Director of new Maths Gym appointed


Heriot-Watt University would like to welcome Dr Emma Coutts as the Director of the newly established Maths Gym initiative.

Dr Coutts will be responsible for liaising with Schools and with the Effective Learning Advisors at all campuses to identify the mathematical and numeracy challenges encountered by students in order to tailor the support provided by the Maths Gym to the needs of students.

The Maths Gym is a cross-campus initiative which aims to support students across all our campuses to strengthen their maths and statistical skills and to boost their mathematical confidence. Based in GRID this new support service will offer a range of drop-in surgeries and online consultations and support to students at other campuses.

Dr Coutts joins Heriot-Watt from Strathclyde University where she managed Strathclyde’s Maths Skills Support Centre.

Her enthusiasm for supporting students to develop their maths skills grew out of her experience providing mathematics tutorial support when she was a PhD student in Applied Mathematics here at Heriot-Watt in 2010.

Before joining the maths support team at Strathclyde, Dr Coutts held teaching positions at Durham University and at AIMS, the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences. She has also worked as a data scientist for a renewable energy consultancy and has had the opportunity to supervise and support interns working in this area.

Dr Coutts said: “I am very excited to be joining Heriot-Watt University as the Director of the newly established Maths Gym initiative.

“A high proportion of students will encounter some mathematical or statistical content during the course of their degree programme - not only the obvious groups (maths, physics and engineering students) but also chemistry, biology, economics and other students. The Maths Gym will be an important resource for all students to talk about maths and compliment their learning of mathematical topics.

“With the opening of the Learning and Teaching Academy in 2019, it is clear that Heriot Watt's strategic plan has a focus on student experience and excellence in teaching. The campus-spanning vision for the Maths Gym fits perfectly into the key strategies of 'inspiring learning' and 'being a global, connected University’.

“It is my pleasure to be part of this journey and I aim to use my enthusiasm for mathematics to inspire and encourage a community within the Maths Gym.’’

Professor Gill Thomson, Associate Principal for Widening Participation said: “I am delighted that Emma is joining us at Heriot-Watt. Her enthusiasm and expertise in the area of building mathematical skills and confidence will help to make the Maths Gym a fantastic resource across all of our campuses, supporting the University’s vision of Inspiring Learning. I look forward to the enhancements provided through this exciting initiative to enable us to better support all student success and further develop our learner community.”