ALDinHE Annual Awards 2022

This page celebrates and publicises exceptional work taking place within the learning development community, highlighted through the ALDinHE Annual Awards nominations. Here you can read about the nominees’ work from the 2022 awards.

Congratulations to our 2022 winner: Nel Boswood, Lancaster University.

Nomination put forward by the Learning Development team at Lancaster University, led by Dr Sarah Robin and Dr Elizabeth Caldwell.

Nel Boswood is nominated by her team as an outstanding and inspirational practitioner-manager of Learning Development. She has and continues to make HE a fairer and more inclusive learning space. Nel’s expertise in Learning Development stems from an impressive career teaching and developing programmes at institutions in the UK, Spain, Greece, France and Indonesia. Her experience ensures she has an excellent understanding of Learning Development and a powerful ability to articulate its importance. She has successfully led the expansion of Learning Development at Lancaster University and holds students at the centre of everything we do. As one team member noted, she empowers those around her through ‘exemplary leadership.’

Nel is a skilled advocate for Learning Development and our students. In recent years, she helped secure numerous funding awards, including: to make teaching materials accessible; greater Widening Participation provision; and the expansion of student peer-mentoring schemes. Nel’s determination to promote inclusive learning has influenced university policy. For example, Nel created and led a referencing working group within the Library, which has ultimately created more consistency for students. She fights for the continuing professionalization of Learning Developers, encouraging and supporting her team to attain national fellowships, as well as pertinent training and consultation opportunities. She supports the team’s research ambitions; three team members will shortly publish an article in JLDHE and share online resources on LearnHigher. Her tireless articulation of our ethos and what we do has helped open doors, allowing greater recognition and respect. She fosters a space of support, cohesion, reflection and one where we can all learn from mistakes. As one Learning Developer observed, ‘her dedication and enthusiasm for Learning Development and what we collectively want to achieve as a team means we all go above and beyond to empower students to develop and enhance their skills.’

2022 Nominations

Dr Chad McDonald, Manchester Metropolitan University. Nominated by Joseph Emeka Nwankwo, Manchester Metropolitan University:

I am a former Academic and Study Skills Tutor and current PhD researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am writing to nominate Dr. Chad McDonald, Senior Academic and Study Skills Tutor, for the ALDinHE Annual Award 2022.

I have had the privilege of working with and learning from Chad. During this time, Chad embodied the five ALDinHE values and made a significant contribution to the Learning Development team at the university. Indeed, Chad’s effort at promoting learning development and the exchange of ideas has resulted in collaboration opportunities between Manchester Met’s Learning Development team and other learning development teams in universities across Manchester.

As my line manager and, before that, colleague, Chad was generous with his time and knowledge—especially given that I was relatively new to the profession. Chad was a guide. He encouraged my endeavours, gave advice on teaching practices, shared resources, and encouraged me to take on opportunities for continuous professional development (CPD).

In his teaching, Chad champions inclusion by recognising and incorporating strategies that improve learning for a diverse student body. His attention to the full range of student needs and active efforts in using learning technologies have yielded significant outcome as students consistently praised his work and approach.

I am proud to have worked with Chad this past year and happy to nominate him for this prestigious award. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I’d be happy to answer.

Dr Ursula Canton, Glasgow Caledonian University. Nominated by Chenée Psaros, Queen Mary University of London:

Ursula’ reach goes beyond her day to day work as an Academic Development Tutor were she’s works alongside students to make sense of and get the most out of HE learning (Value 1). Although we are at different institutions, I have observed Ursula’s dedication to making HE inclusive through emancipatory practice, partnership working and collaboration (Value 2) by working with her on the ALDinHE Mentoring Scheme. Ursula led development of the scheme using a collaborative approach which considered all those who worked on the project perspectives and abilities. As a member of the group I was able to learn much from her approach and values. The mentoring scheme is an example of how a few individuals can influence a community, no one in the group influenced the scheme to the same extent that Ursula did. Ursula’s collective approach to effective Learning Development practice (Value 3) is evidenced by the way Jane Mckay and her shared what they had managed to achieve with ScotHELD’s mentoring scheme with ALDinHE. The generosity they displayed by sharing materials, ideas and experience was truly remarkable and the scheme would not exist or be as reflective today without their contribution. She demonstrates clear commitment to a scholarly approach and research related to Learning Development and publishes in the field of Learning Development as established by her outputs ( The mentoring scheme itself is an excellent example of the scholarly approach that Ursula upholds (Value 4). I have participated in many professional development opportunities with her, the ALDinHE Mentoring Group and  the Leadership Community of Practice, to name a few. Ursula has demonstrated critical self-reflection and a commitment to professional development (Value 5) by being an active member of the ALDinHE community.

Dr Jenny Reeve, Manchester Metropolitan University. Nominated by Louise Livesey, Manchester Metropolitan University:

Dr. Jenny Reeve is new to LD, but has quickly become a key member of the team providing insightful evidence- and experience-based perspectives on all manner of LD aspects to teaching and learning. She is also a keen advocate of lengthening our reach to student cohorts who are under-represented in our sessions.

Her innate curiosity means she quickly immersed herself in the values and underpinning theories of LD both discretely and as it pertains to her allocated faculty. She enrolled on our PG Certificate course to gain an in-depth understanding of teaching and learning which she knows has already had a positive impact on her practice. All this has led her to not only being valuable to the LD team, but to programme tutors too who have reconsidered their own teaching based on Jenny’s. For a ‘newbie’, she is also keen to learn from and have an impact on the wider LD community: she and a UTA (MMU’S equivalent to CELT) colleague will be delivering at the ALDinHE conference.

She uses peer observation as an opportunity to reflect deeply to further understand her own practice and how to improve it. At the same time, we have already benefited from her perceptive evaluations and suggestions to enhance our work.

Jenny has a unique way of connecting with students that combines with her relevant and fun resources and clever methods of incorporating student input that means they not only enjoy her sessions but become collaborators in their own learning.

Finally, due to vacancies, she has had the sole responsibility of looking after our largest faculty but has handled this extra pressure with grace and aplomb.

I am proud to say I have changed my practice and philosophy as a direct result of her input and example.

And she’s lovely!

Helen Briscoe, Edge Hill University. Nominated by Helen Jamieson, Edge Hill University:

Helen Briscoe currently works as a ‘UniSkills’ Academic Skills Advisor, part of the Student Engagement team, in Edge Hill University (EHU). Helen provides student-centred advice, support, and guidance to students (from pre-entry to taught postgraduate) with their academic writing, referencing, information literacy and general study skills with the aim of supporting them to become more confident learners. Helen works with (not for) students to help them make sense of their Higher Education journey and has a particular passion for supporting non-traditional and diverse students.

Over the last 12 months Helen has played a lead role in the development of our new online asynchronous UniSkills toolkits. This was a collaborative project and Helen worked in partnership with academic, professional support staff and students from across the University. She developed the first ‘exemplar’ toolkit based on one of her passions – academic integrity; supporting students with how they can join an academic community in a responsible way – beyond just getting referencing ‘right’ but understanding their role as part of a wider academic community. The toolkit followed universal design for learning (UDL) principles ensuring accessibility, another of Helen’s passions, was at the heart of the toolkits. Helen is now supporting other members of the team with the creation of a wider set of toolkits that will form part of our asynchronous UniSkills digital offer.

Helen has been sharing her journey to develop inclusive and accessible toolkits across the University via EHU’s Centre for Teaching and Learning staff development programme and is keen to share this practice wider across the sector. Helen is committed to developing support and interventions that are underpinned by scholarly research, academic literature and an evidence base of ‘what works’. Helen is also a critically reflective practitioner committed to learning and development herself; she is presenting at this year’s ALDinHE 2022 conference with two colleagues on the work they have developed to encourage academic resilience amongst the students at EHU. Helen is a very worthy candidate for this year’s ALDinHE award.

Dr Helen Webster, Advance HE. Nominated by Dr Michelle Reid, Oxford Brookes University:

Please accept my nomination of Dr Helen Webster for the ALDinHE Award 2022. Helen has taken a leading role in shaping the professionalisation of LD as a distinct field. She has achieved this in a particularly ‘LD way’ through the discussions, reflections and dialogue she has had with the LD community. Her blog ‘Rattus Scholasticus’  is a key resource in defining the scholarly and values-based approach to LD. I direct colleagues to her blog as the best resource for understanding the developmental and emancipatory foundation of our profession. Helen is very generous in sharing her time and expertise with the wider HE community through her blog, tweets and online discussions. She has been a valuable critical friend to me and has provided mentoring and mutual support during challenging times when undergoing many changes at work. Helen is committed to making HE inclusive through partnership working with students, as shown by her recent work with Newcastle University Students Union on decolonising the curriculum and the role that LD plays in this process. Helen’s self-reflective approach, acknowledging her own position and privilege, is a useful model for how to become a genuine ally for students. During the pandemic, Helen’s leadership meant that her team at Newcastle University were among the first to produce resources and a coherent approach to help students manage the pivot to online learning. I linked to her team’s resources and used her principles as a framework to shape my own team’s resources and to help our students at Oxford Brookes University. Helen has been a lively and inspiring voice within LD for a significant time and she is taking her commitment to LD values into her new role in Advance HE where I am confident she will shape wider HE practice in a distinctly LD way.   

Dr Helen Webster, Advance HE. Nominated by Dr Kim Shahabudin

I am nominating Dr Helen Webster for the 2022 ALDinHE Award.

Helen has been an outstanding champion of learning development as both practice and community throughout her career, as a practitioner, a researcher, a manager, and a mentor. Through her blog, Rattus Scholasticus (, she has led the discussion on professionalism in learning development with research and practice-informed posts on such key topics as the principles and practice of one-to-one meetings, learning developers’ role in decolonising the curriculum, emancipatory practice, and ethics in learning development.

She played a leading role on the ALDinHE Steering Commitee as Treasurer. As lead on professional development within ALDinHE, she had a direct impact and lasting positive influence on the careers of many in the learning development community through the events she led, establishing events for professional development. More recently she has experienced life at the sharp end, managing a learning development team through difficult times at Newcastle University, including all the adaptations to the service needed to respond to lockdown learning.

She has recently made a move to a new post with Advance HE, where she will have the opportunity to draw on her learning development expertise to make an impact on the wider academic community. The ALDinHE Award would be a fitting and highly-deserved way to celebrate Helen’s impact in the learning development community, and a great way to say thank you.

Nayiri Keshishi University of Surrey. Nominated by Sarah Hack, University of Surrey

The School of Psychology Foundation Year is an inclusive programme which supports, stretches and develops students from a variety of backgrounds. Nayiri’s expertise has made a significant contribution to the success of the programme. In particular, it has benefitted from her commitment and enthusiasm to suggesting and embracing opportunities for active learning, to increase students’ confidence in their academic skills and ability to learn in an HE environment. For example, Nayiri designed and developed a formative activity which saw students work in groups to create an academic poster on a certain psychological disorder. Students presented their work at a live poster conference, where they were also required to score and give peer feedback using set marking standards. This was an effective way to not only increase subject knowledge, but also key academic skills such as group work, synthesising/ presenting information and interpreting a grading criteria. 

Nayiri has also helped develop value-added opportunities for students, such as the University Global Partnership Network (UGPN) Academy. This COIL project came 2nd place in the 2021 Pearson HE Innovate award for most innovative approach to widening participation in the curriculum.

Nayiri is very much a ‘team player’ and is always keen to share her work. She recently carried out an Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Training visit to Malmö University to present/ discuss best practice on digital learning environments, widening participation, challenge-based and playful learning. She has also published and presented in The Journal of Learning Development in HE and The Active Learning Network. 

I would like to end by recording how much I, and the students, value Nayiri’s calm, focused and good-humoured approach to learning development. She has a real talent for seeing through the clutter and suggesting clear courses of action. She is also amazingly efficient – an attribute which should never be undervalued! 

Dr Monica Chavez, City of Liverpool College. Nominated by Gita Sedghi University of Liverpool.

Monica’s innovative design of the Champions Programme enabled the establishment of a cross-institutional community of practice with the purpose of elevating academic staff to raise the standards of digital teaching and learning. This community of practice she led institutionally, the Champions Community, supports over 300 members of staff in developing their digital capabilities, sharing best practice and testing innovations in online teaching.

To deliver this initiative, she created and embedded a “Champions’ model” that includes three underlying principles: community of practice, champions’ roles, and peer coaching. A particularly powerful strategy has been that of communities of practice (see Lave and Wenger, 1991), the other two elements are connected to, and even dependent on, the community. Monica has had an impact at the institutional, national and international level with her work:

Institutional impact
The impact of this initiative can be illustrated in the case studies series that I developed with the champions(, the lecturing staff and their students, and their testimonial .

National impact
The Anti-Racism and Learning Technology Community of Practice-an initiative from across 30 plus FE and HE institutions in the UK.

International impact
The ‘Champions’ model’; she developed was part of the consultancy work to support Peruvian universities in partnership with the British Council to support the virtualisation of modules during the pandemic. As a senior consultant for this project, she co-created a Leaders Community to support a group of six Peruvian universities who take part in a Teaching Online Programme. Monica has created an online resource to enable colleagues across HE and FE to make use of communities of practice to embed ‘community’ into a special cause, initiative or programme/module.

Skip to content