Staff profile

Fiona Shelton

Dean of Students and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Presenting at a conference


Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



As Dean of Students and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching I work across the University with staff and students to ensure excellence in all aspects of University life that relate to the experience of our students. In my role as the Head of the Centre for Excellence I work with a dedicated team to engage staff and students in academic debate, discussion and activity generated by creative pedagogic practice and innovation to enhance learning and teaching. The Centre comprises the University’s Learning and Teaching and Technology Enhanced Learning teams who provide professional pedagogical support across the University.


Professional interests

I have worked in the education sector for 24 years. I graduated with a BEd (Movement Specialist) from Liverpool John Moore's University in 1994, and have maintained an active interest in creative approaches to teaching and learning throughout my career.

I came to the University of Derby in 2003 to work in Initial Teacher Education. In 2008 I was offered the opportunity to work in policy making, advising central government on the primary curriculum and additionally to lead a national research project looking at the impact of new curricula ideas on learning.

More recently, I have undertaken roles as the Head of Initial Teacher Education before undertaking the role as Head of Student Experience, where I was responsible for creating the University's Student Experience Framework, through collaboration with staff and students.

Now, as Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, I am committed to ensuring an excellent learning experience which promotes student engagement and success.

Research interests

2003 – 2006 Kleine Helden in Not or Small Heroes in Trouble: A research project which focused on Boys in Education from a European perspective. This project grew from a small piece of regional research, to a wide scale project working with 12 European countries leading to several publications, a practical teaching course and a website.

2009 – 2012 Education and Gender ‘EdGe’: This project provided an opportunity to work alongside 12 other countries, exploring aspects of gender that impact on education.

2016 – 2019 Homo’poly: which aims to contribute towards a better understanding of homosexuality in secondary and tertiary education. Taking a cross-sectoral approach, the project is active in eight countries. Homo'poly targets students and lecturers in colleges and universities, teachers in secondary education, and students in secondary schools. It is hoped that, as these participating institutions implement, test and evaluate the resources created by the project, a greater understanding of homosexuality will be reached.

I have additional interests in the arts in education, behaviour management and curriculum design where I have published book and chapters. My current research explores narrative inquiry to breathe life into stories of the past focusing on memories of primary school education since 1944.

Working with five other countries, Poland, Belgium, Madrid, Greece and Turkey, I am a lead academic in a conference consortium interested in international perspectives in education (IPiE). The successful inaugural conference was hosted at the University of Derby's Buxton campus in October 2018.

I am a lead member of the International Perspectives in Education (IPiE) Scientific Committee.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

I have spoken at Aston University on Enhancing the Student Experience.

I have recently spoken at the Education Strategy Forum on enhancing the student experience.  In June 2018 I presented at the Staff and Education Development Association (SEDA) conference in Leeds with colleagues from the University, where we presented our recently published Student Experience Framework.

I have presented at a number of conferences related to excellence and creativity in primary education, in Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium and Turkey.

One of my research interests is in arts and education and I have been invited on a number of occasions to lecture at the Central School of Speech and Drama on the educational technique of Mantle of the Expert as a teaching approach. 


Experience in industry

I have worked across the education sector in a number of roles: primary school teacher, a teacher educator, a primary curriculum adviser at the Qualifications and Curriculum Agency and now as a senior leader in Higher Education.

International experience

I am currently working with an international research group undertaking research into young peoples’ understanding of homosexuality and creating resources and tools for classroom pedagogy. I have taught in primary schools in The Gambia and at the Gambia Institute for Teacher Training. More recently, I have led student trips to Iceland. I have presented at many international conferences. 

Additional interests and activities

I worked with the Youth and Community Theatre groups at the former Derby Playhouse, now Derby Theatre, for 15 years. I worked with the Youth Theatre as a movement director, choreographer and Deputy Stage manager. In the Community Theatre, I was an actor and have taken part in many productions at Derby Theatre.

In 2006, I was delighted to take a small piece of theatre 'The Yellow Wallpaper' to the Edinburgh Festival where I performed in a one-woman show.

I play the harp and enjoy any sort of live music and live theatre.

Recent publications