ALDinHE Steering Group

Click on each of the names to view a brief introduction and contact details for the steering group members

David Bowers | Steve Briggs | Carina Buckley | Andrea Didier | Andy Hagyard | Debbie Holley | Maria Kukhareva | Simon Lambe | Louise Livesey | Amanda Pocklington | Christie Pritchard | Steve Rooney |Sandra Sinfield | Katharine Stapleford | Zey Suka-Bill

Interested in joining the steering group? Click here for more information


David Bowers

Until recently I was Head of Learning Development at University Campus Suffolk, one of England’s newer universities. I led a team of staff offering support and advice to all students in a range of generic underpinning academic skills, which included Study Skills, Academic Writing, English Language, Maths, Statistics, Research Methods, Information and Digital Literacy.

I now work as an independent consultant in mathematics, statistics and learning development.

I have many years’ experience of teaching and lecturing maths at all levels, from adult basic numeracy to research level statistics. This convinces me that quantitative skills can be both a barrier and an enabler to higher level study in all fields, and motivates me to develop ways of addressing this in a non-threatening way with students (and fellow staff!). I am currently Chair of the national sigma Network for cross-university mathematics and statistics support.

Having said that, I started my teaching career teaching English as a foreign language in Germany (my first degree was a joint honours in Maths and German!) and much of my free time is spent keeping up with friends, family, culture and politics in central Europe.


David Bowers

Steve Briggs - Co-Chair

University of Bedfordshire

I am Head of Professional and Academic Development (PAD) at the University of Bedfordshire. I lead a learning development team who provide a range of services (e.g. drop-ins, workshops, appointments and online learning materials) that help students to enhance their academic skills. Among other things, my team also work with academics to embed academic skills within curriculum, provide training for PALs and offer CPD sessions.

Prior to managing PAD I worked as a Learning Support Tutor for around five years. I completed my PhD in 2011, I am a Chartered Psychologist and a Senior Fellow of the HEA.

I am currently co-chair of the ALDinHE Professional Development Working Group and have a specific interest in the expansion of learning development regional events.



Carina Buckley - Co-Chair

Southampton Solent University

I am the learning skills tutor for Southampton Solent University, seeing students on a one-to-one basis in tutorials but also offering workshops to small groups on a range of study skills topics. I also support distance and flexible learners via email and the discussion forums and provide integrated support to any student who needs it.

Prior to joining Solent in September 2010, I spent nearly five years as a learning support tutor and researcher at the University of Portsmouth, supporting mature and work-based students through the CETL Foundation Direct and investigating how women returning to education cope with the transition. I have a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Southampton and a post-graduate certificate in teaching and learning in higher education, to prove that I can work with the living as well as the extinct.

In my spare time I enjoy making films with family and friends (staying firmly behind the camera) and have entered a few competitions, although fame has so far eluded me. When not dreaming up new ideas for cinematic glory I love to read, and I run regularly. Sometimes I even enjoy it. I am also undergoing a quest to visit every capital city in Europe, and can so far tick ten off the list. I still go on digs occasionally, if they’re in nice places, but no, I don’t like Time Team at all. At all.



Carina Buckley

Andrea Didier

University of East London

As Head of Academic Skills, I am responsible for the management of a talented and dedicated team of multidisciplinary academic advisers at the University of East London. Their expertise includes study skills, academic literacies, digital literacies and mathematical skills.

Together, as part of Learning and Language services, we are developing new modes of support which are embedded into school areas, as well as ongoing centralized drop-ins, appointments and workshops open to all students. This is in addition to my responsibilities around strategic leadership for the provision of academic skills within the university.

My past professional experience has involved working in a variety of widening participation initiatives, and I have taught within a range of post compulsory settings ranging from community settings to adult education.

Aside from a busy family life, I enjoy travelling, cinema and have recently taken up running.




Andrea Didier

Andy Hagyard - Treasurer

University of Leeds

I work in the Organisational Development & Professional Learning department at the University of Leeds as an Academic Development Consultant, having previously been at the University of Lincoln. My background is in Modern Languages, teaching EFL in France for several years before returning to UK Higher Education and a job developing independent language learning. I have a long-standing interest in learning development and am co-editor of JLDHE, as well as a member of the LearnHigher working group. I have a particular interest in the potential of research- and inquiry-based learning for developing student engagement: while at Lincoln I was part of a team developing and promoting the notion of Student as Producer.

I have three sons who are now officially grown up, leaving me with a little more time for my own interests. I love travelling and am happiest when I'm outdoors, either walking, climbing or running.


Debbie Holley

Bournemouth University

My current role as Deputy Head of the Centre of Excellence for Learning at Bournemouth University enables me to work across the institution to enhance teaching, learning and the student experience. I am passionate about teaching and learning, and was thrilled be recognised as a National Teaching Fellow.

Entering academia from industry,(I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) I quickly realised that students on my transport courses, with their patterns of shift working, had very limited opportunities to attend regular classes. These difficulties, not unique and indeed shared with other students, led to my seeking out expert guidance and resources to help my students, which is where I met members of LearnHigher (now part of ALDinHE). Working with, and contributing to the work of the LearnHigher, WriteNow and RLO-CETL, I have students and their experiences at the centre of my work. I am a keen advocate of Open Educational Resources (OERS) and think that sharing work makes a significant difference in overcoming the educational digital divide through supporting/modelling best practice in availability, accessibility and acceptability. All my own digital work is available via creative commons (CC) licensing, enabling free repurpose/reuse for educational purposes.




Debbie Holley

Maria Kukhareva

University of Bedfordshire

I work in Professional and Academic Development at the University of Bedfordshire. My time is divided between advising students and developing collaborative projects around embedding academic skills into curriculum. I also deliver CPD to teaching staff on mapping out and enhancing current provision.

Before entering the world of Learning Development I worked as a lecturer (Social policy), project developer (Widening Participation) and content producer (BBC world service). My professional and academic experience spans Education, Social science, Widening participation, Business and Linguistics.

My doctoral research focused on risk and resilience, and resilience framework as a holistic approach to complex realities and life journeys. It is still very much my research interest, alongside reflective pedagogies, learner identity; transitions and turning points. I have published work on a variety of education-related issues and presented at seventeen conferences in the UK, Canada and Europe. I am also a member of the Widening Access, Student Retention and Success group at the Higher Education Academy.

Outside my current role I am an independent researcher, a photographer and a dancer (ballroom and latin). And yes, I am a huge Strictly fan.


Maria Kukhareva

Simon Lambe

London South Bank University

Louise Livesey

Bradford University

I develop and deliver Academic Skills workshops to undergraduates at the University of Bradford.

My background is varied: I worked for many years in the private sector as a sales manager both freelance and directly, then became a mature student undertaking a BA (Hons) English Lit degree. My next position was as a Widening Participation in HE Officer, followed by a stint on the Work Programme supporting long-term unemployed clients back into jobs. Whilst a WP Officer, I sat on a publicity steering group for a national befriending scheme; worked with partner institutions on a national MEG progression initiative scheme; and assisted in the development and delivery in a THE Finalist progression scheme with AimHigher. I was also the inaugural chair of an HE Student Council, and, whilst doing a PGCE (HE/FE/Adult), a Student Governor.

I have developed many support and transition projects from a peer mentoring scheme (FOOTSTEPS) to a HE Activity Day (where prospective students met lecturing and support staff). I am an Associate Fellow of the HE Academy, and currently enjoy studying for a Masters in Education. My research project and general area of interest is student engagement with the university’s academic support services.





Amanda Pocklington

University of Exeter

I have been an Education Adviser and Instructional Designer at the University of Exeter since 2008. I currently work in a small team whose main activities revolve around student engagement and skills development. I oversee the peer programmes at Exeter supporting programme organisers and leaders/mentors to develop and operate programmes across all colleges. Our team also provide lectures and workshops for students on a variety of study skills topics. We also continue in the development of a range of online study skills resources to offer 24/7 support for students. Prior to this my education oriented career saw me lecturing in sport, exercise and health at FE and HE institutions before crossing over to leading a transition programme for new undergraduates.

In a former life (before working in education!) I was a recreation manager on one of the larger US Air Force’s base’s in the UK. This involved organising outdoor activities including undertaking some teaching and of course participating in a variety of outdoor activities including jumping out of a plane - with parachute thankfully.

My leisure time is generally spent dancing – mainly ballroom, with a little modern jive and Argentine Tango.



Amanda Pocklington

Christie Pritchard

Plymouth University

I have worked in Higher Education for the past 5 years, and as a full time Learning Development Advisor at Plymouth University I am privileged to work across all disciplines and levels of study. I am genuinely passionate about improving students’ experiences with academic learning as well as their personal development.

As well as teaching, contributing to course designs, and developing initiatives to promote students’ engagement with their learning, I am also a co-ordinator for the Writing Café, an alternative learning space on campus. I have carried out research and pedagogic work in the area of learning spaces and policy, students’ belonging and identity, and peer support. Recently I began the journey of a professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) and hope this research, as well as my experience at Plymouth, will support the work of the Association and promote the field of Learning Development in academia.

Outside of work, I love nothing more than taking my dog ‘Biscuit’ up on to Dartmoor, or escaping the pressures of life by pitching my bell tent in the middle of nowhere. Sitting around a camp fire under the stars is good for the soul!




Christie Pritchard

Steve Rooney

University of Leicester

As Learning Development Manager, in the University of Leicester's Careers Service, I manage a small team of (quite brilliant!) people, responsible for providing resources, workshops and individual consultations. In addition, I work closely with academic departments to provide curriculum-level materials, and am regularly engaged in teaching students from a variety of subjects and levels of study. Prior to my current role, I worked as a tutor in further education, and as a skills development trainer for the University of Leicester Students' Union.

I have been a member of the Association for three years (since commencing my current post) during which time I have followed closely its work and attended - as both a delegate and presenter - its annual conferences. I am committed to supporting the work of the Association in particular, and promoting learning development more generally.

Outside work, I help run a regular spoken word and performance poetry night in Leicester. I also enjoy walking, reading, going to the theatre, and listening to music. I used to be passionate about shouting at the television, but since the advent of twitter, I shout less and type more.


Steve Rooney

Sandra Sinfield

London Metropolitan University

In a previous life I have worked as a laboratory technician, a freelance copy writer, an Executive Editor ( Medicine Digest) and in the voluntary sector including with the Islington Green School Community Play written by Alan ‘Whose Life is it Anyway?’ Clarke and produced at Sadler's Wells.

I first taught English Literature A’ levels in evening class and then ‘study skills’ on some of the first Access programmes in the country. I am now a Senior Lecturer in Learning Development, a University Teaching Fellow and a member of the LearnHigher Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning:

With my partner Tom Burns, I have taken a production of John Godber’s ‘Bouncers’ on a tour of Crete discos, produced a staggeringly unsuccessful feature film (‘Eight Days from Yesterday’) - and developed Learning Curve Productions: Everything you wanted to know about studying…but were too afraid to ask and The Work Smart series of staff and student teaching & learning materials. The video that accompanied these two packs won the 1998 IVCA gold award for education - and we still have some in the shed if you are interested!

More recently we have produced two textbooks ( Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university – for students –and Teaching, learning and study skills: a guide for tutors – for staff) for Sage publications.

I think that I have been fortunate to have such a varied working life – and that all these experiences have fed fruitfully into my work as a teacher and as a learning developer. It’s a shame that we are now locking our children into career paths from nursery school…




Sandra Sinfield

Katharine Stapleford - Secretary

Leeds Beckett University

I am an Online Learning Tutor within the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University. I provide academics skills guidance and e-learning support to distance learning students on the Online PGCE and other online courses and modules within the school. As well as being ALDinHE secretary, I serve on the ALDinHE Professional Development and Conference Working Groups.

My background is in English language teaching: English language in Zimbabwe and France then ESOL in FE in Birmingham and Blackburn. I then became more involved in teacher education before moving into Learning Development in HE where I was involved in the development of an FE – HE Transition Programme and an Academic English summer school.

I love learning technology and am currently involved in two research projects: one reviewing the use of social media in teacher education and another developing a series of live online academic, information and digital literacy workshops.


Outside of work I’m a beekeeper, grower of veggies and cat lover (the latter two are somewhat conflictual) and have recently taken up fell-running.



Zey Suka-Bill

London College of Communication

My current role as Associate Dean of Progression, Attainment and Support at UAL supports the strategic planning, development of College policy and practice, and provision, relating to:

· student progression, retention and attainment;

· academic support, inreach activity and the personal tutorial system;

· Widening Participation

· international student experience; and

· student induction.

I have extensive experience of working with students from a range of nationalities, cultures, and diverse socio-economic backgrounds, working at a number of UK Higher Education institutions for the last 20 years and have extensive teaching experience across all academic levels, in various types of learning development provisions with a particular interest in facilitating peer learning opportunities.

By background in photography has shifted from a commercial practice to the use of photography as a research tool through Photovoice projects that engage students in the creative processes to explore identity transition and intersectionality as a medium to develop new ways of seeing, thinking and collaborating.


I am currently the Editor of the ALDinHE bi-annual newsletter and co-chair of the Communications and Member Engagement Working Group.

Zey Suka-Bill



Joining the steering group

Steering group members are elected at the Annual General Meeting, held during the annual conference.

A full description of the roles and responsibilities of steering group members can be found in the following document:

ALDinHE Steering Group posts and roles 2017.docx ( - 19 KB)

If you would like to nominate yourself to become a member of the Steering Group, please complete the form below and return to

ALDinHE SG Nomination Form 2017.doc ( - 113 KB)

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