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Professor Catherine Lee

Catherine is dedicated to improving inclusion in education. Originally a teacher in schools, through her teaching, curriculum-design and Continuing Professional Development (CPD), she educates students on the importance of inclusion in their chosen careers. Nominated for national diversity awards, Catherine also uses her national profile to improve life for those on the margins.
Anglia Ruskin University
Job Title
Deputy Dean

After an extensive career in school teaching, Catherine has spent the last decade at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) improving the national landscape for teachers, and transforming teaching and learning for 8,000 students in the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care. As a gay teacher in the 1980s and 1990s under Section 28 (a law preventing the promotion of homosexuality in schools), Catherine, in common with all gay teachers, faced extensive challenges. However, she has harnessed this adversity to ensure education is more inclusive for the current generation of students, academics and teachers. Between 2016 and 2019, as Head of Education, Catherine transformed a failing Education department by redesigning the entire Education course portfolio, introducing innovative courses and placing inclusion at the heart of teaching and learning.

The result was a dramatic improvement to the Education student experience and student outcomes at ARU, culminating in ARU topping the Guardian League Table for Education in 2020. Now as Deputy Dean, Catherine has transformed the student experience faculty-wide. Through Catherine’s dynamic interprofessional learning strategy, teachers, nurses, doctors, paramedics and social workers are all united in a commitment to work together to help the most vulnerable. Beyond ARU, Catherine has created a national CPD programme for teachers. Courageous Leaders is the UK’s first LGBTQ+ leadership programme and has helped 60 teachers achieve leadership roles as their authentic selves. This project has seen Catherine shortlisted for a number of national awards, including a British Diversity Award, National Diversity Award and Pink News Award. She also featured in the UK’s LGBT Pride Power List in 2019 as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK.

Catherine has used her national profile to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion in education and has a number of strategic governance roles in the education and charity sectors that improve the lives of those on the margins, especially LGBTQ+ young people. Catherine’s recent projects include setting up the UK’s first specific LGBTQ+ leadership programme for university staff and working with LGBTQ+ students on a project to learn more about their university experience and improve their wellbeing. 

Advance HE recognises there are different views and approaches to teaching and learning, as such we encourage sharing of practice, without advocating or prescribing specific approaches. NTF and CATE awards recognise teaching excellence in a particular context. The profiles featured are self-submitted by award winners.