Organizers and Facilitators 2020

The Institute will be organized by Cherie Woolmer, Mick Healey, and Nicole Moning from the MacPherson Institute, McMaster University

The facilitators will include:

  • Anita Acai, Alise de Bie, Greg Van Gastel and Cherie Woolmer (McMaster University, Canada)
  • Anthony Cliffe and Ruth Healey (University of Chester, UK)
  • Mick Healey (Healey HE Consultants, UK)
  • Natalie McCray (Trinity University, US)
  • Ketevan Kupatadze (Elon University, US)



Anita Acai is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and the Office of Education Science, Department of Surgery at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Her doctoral research involves investigating how principles of social and cognitive psychology can be applied to improve training for physicians, surgeons, and other health professionals. From 2015 to 2018, Anita was a Student Partner at the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation, and Excellence in Teaching, where she was involved in national and international projects evaluating the impact of large-scale teaching and learning programs and exploring the role of students as partners in higher education. Anita’s research and commentary on higher education have been shared in numerous peer-reviewed publications and at both national and international conferences on teaching and learning. She has also contributed pieces to the MacPherson Institute’s “Education Disrupted” blog, Academica Group’s Rethinking Higher Education Forum, and The Globe and Mail. Anita is a Fellow of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and a 3M National Student Fellow. 


Alise de Bie completed their PhD in 2019 (Mad/disability studies, gender studies, social work) and is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Alise was a MacPherson Institute Student Partner from 2016-2019 on several pedagogical research and faculty development projects related to enhancing equity and inclusion in higher education, such as the coordination and evaluation of an Equity Stream of McMaster’s Student Partners Program. They have also partnered with disabled students as a faculty/staff collaborator on initiatives to improve educational accessibility, and have contributed to other types of ‘partnership’ work in and beyond academic institutions, including community-university engagement, social justice activism across identity and issue-based groups, and service user-service provider coproduction in health professions research and education. Alise is particularly interested in (1) understanding how students/staff/faculty from equity-seeking groups experience working in partnership, and how they negotiate varying politics/ethics from communities of affiliation within formalized ‘Students as Partners’ spaces; and (2) contributing knowledge from Mad/disability/gender studies pedagogy to ‘partnership’ conversations and the wider Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Alise has disseminated research on these topics in multiple formats, including the creation of pin-back buttons for their PhD defense. 


Anthony Cliffe is a recent PhD graduate from Liverpool John Moores University and now Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester. As an undergraduate Geographer, Anthony worked on helping to improve and facilitate the use of technology on fieldwork for students. After completing a masters in sustainability, Anthony worked as a research assistant on a variety of projects. During his PhD, he created and investigated the use of a bespoke virtual field guide to help inclusivity for students on fieldwork and their educational attainment. It was during this PhD that Anthony got fully involved with students as partners and has been co-editor for the International Journal for Students as Partners (IJSaP). for three years.


Cherie Woolmer is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University. Her research focuses on student-faculty partnerships and the lasting impact they have on individual teaching networks. Prior to joining McMaster, she worked at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.where she developed curricula that enabled students, mainly at undergraduate level, to engage in co-enquiry with staff in interdisciplinary research teams. Cherie completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2016 (focussing on faculty and students co-creating curricula in UK higher education). She currently co-leads McMaster’s Student Partners Program, involving over 200 faculty, staff, and students in over 80 projects per year. She served as the inaugural Editorial Manager for the International Journal for Students as Partners (IJSaP) (2016-2020) and was awarded a Fellowship in 2019 from the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). She frequently researches, presents, and publishes with student partners and has most recently co-developed the Connect Blog which provides a platform for connecting new and experienced scholars and practitioners of partnership together.


Greg Van Gastel is an Educational Developer at McMaster’s MacPherson Institute working in the area of program enhancement and specializing in educational technology, instructional design and curriculum mapping. He has a background in Physics, Mathematics and Education. Greg has worked with student partners on projects such as teaching and learning research as well as program enhancement work. Greg is involved in managing the student curriculum consultant program at the MacPherson Institute which facilitates student partnerships in McMaster’s program review process. Student curriculum consultants collect and integrate student voices in a program’s self-study and curriculum enhancement work.


Dr. Ketevan Kupatadze is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Elon University and Center for Engaged Learning Scholar, working on student-faculty partnerships. She has organized reading groups and workshops on students as partners, and partnered with students numerous times on instructional design and curriculum development. 


Mick Healey is an HE Consultant and Researcher and Emeritus Professor at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. Until 2010 he was Director of the Centre for Active Learning, a nationally funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Gloucestershire. He is also The Humboldt Distinguished Scholar in Research-Based Learning at McMaster University, Canada; and an International Teaching Fellow at University College Cork, Ireland. He was one of the first people in the UK to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) and to be made a Principal Fellow of the HE Academy. In 2015 he received the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Distinguished Service Award. Mick is an experienced presenter. Since 1995 he has given over 500 educational workshops, seminars and conference presentations in more than 25 different countries. He has written and edited over 200 papers, chapters, books and guides on various aspects of teaching and learning in HE. He is often asked to act as an advisor to projects, universities and national governments on aspects of teaching and learning in HE. He has published extensively about students as co-researchers, as co-inquirers into the scholarship of teaching and learning, and as change agents. He is the lead author of Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education (2014) and is the inaugural Senior Editor for the International Journal for Students as Partners.


Natalie McCray is the Post-Baccalaureate Fellow for the Collaborative for Learning and Teaching at Trinity University. There, she leads the Tigers as Partners (TaP) program which facilitates semester long student-faculty partnerships. Previously, she worked as a student consultant under the program in four different partnerships across multiple disciplines. 


Ruth Healey

Dr. Ruth Healey is Associate Professor in Higher Education at the University of Chester, UK where she has been since 2009.  In 2016, she also joined Healey HE Consultants.  She has actively researched into learning and teaching issues since 2004.  Her pedagogic research interests include teaching for social transformations, debates, ethics, and students as partners.    Ruth became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2014, was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) in 2017, and in 2019 was awarded one of nine Fellowships of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL).  In 2018 she chaired an International Collaborative Writing Group (ICWG) on pedagogic partnerships and student well-being at the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education (INLT) conference in Quebec, Canada.  She is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (2009-) and is one of the inaugural Editors of the International Journal for Students as Partners (2016-). She is Chair of the Geography & Education Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society. 

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