Staff profile

Dr Sarah Rawlinson

Head of Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism

Head of Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism


Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism


Buxton Campus



I am the Head of Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism.  I am responsible for the development and implementation of the Centre’s research, teaching and learning strategies and student experience.

I work closely with the local community in Buxton, our region and with industry, nationally and internationally, to provide inspirational learning opportunities for our students.

Teaching responsibilities

As a tourism specialist, I teach on several programmes in the Centre helping students to develop their employability skills by delivering projects for industry.

I am involved in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and supervise a number of PhD students.

Professional interests

My professional interests include being an executive board member for the Council for Hospitality Management Educators and a member of the Derbyshire Culture Heritage and Tourism Board.  I have also worked with High Peak Borough Council to develop a tourism strategy for Buxton and with Derbyshire County Council Steering Committee to advise on a tourism strategy for the county.

I led the development of spa management as a subject area in higher education. The University of Derby is the world leader in spa management degrees and provides graduate to some of the most prestigious spas in the world.

I have helped to support start-up businesses through knowledge transfer initiatives for the School of Artisan Food and UK Countryside Tours.

Research interests

I am interested in pedagogy, especially applied learning, enterprise and innovation and providing opportunities for our students to build knowledge, skills and experiences relevant to their professional and personal lives.

I also maintain research interests in the field of tourism, particularly in the area of destination management and talent management.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

I have presented seminars at a range of different conferences and universities. Recently, I have spoken at the Council for Hospitality Management Educators conference in Manchester and THE-ICE conference in Holland.

I am also a founding member and part of the organising committee for the Tourism Naturally Conference in partnership with Colorado State University and Central Normal China University

Experience in industry

I joined the University of Derby after a career in the travel industry where I specialised in group travel.  This involved organising conference and incentive travel, trade fairs and exhibitions and tour operations.

International experience

I work closely with Switzerland's leading Hotel Management Group including the Swiss Hotel Management School, Cesar Ritz and IHTTI providing excellent education for students from around the world.  I also work with partners in Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Holland and Greece.

Additional interests and activities

I am a trustee for the following organisations:

I am also a Director of Vision Buxton and an Industry Advisory Board member for NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences

In the media

I have had had the opportunity to work with local media including radio, TV and print. I have appeared on East Midlands Today, BBC Look North, Radio Derby, High Peak Radio and in the follow print media; Reflections magazine, Pure Buxton and European Spa magazine.

Recent publications


International Spa Management. Principles and Practices.  Ed. Rawlinson S. and Heap T.  May 2017  Goodfellows

Developing a wellness destination: a case study of the Peak District: In Handbook of Health Tourism.  Wiltshier, P. & Rawlinson, S. Jan 2017  Routledge


Student and Practitioner Experience from Learning Laboratories. In Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Tourism.  Wiltshier, P. & Rawlinson, S. Jan 2017  Edward Elgar

Benefits of Higher Education to the International Spa Industry: A UK Perspective. In Health Tourism and Hospitality: Wellness, Spas and Medical Travel. 2013 Routledge


How can effective university – industry partnerships be developed? Rawlinson S. 2013  Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 255-267