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Dr Emma Thirkell

Senior Lecturer

Department: Newcastle Business School

Dr Emma Thirkell is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Human Resource Management and is both a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academic (FHEA). Additionally, Emma has gained Chartered Management and Business Educator (CMBE) status through the Chartered Association of Business Schools.

Prior to joining Newcastle Business School, Emma started her career in retail management gaining experience of managing, leading and developing staff. She was awarded her first degree from the University of York, achieving a distinction in her dissertation which focused on multiskilling in the workplace. She completed her MA Human Resource Management (CIPD accredited) at Teesside Business School, before embarking on her PhD at Newcastle University.

Emma has previously worked at Newcastle University Business School, as a Teaching Assistant, and Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, as a Senior Lecturer, where she gained awards for innovative teaching practices and outstanding postgraduate support as Programme Leader for the MSc HRM/D course.

Emma is research active, and uses a research informed teaching approach in order to deliver real world skills to students.

Emma Thirkell

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Dr Emma Thirkell's current research interests are twofold – agile organisations and pedagogy.

Firstly, Emma's research interests lie in understanding and exploring employee experiences of Lean and agile work environments. This includes skills, training, development, leadership, professional identity, business improvement and organisaitons change.

Secondly, Emma is interested in pedagogy and education. Her current projects focus on digital skills for a digital age, gamification of learning and teaching and technology enabled learning and teaching (TELT). Emma is one of the founders of the OneNote Research and Practice Institute, which aims to bring together HE and FE tutors and academics to collaborate and research. She is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and has developed digital Escape Room games that have been discussed by the Chartered Association of Business Schools, Advance HE and the Financial Times. Her round table presentation on Escape Rooms was voted as 'Standout Presentation' at the CABS Teaching and Leanring Conference (Manchester) 2019.

Key Publications

Professional Activity

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Other: Developing an evidence-based health and wellbeing resource pack to improve employee engagement 2021
  • Invited talk: OneNote Escape Rooms 2019
  • Other: “Escaping” traditional technologies through a OneNote Escape Room 2019
  • Other: To the escape room! How business schools are embracing games 2019
  • Other: Unlocking the padlock – using an Escape Room to teach Business students 2019


  • Management PhD June 16 2016
  • Human Resource Management MA September 01 2008
  • Management Studies BA (Hons) June 30 2007
  • Chartered Management and Business Educator CMBE 2019
  • Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert MIEE 2019
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy FHEA 2011
  • Associate Member Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) 2008

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