Helen Barefoot

Professor Helen Barefoot

Professor of Learning and Teaching, Director of Learning and Teaching , Director of the Centre for Learning, Access and Student Success


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 1998 with a BSc in Human Physiology. I then completed a PhD at Cambridge University investigating mechanisms of learning and memory. I returned to the University of Hertfordshire in September 2001 to teach Neuroscience.

Within my role as the Director of Learning and Teaching  I lead the professional development activities for academic staff associated with learning and teaching. This  includes workshops, seminars and an annual conference as well as our taught Post Graduate Certificate Programme in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. I also lead the University's Continuing Professional Development Framework enabling assessment and award of Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowships at Associate, Fellow and Senior levels. I have presented at, and organised, learning, teaching and assessment conferences as well as delivering keynote addresses and seminar presentations at various Higher Education Institutions. Working with the Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellors, I am involved in the development of strategies and processes which enhance student learning.

With a background in neuroscience, I have published articles associated with my research into learning and memory mechanisms as well as publishing my pedagogic research. I have recently been able to combine both of these interests through the authorship of a book chapter regarding learning and teaching enquiry within the Life Sciences. My other research interests include; understanding the enablers and barriers to academic staff in terms of quality enhancement; investigating how quality assurance mechanisms support the current and future development of e-learning; ensuring inclusive teaching and equality of opportunity for all learners; plus research into how to improve assessment and feedback practice. As well as developing my own scholarship in learning and teaching I am keen to promote scholarship in others, particularly through my oversight of our online journal ‘Blended Learning in Practice’.

I became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in July 2013 and the first Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors from a Higher Education Institution

Education/Academic qualification

Education, PGCertHE, Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Hertfordshire

Award Date: 31 Jul 2003

Neuroscience, PhD, Interactions of the basal forebrain, hippocampus and inferotemporal cortex in primate learning., The University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Sept 2001

Human Physiology, Bsc Hons (Sandwich), First class honours degree in Human Physiology , University of Hertfordshire

Award Date: 31 Jul 1998

External positions

External Member of Teaching Committee at University of Westminster

1 Sept 2022 → …

External Examiner Edinburgh University

1 Sept 2019 → …

Principal Fellow , Higher Education Academy

External Examiner, The University of Reading

… → 31 Jul 2019


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