoys the travelling aspect
of her role and the diversity it offers, it is
seeing the achievements of students that
offers the most satisfaction as Dean.
“Whether at graduations or award
ceremonies, or just seeing a student who
has done well in their exams, reminds
me that at the end of the day, everything
we do comes down to the student
“The direct contact that we have with our
students here is fantastic and is one of the
reasons that has kept me at RGU for so
long. We have a very positive attitude to
student engagement and we are always
looking at ways in which to improve the
learning experience by listening to their
This commitment to the university
experience is clear when Rita reflects
on her career highlight. She refers
to the 2008 Research Assessment
Exercise (RAE) where ABS performed
extremely well, including achieving the
second highest ranked submission for
Information Management – something
she says was a red letter day.
Outside of work Rita relishes
experiencing new cultures and says
travelling is her single biggest indulgence.
She also likes going to the theatre and the
opera, and enjoys cooking although she
doesn’t brand herself as a culinary genius
by any means.
“My husband is of Italian descent whose
relatives are fantastic cooks so I have
their dishes to compare to, which is why
I would never say that I am a good cook
– the bar is too high for comparison! I do
love to read about food and understand
it though.”
Rita also enjoys gardening and can often
be found battling with the Aberdeen
weather to maintain her attempt at recreating the picturesque cottage garden
she had in Stratford-upon-Avon, which
she says is a struggle.
Rita loves to be surrounded by her
Grandchildren and having recently
welcomed her fourth Grandchild into the
world – her daughter Madeleine gave
birth to a baby girl called Romy in January
- she spends most of her weekends
entertaining and enjoying the company of
her expanding family.
Aside from her hobbies and interests,
Rita says she is now spending any spare
time she gets planning a number of
celebratory events to mark Aberdeen
Business School’s 50th anniversary….
more to follow on that in due course.
Questions and Answers
Who has helped you get to where you
are today?
What do you drive and what car do you
dream of driving?
Lots of people have helped me along the
way but in particular my father and my
I drive a Volvo. I am not very interested
in cars though so my dream would be to
drive a husky-pulled sledge through the
Siberian Tundra or perhaps my own Lear
Where is your favourite place to go on
If you were a character in a movie, who
would you be?
If I had to choose it would be Italy but I
prefer to go to places I have never visited
before – Australia and South America are
next on my list.
I would be Marge Gunderson from the
Coen Brothers 1996 American crime film
What is your favourite novel and song?
That’s a really difficult one but if I had to
re-read one book it would be Vanity Fair.
I’m a big fan of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the
Wild Side”.
What would your family say about you?
Are you really going out again tonight?!
Deans have busy calendars!
Interactive public protection
resource unveiled
RGU and Police Scotland have
launched a ground-breaking
interactive training tool designed
to help public organisations work
more closely together on issues
such as adult protection and
domestic abuse.
The Collaborative Outcomes Tool is
an online and DVD package which
follows a fictional Scottish family
through a number of challenging public
protection scenarios which emergency
and social services provide support for.
Police Scotland funded the £25,000
project which explores a range of topics
including adult and child protection,
domestic abuse, mental health,
substance use and radicalisation.
The new resource also develops an
understanding of the challenges of
generational harm, abuse, risk and
Additionally, professionals from
agencies such as the police, social
work, nursing, medicine, fire and
rescue services and education provide
insight into their concerns and potential
actions to support the family. This
allows the learner to better understand
best practice whilst gaining insight into
partner agencies priorities and actions
allowing for learning beyond their own
The learning tool was launched at
RGU’s Faculty of Health and Social Care
on Thursday, January 23 where guests
had the opportunity to view some of
the scenes on the DVD and meet the
actors and professionals who have
been involved in its development.
Mental Health Lecturer Inga Heyman,
senior lecturer Kate Goodhand
and eLearning advisor Gavin Innes
from RGU’s School of Nursing
and Midwifery led the university’s
involvement in the project.
and Rescue Service, the University
of Aberdeen, NHS Grampian and the
education and social work departments
at Aberdeen City Council and
Aberdeenshire council.
Local Police Commander for Aberdeen
City Division, Chief Superintendent
Adrian Watson, said: “Robert Gordon
University and the police have a long
history of working together on a variety
of wide-ranging projects. We recognise
that this collaborative ethos is the
most effective way of achieving lasting
solutions for what are often very acute
and complex problems.
“This particular training tool uses a
model family with a variety of topical
issues, which all our partner agencies
may encounter. It is sad that many
families in Scotland may experience
some of these problems but by
focusing on these issues using a whole
systems approach we can all improve
how we would best deal with them and
prevent further concerns arising.
“At Police Scotland we are focused
on keeping people safe and it is
heartening to know that Aberdeen is
one of the safest cities in Scotland. This
collaborative outcomes tool provides
us with an opportunity to focus on
issues we may face from grass roots
level to ensure the most vulnerable in
our communities are supported.”
The launch event also showcased
other Police Scotland and RGU
collaborations such as the Virtual Police
Custody Suite and a number of police
research projects conducted within the
Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research,
the School of Nursing and Midwifery
and Aberdeen Business School.
Mrs Heyman said: “This has been a
truly collaborative project between
Robert Gordon University and Police
Scotland. By using the learning
tool those who deal with complex
public protection issues will gain a
deeper understanding of working
collaboratively through joint working
and sharing information.
“It is hoped that when faced with real
life situations they will then be able to
recognise the bigger picture beyond
their own discipline. This should result
in far stronger collaborative outcomes
in public protection and a more coordinated and joined up approach
between the services when engaging
with those who need the additional
A number of agencies across the
north-east have supported the project
including Police Scotland, Robert
Gordon University, the Scottish Fire
Ch. Supt. Adrian Watson, Inga Heyman, Sgt. Audrey Gibb, Gavin Innes, Kate Goodhand and retired Sgt. Andy Verreydt.
RGU academic honoured with one of the
highest Indian awards
An RGU academic has been
honoured with one of the
highest Indian diasporic
Dr Abhishek Agarwal from Aberdeen
Business School, was honoured with
the Hind Rattan award in recognition of
his achievements.
The Hind Rattan award, which
recognises outstanding contribution,
services, achievements and
accomplishments, is presented each
year to leading Indian expatriates by
the Non-Resident Indians Welfare
Society of India.
Abhi, a Senior Lecturer in ABS’s
Department of Management, has
contributed to the delivery of various
undergraduate and postgraduate
courses since 2004. He is currently
responsible for coordinating a number
of modules, including Energy Policy
and the Environment, Energy Project
and Renewable Energy Management.
Abhi has been instrumental in leading
the implementation and coordination
of real world consultancy projects
for the MSc Energy Management
Programme by effectively liaising with
energy industry senior managers.
Moreover, he has recently taken over
the role of developing a new MSc in
Leadership and Management focused
on the oil and gas sector.
Professor Alex Russell, Head of the
Management Department at ABS said:
“This award comes as no surprise as
Abhishek is an outstanding academic
with a real creative and entrepreneurial
reviewed journals, guest editing special
issues of reputed journals, chairing
sessions in renowned international
conferences and reviewing research
papers for high ranking journals.
In addition, he is a proactive networker
within all sectors of the energy industry
and organises and attends energy
industry events on a regular basis.
Abhi is a Vice –chair of the Steering
Committee for the Institute of
Environmental Management and
Assessment in North Scotland and a
member of the Nuclear Consulting
Group and Energy Institute. He
represents RGU on the Energy
Network of Aberdeen and Grampian
Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier this year, he accepted an
invitation from the United Arab
Emirates Ministry of Higher Education
and Scientific Research (MOHESR)
to become a member of the external
panel for Accreditation of Oil and Gas
Postgraduate Programmes. Abhi has
travelled to over 15 countries for study
and work, and he is fluent in English,
Hindi and Russian.
Abhi was honoured at a special
ceremony in New Delhi, India,
which took place during the 33rd
International Congress of Non-resident
Indians on 25 January, the Eve of
Indian Republic Day. He marked that
day by toasting the memory of Robbie
Burns and translating a verse or two of
Scotland’s bard into English, Hindi and
“He has been a driving influence in
developing and nurturing the highly
ranked international reputation of the
“I am delighted he has received this
well deserved prestigious award.”
Abhi graduated with a BEng. and
MEng. from the National Aerospace
University in Ukraine, after which he
gained an MBA from the University
of Aberdeen and a PhD from RGU.
One of the highlights of his MBA
programme was being awarded a prize
for his leadership qualities during the
MBA Team Challenge.
Abhi is a member of the IMaGeS
Research Institute. He actively
collaborates with academics
internationally to work on research
projects and has been involved in
writing papers for publication in peer
Dr Abhishek Agarwal receiving his award
RGU celebrates 10 years of
working with Sonatrach
RGU has reached a major
milestone as it celebrates a 10
year relationship with major
Algerian oil and gas company
RGU has been working with Sonatrach
since 2004, delivering education and
training services to more than 400 of
its employees and graduates based in
The relationship with Sonatrach is one of
RGU’s biggest educational partnerships.
It began when RGU signed a contract
to deliver an MSc programme in Asset
Management with Petroleum Economics,
and has since delivered a large and varied
number of MSc and MBA courses during
the ten years since.
The courses, which range from Asset
Management to Drilling and Well
Engineering, to Business Administration
and to Project Management, have
been delivered in Algeria by academics
from RGU’s School of Engineering and
Aberdeen Business School through a
combination of face-to-face teaching, self
study and online distance learning.
Commenting on the relationship, RGU’s
Principal, Professor Ferdinand von
Prondzynski, said: “I am delighted that
we have reached this milestone. It is
wonderful to see this significant demand
for our courses from Algeria, which
“It was a real privilege to share this
celebration of achievement with proud
families and Directors from Sonatrach
and IAP.
“The RGU team was made to feel most
welcome, and thanks are due to all
colleagues who taught and supported
these students. It was particularly
pleasing to hear very positive feedback
about the impact that the first cohort is
now making in the workplace.”
reflects the international recognition of
the quality of our education and training
“Sonatrach in turn is an excellent partner
for RGU. I hope that RGU and Sonatrach
will continue working together for years
to come.”
A party from RGU’s senior management
team recently attended the latest
graduation ceremony for cohorts five and
six from Sonatrach who have completed
the MSc Drilling and Well Engineering
Among the group in attendance was
RGU’s Vice Principal for External
Relations and Student Experience, Shona
Cormack, who took part in the graduation
ceremony, which was held at the Algerian
Institute of Petroleum (IAP) in Boumerdes
on January, 26. She was accompanied
by Head of New Business at RGU,
Donella Beaton, the Head of the School
of Engineering, Professor Iain Steel, and
the Manager of RGU’s Energy Centre,
Duncan Stephen.
Reflecting on the graduation, Shona said:
“The graduation ceremony in Algeria
is an excellent demonstration of RGU’s
commitment to supporting professional
development in the international oil and
gas industry.
The team from RGU along with a happy graduate
Shona Cormack and Iain Steel with two students from cohorts
five and six that achieved distinction
Prescription for Excellence: Inspiring future pharmacists
Many of us associate a visit
to our local pharmacy as
an opportunity to obtain
medicines to manage or cure
our aches, pains and medical
But how many people are aware of the
level of expertise required to ensure we
receive the most effective medication
and are advised on its appropriate usage?
There’s more to this than meets the eye.
RGU Pharmacy graduate Sarah Buchan
typifies the career opportunities available
to those who are enthusiastic about the
Her love of science and passion for
patient care has led to a successful
career as a Pharmacy Manager with
Rowlands Pharmacy and a Lecturer at
RGU. She works hard to motivate the
next generation of pharmacists to achieve
their career ambitions and visions for the
After graduating and obtaining her first
Pharmacy Manager role with Rowlands
in 2010, Sarah joined RGU’s School of
Pharmacy and Life Sciences as a part-time
Pharmacy Practice lecturer in 2013.
The progression from student to
practitioner and lecturer is one which she
finds extremely rewarding. Sarah said: “I
completed the MPharm course relatively
recently and continue to work two days a
week in practice so I’m able to bring very
current scenarios into the classroom to
challenge and develop my students.
through a combination of teaching,
problem-based learning, laboratory work
and clinical placements.
“It’s wonderful to be able to inspire the
upcoming generation of pharmacists
as part of the team who led my
development when I was a student.
Pharmacy is a dynamic career path with
so many opportunities and we are now an
integral part of the healthcare team which
provides clinical support to our patients
and other healthcare professionals.”
The General Pharmaceutical Council
(GPhC) requires each pharmacy graduate
to complete 52 weeks training under the
supervision of a registered pharmacist
before completing the final registration
Sarah’s career in pharmacy began with a
week-long work experience placement
organised through Cults Academy when
she was 15. This quickly turned into a
regular Saturday job where she remained
during her undergraduate studies.
She said: “I knew that RGU was where
I wanted to study pharmacy. The
university has a fantastic reputation and
is literally on my doorstep, there was
no competition. I remember being in
awe during my first open day visit, the
students and staff were so helpful and
engaging. I knew then that Pharmacy was
the career path for me and I couldn’t wait
to start.”
Taught within RGU’s School of Pharmacy
and Life Sciences, the MPharm degree
course is a four-year master’s level
programme. The role of the modern
pharmacist has evolved significantly in
recent years, and the course prepares
students for entry into the profession
This led Sarah to Dalgety Bay where
she completed her pre-registration
year working with Rowlands Pharmacy.
She was also supported by the NHS
Education for Scotland (NES) preregistration programme which ensures
that pharmacists are equipped with
the knowledge and skills to provide
pharmaceutical services across the
of the year at the Scottish Pharmacy
Sarah is currently undertaking a
postgraduate certificate in higher
education, learning and teaching. She
hopes to continue her professional and
academic development through the Royal
Pharmaceutical Society.
Sarah said: “My career has gone from
strength to strength thanks to the
skills and experiences I’ve gained over
the years. My success shows that a
combination of the right nurturing and
development from undergraduate level
at RGU and passion for pharmacy can
definitely reap rewards for those who
want to pursue a career in this exciting
The popular lecturer also has plans to
become a pharmacist prescriber and
hopes to undertake a PhD to take her to
the next level.
Following her appointment as Pharmacy
Manager in Cults in 2010, Sarah became
a well-known face in the community and
developed a strong relationship with
her patients. She was recruited by NHS
Grampian as a pharmacy champion in
2011 and more recently, voted on to the
Area Pharmaceutical Committee.
Sarah’s contribution to Pharmacy has
also been recognised by patients and
employer alike. She was a finalist in the
UK Chemist and Druggist Awards in
June 2010 and in November 2010 was
awarded pre-registration pharmacist
Sarah Buchan
RGU:Union launches Student
Nightline Service
A new helpline is being launched
by RGU:Union, offering students
access to a confidential and
anonymous service by phone,
email, IM or text out with academic
The Nightline Service, which is student
led and offers peer to peer support but
with complete anonymity, means that if
a student is facing a problem they can
contact the service at anytime of night
to speak to someone.
The idea has been developed by the
Student President for Education and
Welfare, Steve Mills, who is hoping to
attract volunteers to help provide the
“Obviously students can face trouble
from time to time but a common
problem is with new students who
are away from home for the first time.
People can also experience relationship
problems, exam stress or mental health
problems,” says Steve.
“Our Nightline is a service where
people can speak to other students
confidentially and anonymously about
the problems they are facing.”
There are already a large number
of students showing an interest
in becoming a Nightline listener,
particularly from the mental health
nursing students who are keen to get
“We’re one of the first universities to
start a mental health society which has
also drummed up a lot of interest.”
More than 20 listeners will be needed,
providing cover for phone lines
between 8pm and 8am. They will be
based in a city centre location with
beds, a kitchen, sofas and a television
to make sure listeners can take a break.
“Three volunteers would work per
night; two manning the phones and
providing support for one another,
while one person would be on call,”
says Steve.
Once volunteers have been chosen,
they will be put through a thorough
training process over the next few
months and the service is planned
to be launched at the start of the
academic year.
This student-led initiative offers lots
of opportunities for students to get
involved, so if you are interested in
becoming a nightline volunteer, please
email Steve at [email protected]
Student President for Education
and Welfare, Steve Mills
City school pupils get to grips with engineering at RGU
Pupils from Kittybrewster
School had a fun-filled day at
RGU recently, getting to grips
with underwater robots, wind
tunnels and race cars.
Over 50 P6 and P7 pupils attended
the activity day at RGU last week,
where they took part in a range of
hands-on engineering projects and
experiments from building their own
ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles)
to testing the impact of different kinds
of renewable energy, all supported by
staff and students at the university.
Gillian Forbes, a teacher at
Kittybrewster School, said: “It was
an excellent, interactive learning
experience and the pupils have loved
every minute – they are dying to come
“The hands-on application of
knowledge is something that they will
be able to take back to the classroom
and apply to their future learning. It
has really brought the subject alive for
The event was organised by
mechanical and electrical engineering
student Matthew Head, who is leading
the university’s ROV team – Special
ROV Service - in the Explorer Class of
an upcoming international competition
in America.
The competition, which is coordinated
by the Marine Advanced Technology
Education (MATE) Centre in California,
aims to promote STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering and Maths)
subjects among young people.
Matthew said: “The idea of the activity
day was to give the pupils a snapshot of
various kinds of engineering in action
and show them how fun the practical
side of the subject can be.
“All the activities went down really
well, the pupils really engaged with
what we had set up for them and it
was great to see them so excited about
learning new things.”
P6 pupil Anthony Smollett said: “I really
loved the wind tunnel because when
I stood in front of it I felt like I was on
top of an aeroplane. I also liked the big
ROV when I got to control it as I was
one of the first in my group to manage
to pick up a ring. And I felt really
excited being in university for the first
A Kittybrewster School pupil getting to grips with engineering
The RGU ROV team
P7 pupil Michael Fernyhough added:
“I really liked the wind tunnel when it
blew us away and we had to catch the
racing car. We learned that a sloping,
streamlined car moves better in the
wind. I also liked using the underwater
camera and the computer to move
the bigger ROV to try and pick up the
For more information about the MATE
ROV competition, visit
A member of the RGU ROV team with Kittybrewster School pupils
Refreshers and Mental Health Awareness Week deemed a huge success
The Student’s Union and RGU:
SPORT organised a raft of activities
for Refreshers Week and Mental
Health Awareness Week, marking
the beginning of the second
semester. Events included stress
busting Zorbing sessions as well as
the Refreshers Fayre.
Students took to the hall at RGU:
SPORT to don the Zorbs in teams
of six and face each other in a game
of football during Mental Health
Awareness Week, which was part of
RGU’s ongoing Healthy University
initiative ‘Fit for the Future’.
Paddy Maughan, Student President for
Sport and Physical Activity, who helped
organised the event, said that it “had
been a huge success”.
“The idea behind the Zorbing was
to get people taking part in physical
activity and having fun, as evidence
has shown that these things can help
to improve people’s mental wellbeing,”
said Paddy.
“We had a great response as the half
hour slots all were booked up, and by
holding such events we hope to reduce
the stigma around mental health illness
and promote our various internal and
external partnerships who support
us in promoting physical activity and
healthy living.”
Other activities in the Mental Health
Awareness Week included Campus
stress buster walks, free yoga and table
tennis sessions at RGU: SPORT, as well
as a Mental Health Awareness Fayre
on University Street which included
stands from RGU: Wellness and the
“All of the events were designed to
encourage new students into RGU:
Sport as well as raise awareness about
the link between physical activity and
mental health illness,” said Paddy.
Meanwhile, RGU:Union organised
Refreshers Week which ran alongside
Mental Health Awareness Week.
The event was filled with more free
activities and opportunities for new and
returning students to join societies and
sports clubs.
said: “It is a fantastic way for us to
welcome new students to RGU and
welcome returning students back for
the new semester.
Refreshers and Mental Health
Awareness Week came to a close on
Sunday, February 9 at DRY Aberdeen,
the cities first ever alcohol free club
night which has been deemed a huge
“It’s also a great opportunity for us to
showcase everything that RGU:Union
does, and to encourage people to sign
up to the various clubs and societies
that we have here at RGU.
“The response to the week has been
excellent, the Fayre this year was twice
as big as last year and we are really
chuffed with the way the week has
RGU Refreshers Fayre
RGU students take on Zorbing
The week’s activities included free
sports classes, a karaoke night, and
an all-star stand up comedy show at
RGU:Union, while as ever there was a
bustling Refreshers Fayre.
Paul Greene, Student President for
Communication and Democracy, who
helped organise Refreshers Week,
Student Presidents Paddy Maughan and Steven Mills
RGU’s online MBA among
the world’s strongest courses
RGU’s online MBA has been ranked
as one of the top online courses at
highly ranked business schools.
The QS Distance/Online MBA Ranking is
the first global ranking of distance/online
MBA courses.
It is designed to help applicants identify
the world’s strongest online MBA courses
and RGU’s Aberdeen Business School was
featured at number 23.
Allan Scott, MBA Director at Aberdeen
Business School, said getting an online MBA
at a top school is a credible alternative to a
full-time course and most students actually
enjoy a promotion while enrolled.
on-campus approach, with students forming
small study groups at the outset.
“We have tried many approaches over the
last 14 years and this is the approach that
works best for the online MBA students,”
said Allan.
He continued: “Of course, while technology
plays an important role in the world of
business, face-to-face interaction is a still an
important part of the MBA experience.
“All MBA students at Aberdeen Business
School (online, executive, part-time, fulltime) attend our leadership week which
takes place in the second year of their
studies and is 10 days long. Students benefit
from a variety of leading industry speakers
from academia and industry.
RGU academics come together to share
sustainability knowledge
Researchers from across RGU
came together at the end of
January for an internal event aimed
at showcasing the university’s
capabilities in the field of
The Sustainability Through Innovation
seminar was arranged by Dr. James
Njuguna, a Reader from the School of
Engineering, alongside Dr. Joanneke
Kruijsen and Jane Williams from the Centre
for Understanding Sustainable Practice
The event aimed to inspire and connect
researchers within RGU from across
the university whose work is relevant to
sustainability in order to increase visibility,
research and business and featured a variety
of presentations, as well as a research poster
James, whose research focuses on
composite materials, said: “I think the
day was very successful and helped to
increase awareness among researchers
as to the breadth and innovative nature
of sustainability work that is ongoing at
RGU and the possibility for cross-faculty
collaborations going forward.
“What we intend to do now is set up
some smaller groups with researchers
from different disciplines to ensure the
momentum continues through 2014, with
further university-wide events to share the
outcomes of those discussions.”
The winners of the PhD poster competition
were announced as Slimane Kerrouchi (26),
a researcher in CUSP and Olushola Ajide
(40) who works within the Department of
Slimane’s work focuses on the potential to
create solar powered air conditioning units
in countries with a less well developed
energy infrastructure, while Olushola
is exploring the relationship between
corporate philanthropy and community
engagement by companies operating in the
Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“The face-to-face experiences are critical
for affiliation to the school, networking and
the high level of industry engagement. We
will not be phasing these out. We have
increased the opportunity of face-to-face
interaction each year.
Allan Scott,
MBA Director at Aberdeen Business School
He said: “The academic MBA experience is
equivalent, however, the level of discipline
needed is extremely high for an online
student - the average age is 39 and generally
the students have been working since they
left university when they were 22. The
average experience is between 15-17 years.
“The obvious advantage of remaining in
work while engaging in online learning is
that principles learnt in the classroom can
be applied instantly in the workplace by the
online student. These students tend to see
the online MBA as an extension of their job.
“At Aberdeen Business School, online
student interaction is designed to mirror the
“The online MBA market is mature and
complicated,” concludes Allan.
“It is gaining traction in a number of
areas as we see students switching from
full-time to online. The global job market
is competitive, and online degrees offer
affordable access to high quality learning
in areas of the world where there are very
limited options.”
The QS Distance/Online MBA Ranking’s
carefully tailored methodology looks at the
key issues for prospective MBA students,
with a total of 18 indicators considered in
order to draw up the final ranking.
To see the full list of rankings, please visit
Olushola Ajide, Dr. Joanneke Kruijsen, Slimane Kerrouchi and Dr. James Njuguna
RGU’s Riverside East dazzles with a dash of colour
Riverside East was
spectacularly bathed in colour
as Jim Buckley, Sculpture
Subject Leader at Gray’s
School of Art, displayed a light
show up the front of the new
Jim was one of the artist’s exhibiting in
Aberdeen’s first-ever festival of light
which ran from 6 to 9 February.
“SPECTRA: Aberdeen Festival of
Light” featured Jim’s work throughout
the festival where he lit up various
Aberdeen land marks including the
Citadel, The Green, Aberdeen Art
Gallery and St Nicholas House.
His installation, called Rainbow, has
been meticulously planned with the
lighting system which is secured on
a lorry, delivering the show with split
second timing.
The event at RGU was a prelude to
the festival, giving staff and students
an opportunity to view Jim’s work on
RGU’s very own Aberdeen landmark.
in Brief
Aberdeen Youth
Games baton design
competition launched
An innovative design competition has
been launched for north-east primary
school pupils to create a baton for the
inaugural Aberdeen Youth Games.
RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science team
and Sport Aberdeen, was launched
last year and will see more than 1,500
pupils from across the city take part.
They will participate in a number of
activities this term, culminating in a final
Commonwealth Games themed sports
festival, which will be held at Aberdeen
Sports Village on Friday, May 16.
Schools involved will first hold their
own competitions to choose the
design they will put forward to the final
A design will then be selected from
each of Aberdeen’s ‘Associated
School Groups’ (ASGs), and the pupils
responsible for them will be invited to
participate in a 3D modelling event at
Gray’s School of Art on Wednesday,
February 26.
Bryan McCann, lecturer in Sport and
Exercise Science at RGU is leading the
Aberdeen Youth Games project and
aims to involve all 50 primary schools
in the city.
He said: “The baton design project is
a great way to get school pupils of all
ages engaged in the Aberdeen Youth
Games. There are a lot of talented
young people in Aberdeen so there’ll
definitely be a number of strong
contenders in the final.”
For more information about the
Aberdeen Youth Games, please visit:
RGU students get
a taste for food
Students at RGU recently showcased
their own food products to leading
Scottish food companies as part of a
class project.
Third year BSc (Hons) Nutrition and
BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics
students have been working with two
Scottish food companies to come up
with new products as part of their Food
Product Development Module.
Representatives from Baxters Food
Group and Macphie of Glenbervie
visited the students at Riverside East
recently to see the students present
their ideas for different flavours of soup
and to taste the new products.
Alison McDonald, Baxters’ Senior Food
Technologist, praised the students
work on the food development and
hoped to test the soups to determine
whether they are suitable to progress
to market.
She said: “We were very impressed
by the professionalism displayed
by all of the students involved.
By working in teams they thought
through their development plans and
presented some delicious soups to
us. We are keen to see if they can be
taken forward to market and be sold
alongside our other lines.”
Gray’s painting
lecturer awarded
major arts fellowship
A RGU lecturer has been announced
as one of the recipients of a major arts
organisation fellowship.
Andrew Cranston, a painting lecturer at
Gray’s School of Art, has been awarded
a £10,000 Fellowship by the Arts
Foundation in the Painting category.
Six awards were handed out in total at
the organisation’s award ceremony in
London, with more than £1.5 million
donated to artists since its inception in
Andrew, who is also a member of
IDEAS, uses fiction as his source
material for much of his work, taking
inspiration from characters and
scenarios in literature, theatre and
cinema to explore interior architectural
He said: “The interest in literature
and cinema is to do with narrative
but especially to do with space, both
architectural and psychic. All kinds of
spaces interest me from the epic to
the intimate and particularly those that
induce unease, fear, awkwardness.
competitions success
The highly successful Robert
Gordon University (RGU) intramural
competitions will return to RGU:
SPORT in February.
Badminton and football tournaments
were held last semester as part of
the university’s Healthy University
initiative, ‘Fit for the Future,’ and a large
number of students and staff took part.
Each competition involved a league
competition and the winners claimed
shields which were named after former
sports presidents Nicola Scott and
Melissa Hutcheon.
Dr Arthur Stewart, Deputy Director
of RGU’s Centre for Obesity Research
and Epidemiology (CORE), won the
Hutcheon Badminton Shield and
second year Applied Sports and
Exercise Science student Keiren
Cruickshank collected The Scott
Football Shield on behalf of his team.
Two more intramural competitions,
football and table tennis, will begin this
semester on the week commencing
Monday, February 17.
The competition shields are again
named after two other former sports
presidents. The second semester
football trophy is named The Andy
Smith Football Shield and the Table
Tennis is the ‘Barr Table Tennis Shield’
after John Barr.
Good luck to everyone who has
signed up!
Demofest North
11 February
Riverside East
RGU will host a technology showcase
of leading Informatics and Computer
Science research from Scottish
Universities. Registration for this
free event.
Absoft Entrepreneurship
13 February
Aberdeen Business School
Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Founder of
Genius Foods, is delivering the annual
Absoft Entrepreneurship Lecture
entitled ‘Movers and Bakers in the
Gluten Free Market’. This will be
followed by lunch in the atrium.
RGU’s Graduate Employment
Strategy launch
13 February
Riverside East
RGU will unveil its plans to build on its
reputation as the leading university for
graduate employment at its Graduate
Employment Strategy launch event
where the guest speaker will be Carl
Gilleard OBE former CEO of the
Association of Graduate Recruiters.
Professorial Lecture - Towards
a Creative Future: globalisation
and reputation in a postindustrial society
19 February
Riverside East
Delivered by Professor Paul Harris,
the Head of Gray’s School of Art,
this lecture, which is free to attend,
will show how the creative industries
provide a growing market for
stimulating economic growth both
as an industry and as a catalyst for
innovation. To book a place, please
telephone Anna Duthie on 01224
262210 or email [email protected]
Health Safety and Risk
Management Forum
27 February
Riverside East
A forum event to find out more about
completed and current research at
Aberdeen Business School’s Masters
in Health, Safety and Risk
Management and talk to guest
speakers from each subject.
Rare Disease Day
28 February
Foyer of Riverside East
Rare Disease Day is an annual event to
raise awareness amongst the general
public and decision-makers about
rare diseases and their impact on
patients’ lives. Susan Stewart from NHS
Grampian and Tracy Milne from Alfie
Milne Lymphangiomatosis Trust will be
at the entrance foyer of Riverside East
to provide information.
Professorial Lectur
- Towards a Creativ
Future: globalisat
and reputation in
Health Safety and
Risk Management
RGU’s Graduate
Strategy launch
Rare Disease Day

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