Who are we?
Queen Margaret University Association is an organisation for staff and former students Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (formerly Queen Margaret University College, Queen Margaret College and Edinburgh College of Domestic Science (known as Atholl Crescent to those studying there). Founded in 1914, the Association is designed to maintain links, friendship and networking between former students and staff of the University.
Membership is open to graduates who have completed a recognised course of study and to all present and former staff whether academic, administrative or support services. With a programme of networking lunches and social events, promoted via a regular newsletter and a dedicated page in the QMYOU Magazine, it provides a superb way of keeping in touch!
Our constitution can be downloaded here.
Meet the team
Hello I’m Lindesay Irvine and I am delighted to have been elected President at the 2020 AGM. I graduated with a QMC degree in Nursing in 1983, and specialised in Care of Older People. I returned to study at Edinburgh University gaining an MSC in Nursing and Education. Having taught at South Lothian College of Nursing I moved to Aberdeen where I was a senior lecturer at Foresterhill College. A final move saw me return to QMUC in 1992 as a lecturer. During my time as a lecturer in Nursing I undertook a PhD with QMU and graduated in 2008. I was latterly involved in running the PGCert Professional and Higher Education , which we moved to an online course in 2019, and I also was programme director for the Professional Doctorate for the whole University.
QMU has always been very close to my heart with as a student and staff member so when I retired in 2019 I joined the QMU Graduate association and promptly became a committee member. I am very excited to be able to help take the association forward into the future and to assist in helping it to continue to flourish and develop.
My role as Minute Secretary, means that I am trustee of Madras Lodge, the main part of the role is to liaise with the chair and other committee members, attend committee meetings, to take minutes of these meetings and the AGM, distribute them to the committee. I sometimes attend other events , when Lindesay is unable to attend.
As Social Secretary, it is my role to organise any events held for the members, and liaise with Thomas Kelly re any Alumni Events etc for QMU
I am delighted to be part of the QMUGA Committee, although I am a bit of an impostor, as I’m not a QMU graduate. However, I worked at QMU for ten years, before retiring at the beginning of 2019, and I’m very committed to the university community and QMU’s values. I have studied and worked at a number of universities around the UK, first as a Spanish lecturer and then as an academic developer, and I felt I had come home when I started working at QMU.
My job, as Director of the Centre for Academic Practice, was to support staff to carry out high quality teaching and research. I also spent a lot of time working with QMU’s international partners around the world, both in academic enhancement and staff development.
I am now Professor Emerita of Higher Education at QMU, and semi-retired, but I continue to do research and to work with the UK lecturers’ professional body. I’m also the international academic advisor at HTMi Switzerland.
I come from a big extended family, and enjoy spending time with them, and with my two grown up sons, my daughter-in-law and two lovely grandchildren.
Elaine Acaster OBE
Hello. I'm Claire (Claire Seaman) and I have the pleasure of becoming QMUGA Membership Secretary in 2021. I graduated from QM in 1988 and 1992, studying dietetics and human nutrition initially. A masters in agri-business followed and a developing research interest in family owned and run businesses, which is my current focus within Queen Margaret Business School. At present I am working with the British Council to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum and standards for Uzbekistan, but along the way I have spent quite a lot of time earlier in my career working with QMUs academic partners in India, Singapore, Nepal, Greece and indeed Switzerland. Away from work, I enjoy outdoor swimming, reading, travel with my family and I volunteer with the community organisation 'WomenBeing'.
Hello, I’m Gemma Blackledge-Foughali and I am pleased to be working with the committee having joined a few years ago, so that some colleagues and I could have a writing retreat at Madras Lodge.
I have lived in Edinburgh for over 20 years and first studied at Heriot-Watt University, briefly moving down to the University of Sussex for my Masters in Development Economics and then returning back to Heriot-Watt to complete my PhD. I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing woman who taught me everything I needed to know about teaching economics where I joined QMU in 2013 as a Lecturer in Economics.
I have been lucky to work with lots of different people around the University and shape a number of initiatives in my role as Associate/Acting Head of the Business School and Lead for Learning and Teaching for the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management. I committed to my own continued professional development as a Certified Business Management Educator, facilitate opportunities for student mobility across the Business School and support those with additional learning needs by working closely with our Disability Services.
Externally I have been working with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for over 10 years as a lead examiner in Business Economics and lead training sessions around the country for new Graduate Teaching Assistants on behalf of the Economics Network. One of my key areas of interest is developing test bank materials for assessment, writing materials for Oxford University Press (OUP). Most recently, I have reviewed a new text in the field of management for OUP.
Outside of work, I am a keen gym goer and completed my first 5k run in May 2023, with many more (and longer) runs to follow. I love lazy holidays, gardening, baking and spending time with my greyhound Odin.
I am honoured to have been President of QMUGA from 2016 - 2020, working with committee members as a team which upholds the objectives of the association. We arranged a variety of events throughout the year, mostly in Edinburgh. We support the University through mentoring, involvement in student projects, an annual Personal Development Student Award, and attendance at University events. Together we promote friendship among GA members, and look forward to increasing and diversifying our membership.
Following teacher training at ECDS (Atholl Crescent), I qualified as a dietitian. After a short period working in NHS, my career diverted into a variety of roles in Further and Higher Education, finally as Vice Principal of the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. I am a member of QMU Court and have recently been appointed as interim Chair of Borders College Board.
I demitted office as the treasurer in 2020, having been on the committee for many years. I graduated in 1969 with a 1st Class in Institutional Management. I started my career as a Home Economist with South of Scotland Electricity Board and while in post I won a National Public Speaking Competition and also The Caroline Haslett Commercial Catering Bursary. Since 1984 I have travelled to Japan over 40 times working for Mackays of Arbroath. I started my own company in 2002 as a Tea Consultant and travelled frequently to Japan,China, Taiwan, USA and UK lecturing on the history of British Afternoon Tea and related topics.
Hello. I'm Julie Churchill, previous graduate at QMU and now staff member in Nursing.
I am excited and enthused to be on the QMU Association committee and look forward to helping it grow and flourish in the future.
My previous background was working in District nursing and I now co-ordinate the on-line and face to face programmes for this specialist branch of nursing at QMU. I am a Queens Nurse and was previously based in East Lothian as team leader.
I have been a member of Senate and Court at QMU and see my role on this committee as pivotal to the on-going success of the Association in its relationships with the University.
Part of my role as VP is to co-ordinate the running of Madras Lodge, which presents a myriad of challenges, not least due to the requirements of Miss White's will and also the propoerty being in a conservation area.
Hello, I am Carol Brennan. I am delighted to join the QMU Graduates Association Committee. I graduated with a QMC degree in Home Economics in1982 and became a Consumer Adviser with Scottish Borders Council where I gained a Diploma in Consumer Affairs with the Trading Standards Institute. I became a Lecturer at QM in1987. During my time at QMU, I was awarded an MA in Education with the Open University. I provided leadership for Consumer Studies degree programmes, became a Reader and led the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre. Following my retirement from the University in 2019, I became an Honorary Reader.
I continue to work as a consultant in consumer policy. I am a member of the Office of Rail and Road Consumer Expert Panel and a member of the Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Panel. I chair the Qualifications and Awards Board and the Examinations and Assessment Board for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
I greatly valued my experience as a student and then as a member of staff at QMU so was very pleased to be invited to contribute to the future development of the QMU Graduates’ Association. I look forward to working with colleagues on the Committee and other members of the Association.
In my free time, I enjoy swimming, gardening, and walking and socialising with friends and family.