Paula Dobrowolski

I have worked as Head of the AccessAbility service at Leicester since 2000 having joined the University in 1994 as a Welfare Office for disabled students.  I am responsible for an in-house team of 11 and a sessional staff about 30 this year.

In one form or another, I have worked in education for almost 40 years.  I trained and worked as a school teacher in history and English but left to pursue my PhD and during this time I worked as a tutorial leader in my University department.  I have also worked with the OU as a Tutor and Study Councillor as well teaching in museums and promoting history as a guide and historical re-enactor at Warwick Castle.

My board level experience is also varied.  I was the University of Leicester School Governor for a school in the county for 15 years offering both advice and training, particularly to the special needs department; a member of the SKILL National Bureau for Students with Disabilities Council for a couple of years until it closed in 2011 and I also served two terms as the SKILL Midlands Region Chair.  My main experience of operating at board level and of working in accordance with the principles of public life, however, has come from my 16 years (2002-18) as a Trustee and Director (by election) of the Board of the Disabilities Trust (DT).  The DT is a national charity which promotes the proactive treatment and rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury as well as working with, and supporting, disabled and autistic people through sheltered living in the community and their education via its school.  The Board had oversight of the charity at a strategic level and reviewed its policies and procedures.  The DT particularly valued my critical thinking and creative problem solving skills and experience in education. 

I hope to put this knowledge and experience at the service of my colleagues in the HE sector and NADP as I take up a post as a Director on the Board.