Our staff

We are a diverse and multi-lingual team from all over the world, coming together to provide the best teaching and support services for you.

Explore our profiles and visit the staff directory to connect with individual members of the UCAE team.

Management team

Gavin Dodsworth - Director of the UCAE

In the time I’ve been Director at Manchester we’ve seen considerable change – some change being forced on us (the realities of a Covid-19 context), but many of the changes being Centre choices as we constantly question the what, why and how of what we do.

The immediate future? Linking our courses in a better way so that the ’what’ is accessible to our students at the appropriate time, but also finding a way to use learner data in a way that helps all of us achieve what we’re here for.

Ruth Fordham - Senior Co-ordinator (Pre-sessional Programmes)

Being born in the UK, but having grown up in Holland, surrounded by a different language and culture, it is no great surprise that after my Undergraduate degree I was drawn to other countries to learn more about them. I first taught at a Language School in Spain, followed by The British Council in Egypt and then Venezuela. Since being at The University of Manchester I have taught on most of our courses, but have always had a preference for our Pre-sessional. Seeing students, like yourself, grow in confidence as you work your way through the course is very rewarding. I am looking forward to helping you become the best you can be.

Rob Marks - Senior Co-ordinator (Insessional Programmes)

My first degree was in Environmental Biology. I have been at the University Centre for Academic English for over 10 years in teaching and co-ordination roles, having previously taught in Poland and South America. I completed my MA TESOL at The University of Manchester in 2014, and now head the Academic Success Programme, which supports students with Academic English during their studies. I am interested in the in-sessional context and have presented at BALEAP conferences.

Academic English teaching team

Sara Ahsan - Senior Language Tutor (English)

I have been at the UCAE since 2009, but have been teaching since 1989 in secondary schools, as a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages, and ESOL, in Further Education. I have also taught English abroad in Spain and Bangladesh with the British Council. I have been an IELTS examiner since 2003. I speak several languages to varying degrees of competence including Spanish, French, Italian and Bengali. I have travelled all over the world and enjoy meeting people to share knowledge and ideas which is why I look forward to Summer Pre-sessional courses at The University of Manchester.

Stuart Anderson - Language Tutor (English)

Before joining The University of Manchester in 2019, I taught English in Norway, Ukraine, and Japan. Currently, I teach on The University of Manchester’s academic English courses, including the Pre-sessional and the Academic Success Programme. I am also involved in syllabus, materials, and assessment development.

When I am not busy with teaching or development work, I am interested in educational psychology, particularly in relation to language teaching and international students at university. I chose this career because I enjoy helping students to realise their potential, so I look forward to working with you during your studies at The University of Manchester.

Claire Everett - Language Tutor (English)

I joined The University of Manchester in 2019, after working in other universities over a ten-year period. Altogether, I have been teaching English for more than 25 years, having held posts in several different sectors. I have worked in Italy and Poland, as well as the UK, gaining experience across a wide range of programmes, including General and Academic English, Academic Skills and teacher training courses.

I enjoy speaking and learning other languages in my free time and am qualified to teach foreign languages in schools. At Manchester, I greatly enjoy having opportunities to help students both before they join degree programmes, through our pre-sessional courses, and during their degree studies, for example through our Academic Success Programme.

Dr Maureen Finn - Senior Language Tutor (English)

I have taught outside the UK, in Spain and South America, and now teach at The University of Manchester on our English for Academic Purposes courses. I have taught on and co-ordinated a large number of pre-sessional courses as well as working on the Academic Success programme, which provides academic skills development for post-graduates during the academic year.

I am currently working on my doctorate, which focuses on the expression of criticality in thesis writing.

I love working on academic skills and language. I think it is exciting to examine with you how language is used in your research area to express and connect ideas. I enjoy working with you on ways to effectively share your research with others. My academic interests include listening in the teaching and learning context and grammar analysis.

Nicola Harding - Language Tutor (English)

I have been teaching Academic English and Academic Skills at The University of Manchester since 2019. Before that, I lived and taught English in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Johannesburg, and Frankfurt.

I love travel and exploring the world; my experience of working in such diverse places has led me to develop a strong interest in intercultural communication.

I really enjoy helping students better communicate with their classmates and colleagues from around the globe. Throughout the year I teach Academic English on the EAPP course and Academic Skills to Foundation Year students. I also facilitate grammar and writing workshops on the Academic Success Programme and academic writing workshops for PhD students. I love the variety of courses we teach and enjoy meeting students from different departments across the University.

Rachel Heasley - Language Tutor (English)

I joined The University of Manchester in 2021. Before that, I taught English to students of various backgrounds in the UK and South America. At the UCAE, I teach on EAP and Academic Success Programme courses and am involved in materials development and team-leading on the Pre-sessional course. I have also taught on both the six- and ten-week Pre-sessional courses.

I’ve always been interested in language learning and can speak French, German and Spanish, although with widely varying levels of fluency and accuracy. I really enjoy meeting and working with people from different backgrounds, and look forward to working with you as you develop your Academic English skills with us.

Dr Sheena Kalayil - Senior Language Tutor (English)

I teach students across the University at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level. I hold a doctorate in sociolinguistics and my research on language and identity is published by Lexington Books (Second-generation South Asian Britons: Multilingualism, Heritage Languages and Diasporic Identities).

Before joining The University of Manchester, I taught at Edinburgh and Manchester Metropolitan Universities. Before working in universities, I taught English in several countries, including Nepal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia and Spain. I am a published author and my third novel The Wild Wind is based on my nomadic childhood spent between India and Zambia.

Alison Luke - Senior Language Tutor (English)

While working at The University of Manchester, I have taught on many of our Pre-sessional courses, Academic Success courses and been a trainer on our teacher training course. I am especially interested in teacher training and strategies for improving spoken English and presentation skills. I am currently working on my MA dissertation which analyses English intonation produced by Chinese students.

As one of your pre-sessional Course Co-ordinators this year, I am really looking forward to helping you to have a fantastic experience studying with us, so that you feel ready and excited to move onto your next stage as a University of Manchester student.

Neil McGregor - Senior Language Tutor (English)

I have worked at the UCAE since 2013. Before coming to the University, I worked in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Libya and China as teacher and lecturer, and also worked as a quality assurance and process manager.

My areas of interest are testing and educational technology. I am looking forward to helping you become the best you can be during your time at the University.

Sally Morris - Senior Language Tutor (English)

I began teaching English in 1987 and spent many years working abroad with the British Council in South East Asia, and also in Europe. I became involved in teacher development courses whilst working in Italy and later became a CELTA trainer in the UK. I taught ESOL in further education and local council centres, setting up and teaching on courses for refugee and asylum seeker groups.

More recently I moved into higher education, working at a number of universities both year-round and on Pre-sessional courses. I joined The University of Manchester in 2003 where I have taught on, and developed, a variety of courses with the University Centre for Academic English.

Michelle Nixon - Language Tutor (English)

Before joining The University of Manchester, I worked at other HEIs including Keele University, King’s College London and Staffordshire University.

At the UCAE, I teach on EAP, Academic Success and LEAP courses. I am also a team leader on the Pre-sessional course, and I am involved in materials development.

Wayne Rimmer - Language Tutor (English)

I love teaching at the UCAE because of the variety of courses on offer and the amazing opportunity to work amongst such a diverse and talented student community.

A professional interest is materials design and I have written several books for Cambridge University Press. I am also active in research and followed up my EdD with publications on professionalism and identity.

I can’t wait to meet you and help you on your wonderful learning journey.

Kamil Stobiecki - Language Tutor (English)

I have been working at the University for nearly a decade. During this time, I have taught and developed materials as well as assessments for a range of courses and conducted research. I am also a representative of BALEAP in our Centre.

I have worked in various institutions - from a Polish high school to British tertiary education providers including Staffordshire, Edge Hill and Birmingham City. I have a BA in TEFL and Sociolinguistics, an MA in Translation Studies, and a Cambridge DELTA, and am currently working towards becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with friends, listening to music, travelling and supporting my favourite football team, which is neither City nor United. I look forward to working with you to help you develop the skills and confidence to succeed.

Professional Services team

Sandra Aksenaviciute - IELTS Centre Manager

I have been the IELTS Test Centre Manager since 2014 and have had previous experience working in higher education. As an IELTS Test Centre Manager I oversee the day-to-day running of the test centre, which is one of the largest and busiest in the UK. I take pride in working for the University and also in being the ambassador for the Test Partner, The British Council.

I am a creative writer and publish my short stories on my own blog, and I am an explorer who enjoys travelling and learning new things.

Jane Cockrem - Student Welfare Officer

Working with students from all corners of the globe brings such diversity and interest to my role and one in which I enjoy greatly.

Having joined the University over 25 years ago in my role as Student Welfare Officer, it is very rewarding and motivating supporting such a community of inspirational individuals. I look forward to meeting you and supporting you during your journey with us.

Angie Farrand - UCAE Resources Co-ordinator

I joined the University in 1995, and have been Resources Co-ordinator for over 20 years. I oversee the Open Learning Area, which includes the library (which houses resources for over 80 languages), reception and multimedia spaces. I work with teaching staff to ensure our students have access to all the resources they need to support their learning - from ebooks, physical books and DVDs, to audio-visual equipment. I also look after the Face-to-Face language exchange scheme.

I was born in Birmingham and grew up in the Middle East, and am a Humanities graduate. Outside of work I enjoy language learning, growing food on a shared allotment, and creative writing.

Michelle Fenlon – UCAE Operations Officer and PA to Centre Director

I joined the University in 1999, and have been in my current role as UCAE Administrative Officer since 2010. I am the PA to the Director of the UCAE and also support the Centre Manager. Some of my responsibilities include Human Resources, dealing with estates maintenance, resources, and some finance.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family.

Cynthia Fernandes - Student Fees Officer

I have worked in the UCAE since 2017, and hold a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Accounting and Auditing, and an additional qualification in CFA (Certificate in Financial Accounting).

I have worked abroad and in the UK for retail, pharmaceutical and investment companies. In my current role as Student Fee Officer, my duties include processing course fees for Pre-sessional/English courses, requesting payment from sponsors, and calculating commission payments for agents, whilst maintaining accurate records for management accounts.

In my spare time I enjoy painting and sketch art, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.

Ali Jones - Programme Support Officer (Pre-sessional courses)

I have worked for the University since 2015 and am the Programme Support Officer for Pre-sessional English courses. I support the running of the full-time English course, helping to ensure that you will feel comfortable communicating with your lecturers and classmates by the time you begin your degree programme.

I have a BA in the History of Art and Design, and enjoy modernist art and architecture, yoga, life drawing and live music.

Liam McNulty - Programme Support Officer (Academic Success)

I’m an Academic Support Officer for the Academic Success Programme, supporting students and Faculty with managing and co-ordinating the ASP workshops each semester. I’m originally from Cambridge and am quite new to Manchester. For many years I worked as an English Language (TEFL) teacher, living and teaching in Germany, China, Australia, and Canada, teaching all age groups and levels.

I’m an avid traveller and a foodie, and in my spare time have done skydiving and bungee jumping. I also enjoy playing sports such as football, badminton, snooker, pool, and korfball.

Karan O'Hagan - Programme Support Officer (English Language)

I have worked at the UCAE since 2011. Prior to this I worked as an administrator in the Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine. My main role is providing support for the English for Academic Purposes Pre-Sessional (EAPP) Course. I am responsible for the setup of course documents, monitoring student attendance and issuing end of course reports and certificates. I also deal with EAPP timetabling and requisitions for book orders and commission payments.

I am a History graduate (OU), and outside of work I enjoy yoga, music, gardening and spending time with family.

Ghada Soliman - IELTS Officer

I have worked at the University Centre for Academic English since 2016 as an IELTS Officer. My main duties include organising pre-and post-test documentation; liaising with examiners, invigilators and markers; and overseeing test days as required. Prior to my current role, I worked as a teaching assistant at Alliance Manchester Business School.

Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, reading and travelling.