I have long-standing interests in communication in people within complex and under-served populations. I am currently writing a book on communication and child mental health (to be published in 2023). I recently authored a chapter on pragmatic language in Maltreated and Traumatized Children (McCool, 2021) in the Handbook of Pragmatic Language Disorders. I have published innovative research on communication profiles of children and young people in residential care, as well as intervention research in autism.
I have extensive experience of teaching, learning and assessment in Higher Education, increasingly in strategic roles. I currently represent the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on the University's Assessment and Feedback Working Group, a sub-committee of the Education Strategy Committee. From 2018 - 2021, I was Director of Teaching for the School of Psychological Sciences and Health. Since 2017, I have been an Institutional Assessor for the presitgious award of Senior Fellowship/ Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I have experience of Chairing Faculty-level Course Approval and review panels, and I am regularly asked to participate in Faculty Fitness to Practise procedures for other professional disciplines such as Education and Social Work.
For over 15 years I have held key roles in the delivery, organisation and management of the BSc (Honours) Speech and Language Pathology programme, including six years as Programme Leader, during which time it achieved ranking as the Number 1 course of its type in the UK. I've been involved in developing national curriculum guidelines for the education of speech and language therapists. I'm an Education Representative of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, involved in the accreditation of programmes across the UK, and an experienced External Examiner.
As a Senior Teaching Fellow, I lead classes across all four years of the BSc Hons Speech and Language Pathology. I deliver an innovative Honours class on Social Emotional and Mental Health (as it relates to communication development and disorders). I design and deliver the degree programme's content on neurodevelopmental complexity and Social, Emotional and Mental Health.
I worked for many years as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (in autism, child mental health and child developmental disability services) before coming to work at the University in 2006. I myself am a graduate of this course (in 1991) so I have a long-standing connection to it. I gained a PhD from University of Strathclyde in 1997. The topic, concerned with relationships between professionals and the parents of the children we work with, relates to my sustained interest in making our practice useful and effective for the users of our services, and for the people with whom they interact and communicate.