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A big welcome to Dr. Tom Ritchie SFHEA, and Stephanie Johnson to our team of associates.

Dr Tom Ritchie is an award-winning Assistant Professor and Director of Student Experience at the University of Warwick. With over a decade of experience spanning academic and student union roles, he specialises in leveraging the "third space" between these roles to empower students and staff across the sector. In his day-to-day role, Tom seeks to develop a holistic educational ecosystem that removes traditional boundaries between curricular, extra-curricular, and pastoral aspects of the student experience. Notable achievements include:

  • Co-creating impactful student-driven programmes: Led the development of "We are Chemistry," a well-being and inclusion programme recognised for its positive impact (TEF Gold, The Times Higher Education), and presented at national and international conferences.

  • Developing effective student voice and engagement strategies: Utilising experience from previously held leadership positions in student unions, contributing to strategy development, student engagement, and governance reviews.

  • Championing student-centred learning: Convenes interdisciplinary modules, fostering student voice, and utilising innovative teaching methods.

  • Authoring and sharing knowledge: Co-authored a book on "Engaged Learned" pedagogies with European universities, and articles and blogs linked to co-creation, student engagement, and student recruitment.

  • Committed to advancing the support he can provide to students’ union officers and staff, and student experience professionals across the sector.

Tom is also currently completing:

  • An OCM Apprenticeship in Professional Coaching.

  • An International Education Leadership Programme with Monash, Cambridge, and King’s College universities.

  • Postgraduate Award in Curriculum Design in Higher Education.

  • A Postgraduate Award in Interdisciplinary Pedagogies.

Steph Johnson stumbled into the world of Students' Unions quite unexpectedly, initially driven by a keen interest in HE policy. As an avid student campaigner, Steph scrutinised the newly introduced Teaching Excellence Framework - which ended up in facilitating a London wide university conference leading the response to the HE White Paper with other Students' Unions and academics.

Steph is passionate about understanding and improving the student experience, and recognises the impact that unions can have in effecting change. Steph has held various roles within Student Voice teams before leading a small Research & Insight Team at the Union of Kingston Students, where she spearheaded efforts to measure impact and outcomes of the SU, shaping the strategy and vision with data driven insights.

Steph then transitioned into a different sector, working in communications and stakeholder engagement, and runs a small business of her own. Steph is really excited to now bring her different experiences to Coole Insight by supporting others navigate the SU landscape!

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