Teesside University Business School
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Dr Susan Laing

Dean of the Teesside University Business School

Susan Laing

About Susan Laing

I joined Teesside University in February 2017 and was appointed Dean of Teesside University Business School in June 2017. I welcome the challenge to be growing and leading the Business School during this rapidly changing  landscape.

Previously, I spent over twenty years at Edinburgh Napier University where I was the founding Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurship, a Subject Group Leader and Director for Executive Education.  We developed a ‘pracademic’ philosophy in the Centre’s teaching which required the teaching team to have both academic qualifications and business experience to ensure a practitioner focus in all delivery.

Susan is an Adjunct Professor at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in New Zealand and a visiting Fellow at HAW Hamburg, and ECUST (East China University of Science and Technology), Shanghai, on the MBA programme. At HAW Hamburg and Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen (THM) she designed and led a team to deliver the International Entrepreneurship Exchange which has run for more than ten years and given 300 students an international experience. 

Susan successfully completed a doctorate through a DBA pathway in 2013 focusing on Born Global Businesses and developed a model to support entrepreneurial learning.

Research interests and activities

My doctoral qualification was achieved through a DBA programme in the subject disciplines of entrepreneurship and international business. 

My research focus is on three main areas;

- entrepreneurial learning

- creative and boundary pushing approaches to what and how we teach entrepreneurship and enterprise

- innovative models of assessment

I am also interested to contribute and collaborate on projects relating to;

- international entrepreneurship

- technology in learning

Recent Conference Papers

Laing, S., Ritchie, D. (2017), Out of the class room and into the wilderness, IEEC, Glasgow

Richards, C., Judd-Miller, P., Laing, S. (2017), Towards an entrepreneurial university, A case study of Edinburgh Napier University, IEEC, Glasgow

Anderson, M., Laing, S. (2016),Customising the student experience: How do we apply this to assessment in an innovative way?, IEEC, Liverpool

Kannabiran, G., Smith, S., Laing, S. (2015), Strategic Positioning of IT Business Incubators within Universities - A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom and India, ISBE, Glasgow

Laing, S., Brodie, J., Osowska, R., (2015) A 21st Century Enterprise Education Ecosystem – fit for purpose?, ISBE, Glasgow

Hooker, I., Laing, S., Schuler, A. & Sargison, P. (2015) A flexible learning pathway to a degree for SME managers. 3rdAsian SME conference on Asian entrepreneurship: fostering cross-border collaboration, Miri, Sarawak.  Paper presented by Ian Hooker on behalf of the authors.

Laing, S. (2015), A study of the distinguishing features of born global businesses, to inform the design of a learning framework to support their creation and growth, International Entrepreneurship McGill Conference, London

Laing, S., Brodie, J., Devlin J., (2015), Entrepreneurial Learning - an entrepreneurial approach to reach the global crossroads and signposts for the next journey, ICSB, Dubai

Laing, S. (2014), Conference theme facilitator / chair; In assessing the impact of education and engagement, why is there a focus on quantitative metrics when there are qualitative alternatives which offer meaningful and transferable evidence? International Enterprise Educators Conference, Newcastle

Laing, S. & Anderson, M. (2014), BABE (BA Business & Enterprise) – a top up degree targeted at mature working learners – an impactful journey, International Enterprise Educators Conference, Newcastle

Research projects & external funding

Interested in any research projects relating to entrepreneurial learning or impacts of enterprise education on SMES and larger organisatons.

PhD and research opportunities

DBA (2013) – Edinburgh Napier University

‘A study of the distinguishing features of born global businesses, to inform the design of a learning framework to support their creation and growth’

I am happy to discuss doctoral supervisions in areas of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial learning and innovative delivery models.

External roles and professional activities

Director, Board of Enterprise Educators UK (2016- 2019)

External Examiner (2016 – 2017), The University of Portsmouth , Award and Unit Examiner

External Examiner (2015 – present), Loughborough University, Postgraduate, Loughborough London Campus

Adjunct Professor (2014- present), Tai Poutini Polytechnic, New Zealand
Visiting Fellow (2007 – present), Technische HochschuleMittelhessen (THM), Germany

Visiting Fellow (2005 – present), HAW Hamburg, Germany

Visiting Lecturer (2004 – 2007), ECUST, China



External research collaborations

In my role as Adjunct Professor at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, New Zealand we are exploring comparisons of economic impacts of ouputs by working learners in SMEs.

Learning and teaching interests

I am  passionate about the role of enterprise in the curriculum and embrace a mantra of designing curriculum which is;

- academically underpinned,

- interactively delivered and

- innovatively and practically assessed. 

My specific areas of expertise are entrepreneurial education and international new ventures (or born global businesses).  My academic standing has taken me to Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Finland and New Zealand as a subject matter expert at an institutional level to design and deliver innovative enterprise curricula through novel interactive teaching to ensure the relevance and applicability of student learning.

I operate at national and international levels through my subject discipline (Entrepreneurship). At national level I sit on the Board of Enterprise Educators (EE) UK where I engage in strategy and policy discussions with regard to enterpriseIn addition, I am an assessor for the Chartered Association of Business Schools Small Business Charter where I Chair panel visits to universities in the UK and Ireland as the lead academic and assessor. Both of these roles require me to have an extensive and intimate knowledge of the HE environment and current issues.

Enterprise interest and activities

Susan has a track record of collaborating with business partners to develop innovative and practitioner focused learning pathways either as CPD or leading to academic credit. She has worked extensively in the executive education arena and looking at imaginative routes for working learners. The BA Business and Enterprise (BABE) top up degree she developed has to date been the most successful when measured by the number of student participants (500 plus 2007-2017).

BA Business & Enterprise (BABE)
This programme has created a route for mature learners to achieve a degree award, after attaining some career progression but reach a plateau due to a lack of formal qualifications. The BABE programme is a one year top up degree for working learners. The programme has spun out across UK through relationships with Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and Royal Air Forces (RAF) with nine learning hubs currently operational across UK. 500 graduates are now alumni and the programme has generated more than £2.5m in income.  

MOD contract for University Short Course Programmes
(2013-2017) in
·  Entrepreneurial Leadership
·  Managing Innovation
Contract value circa £250,000



Book Chapters


Laing, S. (2017, forthcoming)  Enterprise and Innovation in Sport and Exercise: An Introduction, Editor, Bill, K., Chapter titled Entrepreneurial Leadership: Approaches to sports leadership in a dynamic landscape, Oxon, Routledge


Laing, S. Martin, F. (1997), Contributing author Entrepreneurship; An International Perspective, Editor, Morrison, A. Chapter titled Europe, London, Butterworth Heinemann.


Journal Publications

Laing, S., Hooker, I., Schuster, A., Sargison, P. (2016), ‘BA Business and Enterprise - an impactful journey’, The All Ireland Journal in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Thematic Issue, ‘Embedding Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Institutions: Reconceptualising entrepreneurship education’ –  Feb 2016 Vol 8 No1

Brodie, J., Douglas, T., Laing, S. (2009) Students as Consultants - Adding Value to the Small and Medium Enterprise, Inter-ICSB 2008-2009 Journal. Published on-line www.icsb.org/InterICSB.asp October


Brodie, J., Laing, S., and Anderson, M. (2009), Developing enterprising people: perceptions on an innovative enterprise degree, Industry and Higher Education **Special issue

Brodie, J., Laing, S., Anderson, M. (2008), Being innovative with the assessment process: using posters in entrepreneurship education, FINPIN, Norway **Selected paper for inclusion in published proceedings

Nimmo, L., and Laing, S. (2005), Entrepreneurs as young traders,Advances in Interdisciplinary European Entrepreneurship Research, selected for publication, Vol II,  ISBN 3-8258-8323-x

In the news

  • We will succeed by being enterprising and global, says Teesside University Business School dean Gazette Live (Web), Unattributed, 14/02/2018
    Gazette Live (Web) 14/02/2018:
    We will succeed by being enterprising and global, says Teesside University Business School dean

  • On course to meet the nee of businesses
    Q1 Magazine, 04/02/2018:
    Susan Laing, Dean of the Business School at Teesside University The government's new industrial strategy has highlighted the critical role that innovation and skills must play securing future economic

  • Teesside University Business School launches MBA
    BQ Magazine, 08/12/2017; B Daily, 08/12/2017
    Teesside University Business School (TUBS) is launching a new MBA programme which aims to build the region's entrepreneurial leadership skills

  • New degree will help steer entrepreneurial students to success
    Tees Business, 13/11/2017
    Entrepreneurial students can set up in business as a core part of their degree through an innovative new course to be offered at Teesside University

  • Chamber workforce survey results release
    North East Chamber of Commerce, 13/09/2017; Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13/09/2017
    Susan Laing, Dean, Teesside University Business School comments about how Teesside University has an established international reputation for academic excellence and the global impact of our research.