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Anya Higgins

Anya Higgins MSc, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences


Anya is a sport and fitness minded academic with 18 years’ experience in the further and higher education sector, passionate about supporting the widening participation and access to higher education agenda. She is currently in a senior lectureship role with Solent University after 12 years of senior lecturing and collaborative partnership management with the University of Hertfordshire and six years prior in further education.

Anya graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Sport Science and Leisure Management from Brunel University in 1997. She followed this with a MSc in Sport, Coaching and Leisure at Ulster University in 1998, where she continued researching the role of public and private providers with leisure policy and provision in Belfast pre, during and post ceasefire. During her time back home at Ulster, she had the honour of representing Northern Ireland Universities in basketball, and also coaching and managing an U16 Ulster girls squad and a regional U13 girls development squad.

It was her love and enthusiasm for team sport and the associated escapist opportunities that community based sport and team games can give to young people, particularly for those living among polarised communities during troubled political environments, which inadvertently led her into teaching and shaped her career in higher education.


Further information

Industry experience

  • 2012 London Olympics Sportsmaker (road cycling marshalling)
  • Chair of exam board, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences and Sport Therapy 2017-
  • External examiner, University of Plymouth 2017- Foundation Degree (Sport Coaching Health & Fitness)
  • Chair of validation panel event for FDSc Ophthalmology with City and Islington College with University of Hertfordshire December 2017
  • Panel member of extended degree in science for validation event with Oaklands College and Hertford Regional College December 2017
  • External examiner, University of Staffordshire 2013-2017
  • HEA external examiner, Pilot Programme March 2017
  • Community governor for the Cavendish School, Hemel Hempstead 2009-2013
  • Fundraised over £2000 for a number of charities from 2014 to date by completing Belfast and London marathons 2014/2015, cycling London-Paris, Belfast: Dublin Mara cycle, Ride London and the Gran Fondo Northern Ireland from 2015-2018.
  • Volunteer at local ParkRun and supported the event coordination for British Cycling cat 2/3 road races.

Research interests

Anya's research interests lie in: experiential learning strategies within sport undergraduate programmes of study; mass participation and sport events (traditional v non-traditional), and conflict management and resolution among undergraduates during experiential learning strategies/team-working.


Anya holds the following: Member of the Chartered Institute of Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), Member of the European Association of Sports Management (EASM), Member of the Association of Collaborative Provision, Chartered Institute of Marketing, and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (March 2017).

Recent publications

  • Work Based Learning: Work placement choices and trends amongst Foundation Degree Sport Studies students . Conference Presentation at ASET 2014.
  • Using Audience Response Systems with undergraduates: Conference Presentation at Learning and Teaching Conference : University of Hertfordshire 2011
  • The importance of peer group support for Foundation Degree progression students into a final year of honour degree study. Poster Presentation at University of Hertfordshire Learning and Teaching Conference 2010.

Work in progress

Anya is currently working on a CIMSPA endorsement mapping exercise.