Executive Committee

Lisa Cooper – Chair

lisa cooperI work as an SpLD Tutor and Assessor. My role takes me into many HEI’s, colleges and schools, as well as running my own education centre in Essex. This diverse working environment has allowed me to develop a very good working knowledge of the many issues faced by members of ADSHE, including the on-going changes to the funding of the support we provide to students.

I have experience of being a member of the ADSHE Exec for the past 6 years, initially as a co-opted member before moving into my previous role as Freelance Officer and now as Chair. During this time I have become increasingly aware of the difficulties faced by members and the students we support; it has not been an easy time for us all.  We continue to be in a rather daunting phase in relation to DSA and the greater emphasis of inclusive practice being placed on HEI’s in terms of reasonable adjustments.

My role is to support the membership by promoting the voice of ADSHE as an organisation of specialist practitioners who are pioneering quality provision in the field of specialist support to learners in higher education.  It is vitally important in these changing times that ADSHE maintains its strong position and voice on the many groups it participates in, as well as representing members on the issues they face. I aim to be a strong advocate for the membership, whilst maintaining an objective perspective on matters relating to DSA provision. However, is imperative that the specialisms we bring to the DSA process are acknowledged and sustained. I hope that my vast and knowledgeable perspective on matters relating to NMH and DSA will allow me to promote ADSHE and enable me to support the Chair, the exec and the members to achieve this.

Jane Warren: Representative on SASC

JW photoI have been an ADSHE member since 2005; my local region is Southern. In 2005 I became a dyslexia tutor assessor at the University of Southampton, so I have strong experience in teaching, screening and assessing students with dyslexia and am now on my fourth PATOSS APC. Since autumn 2011 I’ve held a senior teaching fellowship on Southampton’s MSc Ed SpLD, accredited for both AMBDA and AMBDA FE/HE and training a new generation of specialists. I combine this with a part-time post at Reading University doing diagnostic assessments.  I have been an active forum member and greatly value the networking opportunities and resource sharing in what, as we all know, can be a lonely role. I support ADSHE’s vital contribution towards maintaining and enhancing the professional standing of dyslexia specialists, especially through the quality assurance initiatives, at this very uncertain time for our profession.

John Conway –  Treasurer.       Website & Jiscmail co-ordinator

John ConwayI am Head of Disability at the Royal Agricultural University, a post I created in 1999,when I set up the Disability Service initiating and managing the support provision for all disabled students and also responsible for developing inclusive teaching, learning and assessment strategies. The Royal Agricultural University has the fourth highest proportion of  dyslexic students in the country so we work hard to make the teaching and learning environment fully inclusive.  As a full time academic I also have a direct impact on teaching and assessment methods through ex-officio membership of the Curriculum Review  Committee, Student Affairs Group and the Academic Board.  I’m also a Fellow of the HEA.  I believe very strongly in the right of every student to access education according to their abilities and not to be restricted by any impairment. I was elected to the NADP Board of Directors in 2006 where I am both Treasurer and Company Secretary.

I was invited to the National Executive of ADSHE in 2009 to manage the JISCmail e-forums and website and now have a position on the board of directors as Treasurer .  I was invited to chair the STEM Disability Committee promoting inclusion in the various STEM degrees and careers.  STEM DC is composed of representatives of the major scientific societies including the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, the General Medical Council, Royal Academy of Engineering and many others.

Most recently I have been invited to sit on the Disabled Students’ Sector Leadership Group, created to advise the government on Inclusive Practice.  I also chair the GuildHE student support network.

Tanya Zybutz –  Deputy Chair : Quality Assurance Officer

I first became interested in the quality side of 1:1 specialist support around 10 years ago when I was part of a discussion at an ADSHE event.  Colleagues were sharing how students responded to the support they received from us, their 1:1 tutors. The response, “I could never have done this without your support” was an extremely common feedback phrase from our students. We all took this as evidence of the quality of support we delivered. The prevalence of this feedback, led to me to think about what we as professionals were actually doing in our 1:1 support sessions and also how we might go about ensuring the quality of the provision both for our professional development and also, for the students who were recipients of the 1:1 specialist support.

I have since been involved in the development of the ADSHE QA process from its inception, led by Janet Skinner who chaired the QA Working Party. We have led workshops and been involved in Professional Peer Supervision development and training. I have been committed to seeing this process integrated within ADSHE membership as it becomes part of the landscape of our professional practice. We have now achieved this and our QA procedure has been praised by those who manage the DSA, as a model of excellence.

In a demanding and often uncertain funding climate, I believe it is crucial that ADSHE’s QA process is steered by people who have a proven track record of working effectively and professionally with a commitment to making ADSHE Quality Assurance both meaningful to us as practitioners as well as ensuring professional standards across the sector. I believe that, as a team, this is what Janet and I can offer ADSHE. Furthermore, adding a training component to this Exec role will open opportunities for our professional body to lead the way in developing training pathways to suit the needs of our membership.

Janet Skinner –  Quality Assurance Officer

I have been involved with ADSHE Quality Assurance from the outset.  Together with Tanya and others on the Quality Assurance team, I have been involved with the development of the Quality Assurance policy, including the Tutor Audit and Professional Peer Development.  We have run several workshops and given presentations to inform members and other interested parties about the principles behind the Quality Assurance initiative.  I have also been involved with the setting up of the Register.

I believe very strongly that as a profession, there is a need for dyslexia practitioners to demonstrate that we are suitably quality assured as this demonstrates both our commitment to the students we work with and our professionalism.  It also demonstrates to stakeholders that the service we provide for students is worthwhile and of the highest quality. Sharing the role of Quality Assurance Officer with Tanya, I am able to continue to promote ADSHE’s principles about the importance of quality assurance for dyslexia professionals in Higher Education.

Mark Worrall – Regional Coordinator For the past 8 years, I have been working part-time at Cardiff Metropolitan University as a Personal Tutor. This is a pastoral and academic support role in the School of Management, which includes supporting neurodiverse students. It was through this work that I decided to undertake a qualification to become a Specialist Study Skills tutor, a role which I perform two days a week at the University of Gloucestershire, alongside my work at Cardiff Met.

I have been responsible for numerous and varied projects throughout my working life, and recently at Cardiff Met I have been responsible for assisting the implementation of the SpLD Students’ Forum, and liaising with Student Services to develop inclusive learning environments. We now have Diversity Awareness workshops embedded in the curriculum at all undergraduate levels throughout the School. Since working at the University of Gloucestershire, I have set up and currently Chair the Continuing Professional Development group for Specialist Study Skills tutors. We meet once a term to share best practice (between ourselves and other departments), participate in Peer Supervisions, and participate in Assistive Technology demonstrations.

As someone who had a late diagnosis of Dyslexia, I am very aware of socio-emotional issues that can affect our students, and the importance of both recognising and supporting these as necessary. This is my main area of interest. By serving on the Executive Committee, I aim to focus on how we can best support all our students, especially those with socio-emotional needs. This will be particularly important as the current changes to funding through the DSA take effect, along with the ongoing implementation of inclusive learning environments in HE, and the challenges these may bring for both our neurodiverse students and ourselves.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and I have completed a PG Certificate in teaching adults with SpLDs and, more recently, a PG Diploma in assessing for Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in FE and HE.

Cheri Stone
Cheri Stone

I embarked on a degree as mature student, I am dyslexic and the first in my family to study at this level. One thought I did have while studying was that I didn’t want to become a professional dyslexic, but as they say you teach best what you need to learn. While there have been many positives from the degree process, confidence not being the least of them, it has not been an unmitigated success given the current working climate. However, what it has left me with is a profound respect  for the students and a real passion to support them in overcoming the barriers to education that they encounter. Right from the beginning aDSHE has been part of  this development of understanding for me, from one of my first dyslexia tutors who was a founding member to the present where the 7 principles are emerging as the solid underpinning of my practice from a case study I am currently conducting  and much else in between. I hope that my contribution to the executive will help to develop and continue this good work.

Gemma Holtam – AT Officer 
John ConwaySince 2015, I have worked as an Assistive Technology (AT) Officer at the University of Sheffield. I provide one-to-one and group training on how students can use AT to study more efficiently and effectively. I also deliver staff development workshops and am involved in institutional wide projects to raise awareness of how technology can be used to develop inclusive teaching and learning materials. Before this role, I delivered DSA funded AT training and specialist study skills support to HE students studying at an FE college. I have also taught on a number of formal programs within the lifelong learning sector, including the City and Guilds Adult Literacy and Numeracy courses.

In 2017 I co-founded an AT network, which provides peer support opportunities for AT specialists working within universities and the group has started with 29 institutions as members. We meet at least once a semester to share best practice, as well as the latest resources relating to AT, and I will be able to share this information with you. For the work that I have undertaken to develop this network, I was awarded the ADSHE AT Award at the 2017 annual conference.

As ADSHE’s 7 principles explain, for tuition to be effective the information needs to be; relevant to the student’s needs, such as focusing on revisions skills during the exam period, strategies need to be modelled, plus information needs to be presented ‘little and often’ and there needs to be opportunities for overlearning. For AT support to be successfully embedded into a student’s practice, I believe it is crucial that outside of the overview that students receive in their initial AT training strategies for using these tools are constantly reintroduced and reinforced within specialist study skills tuition. As the Assistive Technology Officer, I have the privileged position of being able to support members with developing their use of AT.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have recently completed a PG Certificate in Dyslexia Research and Practice and hold awarded Approved Teacher Status FE/HE. I have also been awarded Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status.


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