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​Assistant Principal Student Experience

Dr Sandra Cairncross28235.jpg


Doctor Sandra Cairncross was appointed Assistant Principal Student Experience in February 2015. Sandra lead the development of the Edinburgh Napier Student Experience Strategy and is overseeing its implementation. A key emphasis on providing opportunities for our students to apply learning and develop transferable skills outside the classroom.

Prior to appointment as Assistant Principal Student Experience, Sandra was Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries, a post she held for seven years. This role embraced the strategic and operational leadership and management of the human, financial resources of the Faculty.

She has also held leadership roles at faculty and school. These included Associate Dean with responsibilities for academic quality and student experience, the first School Director of Student Experience whilst in Computing, and Programme Directorships.

Sandra studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and joined Edinburgh Napier University in 1988 as a Lecturer. She quickly became interested in educational technology and how that could be used to enhance teaching and learning. She completed her PhD "Interactive Multimedia: Realising the Benefits" part-time and remains active in pedagogical research. She is currently supervising three PhD students. Current interests focus on exploring student engagement outside the classroom.

Sandra is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Institute of Engineering Technology and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Outside work Sandra enjoys walking, regularly taking to the hills and glens as well as pounding the pavements in training for Moonwalk Scotland.




National Student Survey Update January 16


All back issues of Sandra's newsletters can be found on the Principal's Office SharePoint site.




Leading the development and delivery of the University’s Student Experience Strategy

Supporting and enhancing the University’s partnership with the ENSA and championing the students voice

Ensuring that all students get the opportunity and are encouraged to take part in work-related experience and other extra-curricular activity.


Current projects


ULT lead for:

Student Experience Strategy and Delivery Plan

Student Partnership Agreement


Committees and Boards


  • ULT (Member)
  • Academic Board (Member)
  • Student Experience Committee (Convenor)
  • Student Survey Steering Group (Convenor)
  • Student Retention Steering Group (Convenor)
  • Equality and Diversity Committee
  • Risk, Resilience and Monitoring Committee
  • Plus member of various projects boards, including Estates Strategy Project Board
  • E-service Implementation Project
  • Timetabling Project


  • Chair Equate Advisory Board
  • Member Board of Edinburgh College
  • STV Edinburgh (Edinburgh TV)
  • LFHE Members Advisory Group
  • RCSE Lay Advisory Group