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Kate Coulson named co-Chair of national higher education learning association

Kate Coulson named co-Chair of national higher education learning association

A University ‘learning leader’ committed to delivering a great study experience for students has been named co-Chair of a national higher education body.

Kate Coulson is University of Northampton’s Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement. She has been a passionate advocate for delivering a great university studying experience following her own undergraduate challenges.

She picks up her story: “Social justice and tackling inequalities gets me out of bed in the morning. I went to university in the north of England and worked seriously and hard. But it was a difficult time because I was thrust into an environment where I was expected to get on and do it without proper, structured support for these new ways of doing things.

“I look back and think what more I could have achieved if there had been team of learning development experts I could approach. Students can fly if they have the right teaching and learning platforms and tools. That’s something that really marks us out at UON.”

Kate – who is also a National Teaching Fellow of Advance HE – is now taking the next step on her personal and professional journey after being appointed co-Chair and Secretary of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE).

Her tenure will last until 2026, and she has overall responsibility for the organisation’s governance, communities of practice, national steering group, various working groups, and ICALLD. This is the International Consortium of Academic Language and Learning Developers, ALDinHE’s ‘international arms’ in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, and South Africa.

Last week saw the Association’s annual conference, but Kate was more than adept at being ‘thrown in at the deep end’, as she explains:

“I feel like a bit of a celebrity as everyone seemed to know me. I’m self-deprecating, so it’s jarring to be in the spotlight, but I’m grounded in the work because this appointment isn’t about me.

“There will be demonstrable benefits for University of Northampton students and, by the ‘ripple effect’, students at all universities in the UK. Both students and academics will see developments following my new role. How will 121 tutorials be more effective? What new platforms and systems work the best, and why?

“UON is a trailblazer for learning development, with our integrated learning platform NILE and our research around impact and the award gap. People look to us as a respected voice in these areas, and I look forward to amplifying our voice with this co-Chair role.”

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