Sarah Rhodes

Academic Developer

Institute of Education

I am an Academic Developer with a background in inclusive curriculum design, technology enhancements and reflective practices. My most recent experience has been as a Senior Lecturer - teaching education related Level 3-7 modules - and Joint Programme Leader of the PG Cert Academic Practice course at the University of Wolverhampton.

My career in HE started in 2001 at Surrey University, as a Skills and Personal Development Officer designing and facilitating a personal development planning initiative with students studying STEM subjects. This work drew me into several widening participation activities and resonated with me as a first-generation student from a low socio-economic background. The values that I developed 

during this initial employment – equity, access, collaboration - continue to underpin my work today. Subsequent roles in professional services and teaching have shaped and focused my work into enabling academics, through coaching and mentoring approaches, to develop anticipatory and inclusive practices. This was no more apparent than at Harper Adams where I developed a good academic conduct resource with subsequent face-to-face session support for course leaders. I supported the course leaders to disseminate the resource to students via the curriculum. Outcomes included increasing knowledge on effective writing, greater academic confidence and skills and a reduction of plagiarism, collusion and cheating cases. During my time at Manchester Metropolitan, as one of seven Faculty Student Support Officers, I began to learn the art of working as a disparate yet collective team – supporting faculties and departments in a diverse institution to embed inclusive practices in a sensitive yet supportive manner.

At Wolverhampton, I led the development and agreement of the Considerate Marking Scheme, provided mentoring and reviewing for the Advance HE Fellowship scheme and redesigned the Inclusive Curriculum by Design Level 7 module dynamically and responsively creating transformational change across the university. My scholarly activity and research currently focuses on contemplative inclusive pedagogies, coaching and mentoring and teacher wellbeing.

My dedication and experience in Higher Education Practice can also be evidenced by my External Examiner role for the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education programme and the external advisor role for the Advance HE UKPSF CPD framework both at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

My role in the Academic Development team will be to create spaces for conversations about inclusive pedagogic practice and opportunities for those to shape up into appropriate outcomes tailored to team/departmental plans. My specific responsibilities are induction/training and development/events and supporting the university student academic mentoring project. I am excited to open those spaces to talk all things learning, teaching and assessment, want to join me?

Professional memberships and activities

  • Student Member Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Associate Member Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • Higher Education Academy: Senior Fellow PR102198
  • Qualified Teacher Status: Secondary Teacher RP 04 / 30099

Academic qualifications

  • University of Wolverhampton - PG Cert Coaching and Mentoring (2022)
  • University of Wolverhampton – SEDA accredited Digital Transformations (2021)
  • University of Chester - PG Diploma Nutrition and Exercise Science (2019)
  • University of Wolverhampton – SEDA accredited Learning to Tutor Online (2018)
  • Heart of Worcs. College - CIPD Level 3 Certificate in Learning and Development (2019)
  • University of Surrey - BSc (Hons) Analytical & Environmental Chemistry, 2:1 (2001)


  • Higher Education
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Curriculum Development
  • Technology enhanced learning
  • Inclusive practices
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Wellbeing


Since 2017, my teaching experience (face-to-face and online) across a range of modules from Level 3-7:

  • Research Methods
  • Meeting Individual Needs
  • Working within the Post Compulsory Sector
  • Contextualised Study
  • Politics, Policy and Practice
  • Introduction to Inclusion and Inclusive Practice
  • Tackling Inequalities through inter-agency working
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Safeguarding
  • e-learning
  • Inclusive Curriculum by Design
  • Contemporary Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education
  • Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities in Higher Education


Joint submission accepted for a special issue ‘Breaking the gender bias in academia and academic practice’ in the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice (JPAAP) titled ‘Using developmental mentoring and coaching approaches in academic and professional development to address feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’.

Active Learning Network ‘50+ ideas for active learning’ chapter entry titled ‘Do you dare to pause? Hearts and Minds together: a contemplative approach to fostering effective inclusive academic practice. Available at: Betts, T. & Oprandi, P. (Eds.). (2022). 100 Ideas for Active Learning. OpenPress @ University of Sussex.

Assessment feedback and learning skills: A research project to improve development and policy practice Nicky Hunter, Jane Hill and Sarah Gabbitas, Harper Adams University College in What is research-led teaching? Multi-disciplinary perspectives (2012). Edited by Alisa Miller, John Sharp and Jeremy Strong. Available at:

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021