Week 4 Biographies

Brian Lutchmiah – host

Brian has over 20 years direct experience in Statutory, Further and Higher Education, with direct working knowledge of mentoring and teaching in FE through to managing delivery of professional wellbeing services to students and young people, including providing specialist support for vulnerable student groups and disabled students across further and higher education.

Alongside his role as Chair of NADP, Brian currently works for Diversity and Ability (D&A) as the HE Partnerships and Inclusion Co-ordinator and is also the recently elected Chair of the LINK European Partnership, representing NADP and the UK perspective in working collaboratively with six partner countries in sector Inclusion and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) research and development.

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper is an AccessAbility Adviser at Ulster University (UU) and is a qualified Social Worker. He works directly with disabled students, assessing their individual needs 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 and promoting inclusive practice to help to remove disability related barriers. Stephen has worked 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 achieved his Senior Accredited Member status with the National Association of Disability Practitioners Ltd (NADP) in 2020 and has recently taken up a role as a Country Adviser for Northern Ireland to the NADP Board of Directors. 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.

Martine Hoefeijzers

Martine is an educational consultant with a special interest for vocational education. She has a masters degree in Educational Sciences and practical experience as a vocational lecturer. With this knowledge and knowhow she helps schools to improve by making their education (more) flexible and futureproof.

Professor Deborah Johnson

Deborah is a member of the Disabled Students Commission.  In April 2020, she became PVC (Education) at London South Bank University. She was previously the Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching), SOAS University of London. Deborah completed an undergraduate degree in Economics and an Mphil in the Economics and Politics of Development at Queens’ College Cambridge.  She completed a PhD in Economics in 1997 from SOAS University of London and has split her career across academia, charities and government.

Her academic work has focused on inequality and poverty. She is a person who stammers and has worked closely with both the British Stammering Association and the Stammering Through University Consultancy to ensure greater awareness of the needs of students who stammer. Deborah obtained Principal Fellowship of Higher Education Academy in 2019.

She looks forward to supporting the DSC’s agenda, helping to create an environment where all students are supported to flourish.  The DSC provides the opportunity to look at the breadth of advice and challenge, ensuring that we think across the range of students that identify as disabled and consider how to support success for both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Jennifer Pusateri

Jennifer Pusateri is the Universal Design Consultant for the University of Kentucky’s Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) where she fosters the advancement of accessibility and inclusive teaching practices across campus.  Jennifer also serves as co-chair for the international UDLHE (UDL in Higher Ed.) Network.

As a member of the prestigious CAST National Faculty, Jennifer regularly presents UDL workshops and webinars for school districts, college faculty, and state boards of education across the United States.  Pusateri has also been featured as a guest UDL specialist in podcasts such as Think UDL and Teaching in Higher Ed.  In the Spring of 2021, she released her own 11-episode podcast, UDL in a Nutshell, which devotes one episode to each of the 9 UDL guidelines (plus one opening and one closing episode).

Before arriving at the University of Kentucky, Jennifer worked for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) where she served as an education consultant and specialist in differentiated learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  Jennifer taught Arts & Humanities for grades K-8 at a nationally recognized school for students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dara Ryder

Dara Ryder is Chief Executive Officer of AHEAD, an Irish NGO dedicated to creating inclusive environments for people with disabilities in education and employment. He became CEO in 2020 having previously managed AHEAD’s digital presence and developed a suite of online CPD programmes relating to inclusive practice in his role as Digital Media and eLearning Manager there.

After graduating from Queens University in 2005, Dara joined Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education as a lecturer, where he became interested in inclusive education when working first-hand with students with disabilities in his classroom.  When the opportunity arose in 2008, he joined AHEAD where he has been working ever since on creating inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities.

Valérie Van Hees

Valérie is the coordinator of Support Centre Inclusive Higher Education (Belgium) and has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the field of policy and inclusion in higher education. As coordinator at SIHO, she serves as a contact point for both the Flemish government and higher education staff and as such supports the implementation of inclusion measures in policies and practices.

Video Presentations

Rachel Davies

Rachel Davies, BA (hons), MA, PGCE, AMBDA.

Rachel currently works as De Montfort University’s Course Specific Initiatives Officer and as part of the Decolonising DMU project team. She is a dyslexia specialist teacher, with a wide range of experience in universities, further education, workplace learning and the voluntary sector.

Dyslexia and transition: Making the move (2013), NIACE, Leicester; Supporting learners with dyslexia in workplace learning (co-author) (2008), NIACE, Leicester.

John Harding

John Harding has been the Head of the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) at the University of Cambridge since 2008. The DRC is the University of Cambridge’s student service for disabled students and those staff supporting disabled students. John is also a member of the University’s Disabled Staff Network, and Student Health and Wellbeing Committee. John also is a trustee of two small charities who make grants to disabled students.

John has worked as a practitioner and managed teams of specialists in the field of disability support in both further and higher education for the last fourteen years and during that time has worked on the development more inclusive and supportive policies in relation to disabled students.  John was also one of the Steering Group members (with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr Nicola Martin and Joanna Hastwell) for a major research project focussing on the support of students with Asperger syndrome/autism in Higher Education. John holds a PGCE in Adult Literacy and also holds the Postgraduate Diploma in teaching and assessing Specific Learning Difficulties.

Dr Ivan Newman

Dr Ivan Newman is an independent study skills tutor and qualified diagnostic assessor.  He specialises in supporting Masters and Doctoral students. 

His background is a multi-decade career in the sciences, computing, engineering, change management and business writing.  Long familial exposure to SpLDs and other learning issues inform his practice.  

His doctoral thesis examined English HE educational policy regarding the interplay between the 2016/17 Modernisation of Disabled Students’ Allowances and inclusive teaching and learning.  He has published extensively in the field. 

Professor Jane Seale

Jane graduated from Plymouth Polytechnic in 1987 with a degree in psychology. She then went on to join the Computer Applications to Special Education Research Unit at Keele University where she completed her phd focusing on the management of special needs technology in adult special education. In 1993 she joined Southampton University, taking on various roles including lecturer in higher education and innovation. Between 2000 and 2002 Jane set up the first ever UK based Masters in Assistive Technology at Kings College, London. In 2010 Jane became Professor in Education at Plymouth University, moving in 2013 to take up a position of Professor in Inclusive Education at Exeter University. Jane joined the OU in April 2016.

Jane has developed a national and international profile in the field through key roles such as President of the Association for Learning Technology (2006-7) and Digital Inclusion consultant to the ESRC funded Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Programme in the UK (2009-2012).Between 2007 and 2010 Jane was Co-Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. She has recently served on the REF 2014 Education panel in the UK which had the responsibility for assessing the quality of research conducted in UK universities.