In memory of Dr Christine Sprigg
Dr Christine Sprigg 1968-2019
Family, colleagues, and friends of Christine are mourning her passing at the age of 51. An inspirational colleague, Christine was part of the fabric of the Management School and the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP). She not only made a significant contribution in her field of work psychology but also touched the lives of many of her former students and colleagues through her avuncular and compassionate nature.
Christine was born and raised in Retford before proceeding to the University of Hull to study for her BSc in Psychology with Occupational Psychology followed by her MSc in Occupational Psychology. Christine completed her PhD in Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield. She became a registered psychologist and worked at the Universities of Newcastle, Northumbria, and Sheffield. At Sheffield, Christine first joined in 1995 as a HSE funded research fellow, after which she became a Senior Psychologist with HSE/HSL. She returned to the University and was appointed Lecturer in Occupational Psychology in 2002 when she also became director of the MSc Occupational Psychology programme at the Institute of Work Psychology. Her research career focused on improving employee wellbeing, workplace aggression, and work design, which led to several important publications. She was awarded funding from numerous bodies to facilitate her research including the Institute of Safety and Health (IOSH), Health & Safety Executive, British Council, the Royal Society, and the Wellcome Trust.
Christine was an excellent teacher, passionate about educating the next generation about employee wellbeing, and was very popular with students. She received numerous emails and thank you cards from students expressing their gratitude for her teaching and for the interactive way she incorporated their views and experiences into the lessons. In addition to her teaching and research duties, Christine was an active member of the wider University community. She served on the University Senate, the University Health and Safety Committee, and was a member of the Staff Wellbeing Group.
Christine was known for her tireless work to improve wellbeing at work. Her dedication was demonstrated at the Staff Wellbeing Group and through her trusteeship/directorship at Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service (SOHAS). SOHAS is a charity that provides support and advice to people who find that their work is impacting on their health. Her work with students was also deeply impactful. As part of the Faculty of Social Sciences Challenge, Christine’s student teams looked at how the social sciences could prevent cyberbullying on social media and for their efforts they were awarded the ‘Citizenship’ prize.
A prime example of Christine’s citizenship and how she strove to improve colleagues’ wellbeing was through her instigation of a weekly Thursday 11am coffee meeting for staff to come together. However, when Christine could no longer join in person due to her illness, her colleagues created the hashtag #cappuccinowithSpriggy on Twitter to keep the tradition going and send Christine moral support. A massive hit with former colleagues and students, this simple gesture encapsulates Christine’s spirit of collegiality and means people have been coming together (virtually) to share stories from their day, wherever they are - and this is something that can continue in her memory.
Professor Rachael Finn, Interim Dean of the Management School, said:
“The death of our colleague and friend Christine (“Spriggy”) leaves us all with a huge sense of loss. She made an invaluable contribution to our community for many years, not only in terms of her academic achievements, but also because of what she stood for and who she was as a person - endlessly supportive, caring and encouraging to both colleagues and students alike, with a strong commitment to fairness and justice in all that she did. The impact Christine had is borne out by the many messages of condolence we have received from within and beyond the University, many of which share special memories of how she made such a positive difference through her compassion, humour and generosity. This stands as testament to her capacity to connect with others and through these memories, her legacy will live on. We are grateful for all that she did and to have known and worked with her. We will all miss her terribly.”
Our sadness of Christine’s passing is tempered by memories of her good humour, grace, positivity, and wisdom. Christine will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues. On behalf of all members of the Management School, we wish to express our condolences to Christine’s family and friends.
A St. Luke’s Tribute Fund has been established as a way to remember and celebrate Christine’s life. Donations can be made to the St. Luke’s Tribute Fund here: https://www.stlukestribute.org.uk/funds/christine-sprigg/
Dr Christine Sprigg (centre) at the Institute of Work Psychology conference 2014