Professional Recognition

The professional recognition group supports formal and professional recognition of learning development achievements. The group supports the professional recognition of those working in learning development by reviewing applications and acting as a critical friend. The group assists in professional recognition activities, such as, writing retreats to develop CeP and CeLP applications.

If you are interested in joing the professional recognition group, please email, an expression of interest (approx 100 words) on your suitability for the role and your reason why you’d like to be involved in this group.

Bernard Aidoo

Member of the Professional Recognition Working Group

Member of the Research and Scholarship Working Group

I am an Academic Mentor for Psychology at London Metropolitan University.

My role entails supporting students achieve their personal, academic and career goals through 1-1 and team coaching. My background is in Positive Psychology, Coaching and Teaching & Learning. I am keen to apply these areas in supporting students to achieve positive academic outcomes.

Chad McDonald

Chad is a Senior Academic and Study Skills Tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he manages a team of nine learning developers. He previously taught academic literacies at the Universities of Bristol and Chester. Much of his work has focused on students who are at transition points in higher education, especially in arts and humanities disciplines. He has been a member of LearnHigher’s working group since 2021 and ALDinHE’s Professional Recognition working group since 2023. Chad joined the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education’s editorial board in 2024. He is an Advance HE Senior Fellow (SFHEA) and an ALDinHE Certified Leading Practitioner (CeLP). Chad occasionally tweets about learning development using @Chad_McDonald.

Daisy Abbott

Daisy joined the Professional Recognition Working Group in 2022. She is an interdisciplinary researcher and research developer based in the School of Innovation and Technology at The Glasgow School of Art. Daisy’s research is focussed on game-based learning, serious games and novel pedagogies, mostly focussed on postgraduate contexts. Other research interests include digital interaction, documentation, and interpretation in the arts and humanities. Daisy is an Advance HE Senior Fellow and a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development.

Gaynor Williams

I am a Learning Developer at Canterbury Christ Church University working with students studying in the Creative Arts and Industries,  Humanities and Languages. I am based within a Learning Skills Team alongside fellow Learning Developers and Learning & Research Librarians. My practice is underpinned by experience gained in a variety of learning and teaching roles, including teaching history and study skills to undergraduate students; working with adult learners preparing to return to education and teaching Key Skills to A level students in a Further Education college. Before moving into learning development, I undertook research for a PhD in History at the University of Liverpool after which I gained further research experience on a project at Liverpool John Moores University, as well as on a library and archive digitisation project hosted by Libraries, Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.

Heather Barker

Heather manages the University of Surrey’s Academic Skills & Development team comprising Learning Development Advisers and Learning Development Librarians. A key research area is inclusive and holistic learning development encompassing cognitive, affective and emotional aspects of a learner’s journey.

This informed her contributions to developing an institutional approach to ‘Resourcefulness and Resilience’ (one of five key ‘pillars’ of Surrey’s Curriculum Framework) and the development of team projects exploring learner support for ‘study wellbeing’ and transitions, as well as contributions to student guidance for the effective use of Artificial Intelligence.

Heather is a member of ALDinHE’s Professional Recognition and EDI groups.

Kate Coulson

ALDinHE Deputy Chair

Kate is Associate Dean for Assessment at BPP University. She is an Advance HE Senior Fellow, a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development, a National Teaching Fellow and an Associate Professor in Educational Practice. Kate joined the ALDinHE Steering Group in 2019 as Secretary and became Co-Chair in 2023. Kate’s background includes working for City of London Law Firms and Investment Banks. She moved into higher education nearly 20 years ago; in her current role she is able to utilise her corporate experience alongside her academic credentials which she really enjoys. Kate undertakes research upon a wide variety of areas: resilience, student attainment, progression and retention, CPD, the award gap as well as the impact of Learning Development. She is a keen mentor , mainly because she is nosey and likes talking, Kate is currently mentoring candidates for Senior Fellow of Advance HE, National Teaching Fellowships, Associate Professor and new to HE colleagues. Kate is a very proud advocate of the impact of Learning Development too so do mention this to her if you ever cross her path.

Paul Chin

Professional Recognition Working Group Member

Paul joined the conference committee in 2017, the Steering Group in 2020 and became ALDinHE Co-Chair in 2021 and is based in the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University of Bath. Paul is a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development and a Principle Fellow of the HEA. His main research interest is peer learning, having completed his PhD in online peer learning and assessment. Paul also has an active interest in developing graduate attributes, promoting employability skills and learning technology – as well as occasionally dabbling in other areas of learning development . As an Associate Member of CIPD Paul is also a keen advocate of promoting personal and professional development.

Sam Aston

My passion for enabling students to achieve their best and I have been involved in supporting and teaching students for most of my career. I was first in family to attend university as a mature and part-time learner which prompts me to have inclusion and accessibility as a priority in how I work with students. Before becoming a lecturer I was a learning developer at Manchester and I am a lapsed librarian as well as a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and CeLP.

Sam Thomas

Steering Group Member

Chair of the Continuous Professional Development Working Group

Sam Thomas is a Senior Academic Skills Tutor at Arden University. Prior to this she worked at the University of Northampton as a Learning Development Tutor and Mentor Manager. She is a Fellow of Advance HE, an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner and an active member of ALDinHE. Her focus is to provide support and services to those with additional needs, including improving the accessibility of online resources, and supporting the needs of non-traditional and distance learners.

Samantha King

Sam has been a Learning Development tutor at the University of Northampton since 2018. Prior to this, she gained several years’ experience as an EAP lecturer in higher education, and taught English as a Foreign Language to teenagers and adults in F.E. colleges, the community, and the workplace.  She is an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner and a Fellow of AdvanceHE.  Her research interests include using the student voice to understand the student experience; supporting widening participation in the HE sector; and the development of academic writing skills among students.

Sheryl Mansfield

Steering Group Member
Chair of the Professional Recognition Working Group

Sheryl has been a member the Steering Group since May 2020. She is Head of Learning Development at the University of Northampton. She is an Advance HE Senior Fellow, a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development and Qualified Teacher. Her background teaching Sport Science in Further and Higher Education institutions has offered a plethora of experience actively engaging learners. Her research interests include asynchronous resources and inclusive teaching.

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