As Deputy Director (Partnerships) and Academic Skills Development Manager at the LLC I manage our academic skills and advice and guidance staff teams, as well as our Communities and Partnerships (C&P) team and Preparation for Higher Education (PHE) programme team.
A core aspect of the LLC’s work involves engaging with adults from diverse communities where progressing to Higher Education is not the norm. We have a particular interest in linking this kind of Widening Participation (WP) activity with the broader goal of creating a learning environment that engenders dialogue, questioning and debate.
I have responsibility for widening access for and providing support to adult learners throughout their student journey. To that end we provide skills support to all LLC students as well as to mature and part-time undergraduates across the University of Leeds.
My background in research in students’ experiences of Higher Education and over 30 years spent teaching and providing skills support are key drivers in my work. Recent projects I have been involved with include the development of spaces for students to interact online during the pandemic, and the provision of pre-entry support and alternative entry routes into Higher Education for students from under-represented groups - including writing matriculation papers, running alternative entry exams online and providing support for applicants.
I studied English and History for my BA(Hons) at Newcastle Polytechnic and worked in a variety of roles from fish processing (prawn peeling) to teaching computer software users, before studying for a PGCE in Further Education. I worked in the Further Education sector teaching English and Adult Literacy and my interest in the processes of learning led me to a funded MPhil at the University of Humberside in ‘Learning to Learn’.
A series of contract research posts followed, including:
- Community perceptions of ‘Successful Futures’ – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Leeds Metropolitan University – 1997-2000
- The neighbourhood study in Leeds and Sheffield – Nuffield Foundation and ESRC
- London School of Economics, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion – 2000-2002
- Career Progression and Employability for Full time Master Students – HECSU
- University of Leeds, School of Continuing Education – 2002-2005
In 2005 I moved into Student Support at Manchester School of Art and provided 1:1 and workshop study skills and pastoral support for students in art, design and architecture.
I became the Academic Skills Development Manager at the LLC in 2014. As well as working with students 1:1, I teach on skills modules and run workshops for LLC students and for mature and part-time undergraduates across the University.
I am an external examiner for the HEIS programme at Birkbeck, University of London, a reviewer for Oxford University Press, Palgrave, Pearson Education and SAGE Online and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.