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Dr Tessa Parkes

Dean for Equality and Diversity

Dr Tessa Parkes

Tessa Parkes is Research Director of the newly formed Salvation Army Centre for Addictions Services and Research at the University of Stirling.

She is also a member of the Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland (PADS) Ministerial Group (which oversees policy and practice on harm reduction, the quality of drug services, and stigma) and represents researchers in Scotland on the SIGN Committee on Early Diagnosis and Support of Children with FAS and FASD. As a member of the Alcohol Brief Interventions Expert Group, she recently contributed to the Scottish Government’s ‘refresh' of the National Alcohol Strategy.

From 2013 to 2016, Tessa was seconded to the University of Edinburgh to undertake the role of Deputy Director for the ESRC’s Scottish Doctoral Training Centre, the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. In this role she developed excellent relationships with many national organisations, including the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament, working across all twenty-four disciplinary/ interdisciplinary pathways to advance the needs of doctoral students studying in Scotland. She started a network of Graduate School Directors to create opportunities for the sixteen social science institutions in Scotland to work more proactively together in the provision of advanced training for doctoral students.

With a continuing interest in postgraduate careers, Tessa is now involved with the UK Council of Graduate Education’s Working Group on the Diversity and Sustainability of Organisational Structures for Doctoral Provision.


As institutional Dean for Equality and Diversity, Tessa works across the University to ensure active engagement with the equality and diversity agenda for learning, teaching and research. She chairs the Strategic Committee for Preventing and Tackling Sexual Violence and Misconduct, the institutional Equality Action Forum, and the Athena SWAN Institutional Committee. She is also a member of the University Senior Management Team and sits on Academic Council, the University Academic Quality Committee, the Education and Student Experience Committee, and the Equality Steering Group. A key aspect of her role at present is to ensure that REF planning processes recognise individual and collective excellence fairly and transparently.

An experienced teacher and academic administrator, Tessa understands the importance of embedding equalities work within curricula, policies and practices to ensure individuals are actively supported to realise their potential. She has been a role model for and an avid supporter of the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora Programme and served as a panellist for the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU)’s Athena SWAN awards.


A highly motivated leader in both healthcare and academia, Tessa has worked across various sectors, disciplines and institutions in three different countries. Her current research interests are:

  • Substance use and addictions.
  • Social inequalities.
  • Domestic abuse.
  • The role of social activism and social movements in health and social care.
  • User/survivor peer leadership in mental health and substance use services.
  • Spirituality and integrative approaches in health/health care.

View Tessa Parkes's Research Profile

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