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Dr Elena Riva - Associate Professor & Director of Education

Elena Riva

Elena is an Associate Professor and Director of Education at the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning, WIHEALink opens in a new window Alumna, and Principal 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 SocietyLink opens in a new window, Understanding Wellbeing: Theory and Practice Link opens in a new windowand Thinking Water.Link opens in a new window

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 2020Link opens in a new window in recognition to her work in the field of wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment.

She serves as External Adviser on the "Open"Link opens in a new window Board of Studies, the cross-Faculty curriculum offering at The Open University. Elena is also the External Approval Panel Member for the "Ruskin Modules"Link opens in a new window offering, the interdisciplinary provisionLink opens in a new window of Anglia Ruskin 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'Link opens in a new window and for supporting her pedagogic research in the Wellbeing PedagogiesLink opens in a new window. Elena together with Prof. Louise Gracia has co-developed and delivered the research project 'Potential AdvantageLink opens in a new window' (2018-2020) aimed at supporting mental health and wellbeing for postgraduate research and funded by Office for Students/Research England.

Elena is currently the University of Warwick PI for the Office for StudentsLink opens in a new window funded project Positive Digital PracticesLink opens in a new window (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 WellbeingLink opens in a new window', 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 2020-2024Link opens in a new window.

Recent pedagogic publications

1- Riva, E.,* Stewart-Brown, S., Rahman, Y., Gerson, J., Ashworth, S. Can an academic, interdisciplinary intervention help to solve wellbeing issues among higher education students? in Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching: Practice and Pedagogies Link opens in a new window, Ethics Press, Cambridge, Forthcoming.

2- Lister, K., Riva, E.,* Kukulska-Hulme, A., Fox, C. Participatory digital approaches to embedding student wellbeing in higher education Link opens in a new window, Frontiers Education, 2022, 7:924868. DOI: 10.3389/feduc.2022.924868.

3- Riva, E., Gracia, L., Limb, R. Co-creation: how to find the ‘super’ in supervision Link opens in a new window, Times in Higher Education, August 2022.

4- Riva, E.,* Gracia, L., Limb, R. Using Co-Creation to Facilitate PhD Supervisory RelationshipsLink opens in a new window, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 2022, DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2021.2021158.

5- Riva, E., Jeglinska, W. Co-creating an interdisciplinary well-being module for all studentsLink opens in a new window, Times in Higher Education, January 2022.

6- Riva, E., Mik, M. Wellbeing in Higher Education, Modern History Review, 2021, 23 (4), 28-29.

7- Riva, E. Well-being pedagogies: activities and practices to improve the student experience onlineLink opens in a new window, Times in Higher Education, February 2021. This article on Wellbeing Pedagogies was one of the most read resources on THE in 2021. To celebrate this, Elena featured on a Times in Higher Education podcast about her contribution. You can listen to the podcast hereLink opens in a new window.

8- 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 PerspectivesLink opens in a new window,Higher Education Studies, 2020, 4, 103-115.

♣ You can check all my peer-reviewed publications, including contributions to top Chemistry and Biology journals hereLink opens in a new window.

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.


E dot Riva at warwick dot ac dot uk


024 761 50531


Senate House