Role: Adviser for Northern Ireland
Stephen Harper is an AccessAbility Adviser (Mental Health) at Ulster University (UU) and works directly with disabled students, assessing their individual needs, advocating, and ensuring that reasonable adjustments are put in place within the learning and teaching environment. His specialism has been supporting students with diagnosed mental health conditions over the last 6 years at UU and promoting inclusive practice to help to remove disability related barriers. Stephen was Acting Disability Services Manager across UU’s four regional campuses during 2019 managing the AccessAbility team, including the Needs Assessment Centre, the Support Register (Ulster Universities non-medical help register) and mental health risk cases.
Stephen is engaged in working collaboratively with colleagues within Student Wellbeing and the Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice (CHERP) at UU to embed both inclusive program and module design, and the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy into the Integrated Curriculum Design Framework (ICDF) at Ulster. This is aimed at enhancing the overall student experience at Ulster University, including creating a sense of belonging and improving student retention and progression. Stephen recently achieved his Senior Accredited Member status with the National Association of Disability Practitioners Ltd (NADP) evidencing continuous professional development and reflective practice. He has also been involved in consultations with the Department for the Economy(DfE) in relation to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), to influence and enhance policy across the disability sector in further and higher education in Northern Ireland.
Stephen completed his BSW Social Work degree at Queen’s University, Belfast in addition to Person-Centred Counselling and has worked in Education Welfare, Mental Health and Looked After Children in both statutory and voluntary settings and is a registered Social Worker with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC). His focus is on the social model of disability, to enhance inclusive learning environments and societies, helping to break down stigma in relation to disabilities and mental health conditions.