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8 July 2005

University welcomes lifelong learning leader
The University’s new centre for lifelong learning has appointed Dr Stella Cottrell as its new leader. Having come from an inner-city background, and with a wealth of experience in widening participation and lifelong learning, Dr Cottrell brings a strong degree of understanding to the role and a commitment to achieving high standards of adult education.

Dr Cottrell joins the University from the Adult Learning Inspectorate in York – a non-departmental public body – where she is leading inspections into the quality of education and training across a vast range of colleges, work-based learning, adult and community learning and learndirect.

Her impressive career began at the University of East London where she developed teaching and learning materials with a particular focus on the education of mature students. Dr Cottrell’s work as director of lifelong learning at the University of Luton and at the worker’s education association has given her a valuable overview of adult learning. Along the way, she has studied for four degrees (1).

“Dr Cottrell has the vision and breadth of experience to turn our aspirations for this new centre into reality,” said University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur. “The centre has already made some really strong appointments and, with Dr Cottrell’s arrival, is now equipped to face future challenges with confidence and enthusiasm.”

The new leader is very excited by the opportunities and challenges ahead of her. “I am delighted by this new post,” Dr Cottrell said. “The lifelong learning centre will provide an excellent opportunity for the University of Leeds to make a real difference to the lives of individuals and communities. This is absolutely the right time for the University to be looking at its social inclusion agenda, and to build on its current innovatory work with adult learners.”

The centre for lifelong learning, which opens on August 1, will provide specialist support for learners new to higher education, those who need to study part-time and other students who could benefit from specialist pathways into higher education. Lifelong learners will be offered a wide range of programmes and pathways. The centre replaces the University’s school of continuing education and office for part time education.

Dr Cottrell and her new colleagues will develop part-time programmes for those returning to learning and promote open study arrangements to give potential lifelong learners an insight into student life. She will start work at the University in October 2005.

Notes for editors
1. Dr Cottrell completed her BA and PhD in history at the University of Oxford, a PGCE in English and media also at Oxford and a BSc in psychology at the Open University.

2. A review of the University’s school of continuing education and office of part time education set out a new vision and strategy for lifelong learning at Leeds. It recommended in March 2005 that a new centre should be established to achieve this vision. For more information on the new lifelong learning centre see

3. For more information on contact publicity officer Claire Jones on 0113 3436699, email


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