Steering Group

The steering group consists of the Association’s Co-Chairs, Treasurer, Secretary and Working Group Leads. The steering group is elected annually. Election is on a self-nomination basis, supported by a current member of the steering group or a working group co-chair, with membership ratified at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). At each AGM, there is opportunity for new members to join the steering group without portfolio and be supported for 1 year before moving into a named role within ALDinHE. To join the Steering Group, please respond to the call which is issued in April each year via the LDHEN list.


  • Contribute to the strategic development of the association.
  • Gain experience in the operation of the association with people from other institutions.
  • Develop professional skills that can translate to careers in and out of academia.
  • Demonstrate impact for professional accreditations, eg. ALDinHE, AdvanceHE.
  • Develop new insights into current trends and initiatives in the LD community.
  • Opportunity to take responsibility in a chosen area.
  • A chance to step outside of normal routine to become more objective.
  • Benefit from knowledge exchange, share practice and influence a culture of collaboration.

Alicja Syska

Steering Group Member
Chair of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education Editorial Board

Dr Alicja Syska has been an editor at the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education since 2018 and a Co-Lead Editor since early 2019. She is a Learning Development Advisor at the University of Plymouth where she also holds lecturing posts in Education and History. Alicja has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Saint Louis University, USA, is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE, and an ALDinHE Certified Leading Practitioner. Her interests include writing, community building, and researcher development.

Amy West

I am a Learning Development Tutor at the University of Northampton, having joined in 2018. Prior to this I taught in primary education for over a decade, and before that, worked in the arts. My background connects with my ongoing interest in creative and active learning. My current research interests centre on the use of metaphor in learning and teaching, and on how international projects impact those involved in them.

Carina Buckley

ALDinHE Treasurer
JLDHE Editorial Board Member

Carina joined the Steering Group in 2012 and was Co-Chair 2015 – 2021. She came into learning development almost by accident after gaining a PhD in Archaeology in 2006, and is currently Instructional Design Manager at Solent University, responsible for leading on the development of the VLE as a student-centred learning space. Her research interests focus on collaboration and community in LD, and how these impact and are impacted by our professional identities, particularly in terms of emotion and imposter syndrome. She is an Advance HE Principal Fellow and a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development.

Christie Pritchard

ALDinHE Co-Chair

Christie has been a member of the Steering Group since 2015 and became ALDinHE Co-Chair in 2022 and was Co-Chair of the Research and Development working group between 2018-2021. She is a senior leader at the University of Plymouth and Heads up the Academic Development department, leading strategy and support in Digital Education, Educational Development, Learning Development and English Language. She is an Advance HE Senior Fellow, a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development and completed her Doctorate in Education in 2021, focusing on student learning spaces and the Higher Education climate.

Ed Bickle

Steering Group Member

I have been a lecturer in Learning Development at Bournemouth University since 2017, working within a small academic team to provide faculty level support to students. I am co-lead of the ALDinHE research community of practice and a member of the research and scholarship working group.

I also have extensive experience of research within the field of widening participation and my PhD examined how young people from widening participation backgrounds formulate their aspirations through everyday experiences.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Certified Practitioner of LD (CeP).

Helena Beeson

Chair of LearnHigher and Steering Group Member

Helena Beeson started working as a Learning Development Tutor in 2011 at the University of Northampton but has worked in roles across Library and Learning Services for several years before this. She is currently working as a Learning Development Tutor and Mentor Manager. Helena joined the LearnHigher in 2019 to collaborate with colleagues in similar roles across the country and share her wealth of experience. She is an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner, a Fellow of the HEA with a MA in Modern English and Linguistics. Her current research interests include collaboration with student mentors and promoting student autonomy.

Ian Johnson

Steering Group Member
Chair of the Research and Scholarship Development Group

Ian has been active in ALDinHE since 2015 and a member of the peer mentoring working group since Spring 2020. He set up ALDinHE’s research community of practice at the same time, as the first CoP under the peer mentoring group umbrella, and continues to run it. The CoP provides informal peer support, critical friendship etc for research-active learning developers, and has co-authored a journal article, book chapter and several conference presentations around collaboration between learning developers. Ian is in the late stages of a professional doctorate on the framing and value of Learning Development work and also has research interests in feedback on student work and the teaching of reflective writing practices.

Joy Igiebor

Joy is a Learning Development Tutor at Birkbeck, University of London where she works under the Education Directorate supporting the academic skills development of students within Birkbeck Law School and the School of Creative Arts, Culture, and Communication. Within the ALDinHE community, Joy has undertaken peer review for the JLDHE, guest edited, written for Take5, and chaired online sessions during Conference. She is a member of several educational professional bodies including the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and an affiliate member of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy at UCL IOE. She is interested in teaching and research related to academic writing, critical pedagogies, and learning developers’ identity and professional development.  Joy is a qualified primary teacher and has also taught on university pre-sessional EAP courses.  She is a Fellow of Advance HE and has an MEd (Cambridge), PGCE (Southampton), LPC, GDL (University of Law), BSc (Brunel), and CELTA qualification.

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.

Kiu Sum

Steering Group Member

Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

Kiu Sum is a Lecturer in Nutrition at Solent University, Southampton. Her research focuses on healthcare professionals’ diets and nutritional behaviour in shift work. Kiu is also interested in pedagogy research in higher education, focusing on student engagement and partnerships. At ALDinHE, she is a member of the Steering Group, leads the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group and is also part of the Research Community of Practice. Kiu also previously contributed to the RAISE Network as a Student Officer. She also co-convenes RAISE Network’s Engagement Assessment and the Early Career Researchers Special Interest Groups and sits on the Editorial Board for the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal. Kiu hosts The Education Burrito Podcast (@EdBurritoPod).

Laura Barclay

Steering Group Member

Events Group Chair 

Maddy Mossman

ALDinHE Secretary

Maddy has been a steering group member since 2020. She has coordinated the ALDinHE regional events since 2017 – 2023. Maddy has worked in higher education for over eighteen years, predominantly in teaching, widening participation and learning development roles. She moved to take up her current position as Head of Learning Development at the University of Leeds in February 2018. Her particular interests are the pedagogy of academic literacies, particularly academic writing, and the coordination and collaboration opportunities for student support services in large institutions.

Raghda Zahran

Steering Group Member
Conference Committee Chair

Raghda is a Programme Manager of Education Technology, drawing upon her extensive experience to lead innovative initiatives that enhance research, teaching, learning, and community engagement through the strategic application of educational and specialist technology. Raghda has taught and directed academic programmes in higher education, and she is interested in academic digital autonomy as well as the sociopolitical implications of merging technologies, particularly beyond the shift to the cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things. As an active contributor to the field, Raghda chairs and speaks at public conferences. She is a Senior Fellow of AdvancedHE and a member of several professional organisations, including the Project Management Institute (PMI), Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR), ACM-Women, British Computer Society (BCS), and IEEE.

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.

Sandra Sinfield

Steering Group Member
Co-Chair of the Peer Mentoring Group

Sandra Sinfield SFHEA and CeLP, is Senior Lecturer and University Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Professional and Educational Development at London Metropolitan University, a co-author of Teaching, Learning and Study Skills: a guide for tutors and Essential Study Skills: the complete guide to success at university (5th Edition), and one of the co-founders of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDHE). Sandra has worked as a laboratory technician, a freelance copywriter, and an Executive Editor (Medicine Digest, circulation 80,000 doctors). With Tom Burns, she has developed theatre and film in unusual places – their Take Control video won the IVCA gold award for education – and is interested in creativity as emancipatory practice in Higher Education.

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.

Steve White

Steering Group Member

I currently work in a hybrid educational developer / learning developer role in Southampton University Business School. This involves supporting various forms of peer learning, transition and student representative schemes, whilst attempting to influence curriculum development to include consideration for learning development. I’ve previously worked in learning development and educational development roles at Arts University Bournemouth, and also have previous experience in online learning design. My PhD explored the way learning designers work in a third space in higher education, spanning academic/professional/technical functions. I’m interested to continue exploring the idea of third space work for learning developers following on from existing research amongst ALDinHE members. I’m also interested in the development student and staff digital literacy, and teaching and learning of critical thinking. I’ve chosen to work in education because I like helping people learn things, and I do it in a university because I want to know what really works … even if the critical theorists out there get the ick over such notions as ‘what works’.

Skip to content