Professor Debra Leighton
Professor in Management Practice / Former Executive Dean
I was appointed Executive Dean of the University of Bedfordshire Business School in September 2015 and stepped down in June 2019, having led the School through a significant step- change in performance and market positioning. During this period the School became the first UK business school to be recognised for its impact on the world around it through the award of the prestigious Business School Impact System (BSIS) by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
As Professor in Management Practice, I continue to represent the School externally, collaborating with colleagues on sector-wide business and management education initiatives within the UK as well as overseas.
In the UK – and building on over ten years’ experience of working with the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) – I facilitate the CABS Leaders in Learning and Teaching professional development programme and as a Certified Business and Management Educator (CMBE) I am an invited speaker and contributor to the CABS programme of CMBE workshops and events.
Internationally I am an invited speaker on Business School Impact System at conferences and symposia – most recently in Liege and Sao Paulo – and I am also an expert panel member for BSIS assessment of EFMD member schools.
In terms of my learning and teaching practice, I am passionate about professional development in management education. I draw on my experience of curriculum innovation to deliver workshops and professional development events, and to act as panel member for Business Schools undergoing curriculum review and external quality accreditations. I am increasingly approaching my practice in business and management education through the lens of impact and am currently working on research and enterprise activities in this area.
UK and international teaching experience including MBA (strategic marketing management), postgraduate (heritage marketing and management, search and social media marketing, research methods, relationship marketing, business to business marketing) and undergraduate ( consumer marketing, marketing management), bespoke Exec Ed programmes delivered to the armed forces, utility, pharmaceutical and optical sectors, PGT and PGR supervision.
- Impact of business schools on the world around them
- Leadership in business and management education
- Curriculum innovation – promoting a creative culture, building expertise and facilitating divergent thinking
- Chartered Association of Business Schools – Leaders in Learning and Teaching programme facilitator and contributor
- European Foundation for Management Development – Business School Impact System assessor
- Curriculum development adviser/panel member (various)
- Panel judge – British Academy of Management, Management Education Practice Awards
- 2015 Acting PVC Executive Dean, Salford Business School, University of Salford
- 2012-2015 Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Salford Business School, University of Salford
- 2007-2012 Associate Dean (Academic) ,School of Art and Design, University of Salford
Selected Research Publications
- Leighton, D and Varey, R (2003). Managing the Visitor’s Experience through Internal Marketing. In Kuslavan, S (Ed). Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviours in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Chapter 22 p415-433. ISBN 1-59033-630-5.
Refereed Journal Papers
- Conway, A and Leighton D (2013). Staging the Past. Enacting the Present: Experiential Marketing in the Performing Arts and Heritage Sectors. Arts Marketing: An International Journal, June 2013. Outstanding paper award (Emerald Literati Network).
- Leighton, D (2007) In the Frame: Investigating the Use of Mobile Phone Photography in Museums. International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 12:308-319.
- Leighton, D (2006) Step back in time and live the legend: experiential marketing and the heritage sector. International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. 12: 117-125
- O’Sullivan T, Minett-Smith C and Leighton, D (2016) Delivering Learning to a Global Cohort’. Presented at the fifth Chartered Association of Business Schools learning, Teaching and the Student Experience conference, Cardiff.
- Leighton, D (2015) Step Change: A Stakeholder Approach to the National Student Survey. Presented at the 4th Annual Chartered Association of Business Schools Learning, Teaching and the Student Experience Conference, York.
- Leighton, D (2014). New on the Block: Evaluating a Multiple Entry, Blended Delivery Model for Taught Postgraduates’. Presented at 3rd Annual ABS learning and Teaching Conference, Aston Business School.
- Conway, A and Leighton, D (2014) Close Encounters in the Experience Space: The Role of Social Media in Co-Creation. Academy of Marketing Conference, Bournemouth, July 2014
- Conway A and Leighton, D (2011) Co-Creating the Visitor Experience in the Arts and Cultural Sector: The Role of Social Media. Presented at 11th AIMAC Conference, Antwerp, Belgium, July 2011.
- Leighton, D and Lehman, K (2011) Over the Waterfall in a Barrel: Experiential Marketing and the Building of Brand.7th Academy of Marketing Global Brand Conference, Oxford University.
- Lehman, K and Leighton D (2010) The Development of a Hedonistic Experience Brand: Australia’s MONA. Academy of Marketing Conference, Coventry, UK.
- Leighton, D (2010). Challenging the Traditional Culture Vulture: Experiential Marketing in the Cultural Tourism Sector. ATLAS Conference 2010, Niche Tourism v Mass Tourism’ Limassol, Cyprus.
- Conway, A and Leighton D (2009) Staging the Past, Enacting the Present: Experiential Marketing in the Performing Arts and Heritage Sectors.10th International Conference on Arts and Cultural Management (AIMAC), Dallas,Texas.
- Leighton, D (2008)Hold Your Nose- You’re Going Underwater: An Integrated Experiential Approach to Marketing in the Heritage Sector, International Tourism Conference 2008: Cultural and Event Tourism, Issues and Debates’, Alanya, Turkey. ISBN 978-9944-223-73-7
- Leighton, D and Sterry, P (2004) The Benefits of Visitor and Non- Visitor Research in the Shaping of Sustainable Tourism: with special reference to Cultural Tourism .BEST Think Tank 1V Sustainability and mass Destinations: Challenges and Possibilities, Esbjerg, Denmark.
- Leighton, D (2004) Team Talk: A Key Skills Peer Evaluation Project. Education in a Changing Environment Conference, Salford, September. ISBN 0902896806
- Sterry, P and Leighton, D (2003) Interpretive Planning in the Tourist/ Historic City: A Key Skills Recognition and Development Project Enhancing the Student Experience. Education in a Changing Environment Conference, Salford, September. ISBN 0902896660
- Leighton, D and Sterry, P (2002) Shaping Successful Tourism Development: The Role of Visitor and Non- Visitor Research, ATLAS Africa, Mombasa, Kenya.
Selected Conference Papers
- Workshop Leaders in Learning and Teaching. Presented at Chartered Association of Business Schools Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference, Bristol. May 2018, and Manchester, 2019
- Co-Chair 6th Education in a Changing Environment Conference: Creativity and Engagement in Higher Education, University of Salford, July 2011.
- Co-Chair 5th education in a Changing Environment Conference: Critical Voices, Critical Times’. University of Salford, September 2009.
- Leighton, D, Platt, L, Vandenberg P and Higson, B (2011) Dropout Bear and Other Stories: Toward an Understanding of Non-Completion in Art and Design, 6th International Education in a Changing Environment Conference ‘Creativity and Engagement in Higher Education’, University of Salford, July 2011. Pecha Kucha abstract available online.
- Leighton, D (2007).Get the Full Darcy: Experiential Marketing and the Heritage Sector. Extraordinary Experiences Conference, Bournemouth, UK.
- Leighton, D and Scarlett, B (2004) Hello Moto! Investigating the use of Mobile Phone Photography in Museums. Academy of Marketing, First Joint Workshop, Non-profit and Arts/Heritage Marketing SIG, London Metropolitan University.
- Leighton, D (2004) Step Back in Time and Live the Legend: Experiential Marketing and the Heritage Sector. 4th International Colloquium on Nonprofit, Social and Arts Marketing, London Metropolitan University.
Other Published Output
- Baron, S et al (2010). Case study- Brunel’s ss Great Britain. Relationship Marketing: A Consumer Experience Approach. ISBN 9781412931212.
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