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Dr Elena Riva - Associate Professor & Director of Studies

Elena Riva

Elena is an Associate Professor and Director of Studies at the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning, WIHEA Fellow, and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Elena, who joined IATL in October 2015, develops new interdisciplinary modules, events, and activities that explore complex and global scientific topics and issues, creating connections between the scientific disciplines and the humanities. She developed and convenes the IATL modules Genetics: Science and Society, Understanding Wellbeing: Theory and Practice and Thinking Water.

She was the recipient of the 2018 Warwick Teaching Excellence Award and she was also awarded the honour of the Butterworth Award, which recognises individuals with six or fewer years of experience teaching in higher education. She received the Warwick Teaching Excellence Award also in 2020 in recognition to her work in the field of wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment.

She serves as External Adviser on the "Open" Board of Studies, the cross-Faculty curriculum offering at The Open University.

Pedagogic Research Interests

Elena wishes to make a significant impact in supporting students and staff wellbeing in Higher Education and in particular in the teaching and learning environment.

She is producing a portfolio of projects in this area and she desires to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines with similar interests. In this respect, Elena's main pedagogic research efforts are dedicated to the exploration of the impact of the teaching and learning experiences (from the teaching and learning environment to the curriculum) on students' and staff wellbeing in Universities. Elena has been recently awarded funding by the Warwick Innovation Fund and WIHEA for developing her research project 'Improving students' wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment' and for supporting her pedagogic research in the Wellbeing Pedagogies. Elena together with Prof. Louise Gracia has co-developed and delivered the research project 'Potential Advantage' (2018-2020) aimed at supporting mental health and wellbeing for postgraduate research and funded by Office for Students/Research England.

Elena is a currently PI for the University of Warwick of the Office for Students funded project Positive Digital Practices (2020 - 2022) that aims to embed and sustain positive practices that support mental wellbeing for part-time, commuter and distance learning students. This project is a joint effort with the Open University, The University of Bradford, Student Minds, Jisc and UMHAN.

Elena is committed to further develop and support interdisciplinary studies around the academic concept of wellbeing, as in her module 'Understanding Wellbeing', promoting a positive and holistic vision of wellbeing. As result she has co-created with students the Online module open to all Warwick students, 'Understanding Wellbeing', with the aim of offering an opportunity to increase Wellbeing literacy across our community.

Elena serves on both the Warwick Student and Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Groups and played a key role in the development of the Warwick Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2024.

Recent pedagogic publications

1- Riva, E., Freeman, R., Schrock, L., Jelicic, V., Özer, C-T., Caleb, R.,Student Wellbeing in the Teaching and Learning Environment: A Study Exploring Student and Staff Perspectives, Higher Education Studies, 2020, 4, 103-115.

2- Riva, E. Well-being pedagogies: activities and practices to improve the student experience online, Times in Higher Education, February 2021.


Elena obtained a master degree (2007) and a PhD (2010) in Chemistry from the University of Milan. After holding a Research Associate position in the Chemistry Department at the University of Cambridge (2011), she became a Research Fellow in the Chemistry Department at the University of Warwick (2012) and was subsequently awarded an IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship. You can read all about her scientific research in several articles that have been published in top-ranking chemistry and biology journals.

She is a Member of the Board of Trustees of Alström Syndrome UK.

How Elena can help you in her IATL Role

Elena is always happy to work with students and colleagues who are interested in discovering novel and interdisciplinary ways of teaching and learning science-based themes…get in touch if this applies to you!

In her role as Director of Studies, Elena would be delighted to hear from you if you are a UG or PG student that has the desire of discovering more about our modules' provision. She is also the right person for you if you are a member of staff interested in creating an interdisciplinary IATL module or in contributing to them.

Elena also serves as STP (Sessional Teaching Payroll) Coordinator for IATL.


E dot Riva at warwick dot ac dot uk


024 761 50531




Senate House