UWTSD appoints new Professors of Practice


Four new Professors of Practice have been appointed by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David during its graduation ceremonies at the Carmarthen campus this week. 

Stephen Palmer

The title of ‘Professor of Practice’ is bestowed upon an individual to honour and recognise that person for having attained academic and/or professional distinction in those disciplines which are aligned with the strategic intentions of the university.  The four individuals who have been honoured by the University are Stephen Palmer, Beverley Stephens, Jan White and Gary Brace.

“I’m delighted to appoint such eminent individuals as Professors of Practice at the University.” said UWTSD’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes, DL.

“They join a number of exceptional individuals who are working with the university to bring their unique and professional expertise to benefit our students.  The role of Professors of Practice is relatively new to the University and allows us to work with partners with specific expertise related to our strategic aims who sometimes do not come through the traditional academic route. Through their involvement in our provision we can enhance the access to a range of defined skills to support academic delivery and build upon our rapidly improving reputation for delivering graduate skills in the context of employability, sustainability and work-related education and training.”

Professor Stephen Palmer PhD FISMA (Hon) FIHPE (Hon) FRSA is a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Biologist and Chartered Scientist. His expertise across various professional fields means he is involved with a number of professional bodies. He is President of the International Stress Management Association and the International Society for Coaching Psychology; Vice President of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE), and the Society for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. He is a member of the Royal Society of Biology’s Employer Advisory Group which provides an interface between employers and the Society.  Professor Palmer is co-editor of three journals. He has authored and edited over 50 books including the Handbook of Coaching Psychology. As a pracademic (practitioner and academic) he has written over 225 articles.

Professor Palmer was an Academic Consultant for the Surrey Police Deepcut Investigation Final Report and was a Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee on the Duty of Care Inquiry 2004-2005. In his 2004 BBC series, The Stress Test, he used coaching to help participants.

Professor Palmer was the recipient of the British Psychological Society (BPS), Division of Counselling Psychology, Award for 'Outstanding professional and scientific contribution to Counselling Psychology in Britain for 2000'. The IHPE awarded him an Honorary Fellowship for his 'Outstanding contribution to the theory and practice of health promotion and health education'. In 2008 the BPS Special Group in Coaching Psychology gave him the 'Lifetime Achievement Award in Recognition of Distinguished contribution to coaching psychology'. 

He is an Adjunct Professor of Coaching Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark and Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at City, University of London.

Beverley Stephens

Professor Beverley Stephens has recently retired as the Head of the Pembrokeshire Gypsy Traveller Education Service and the Priory Project based at Monkton Priory CP School. The Service, continues to raise academic achievement and to improve outcomes and life chances for the Gypsy and Traveller communities. Under her leadership, the GTES supported Gypsy and Traveller families and over 300 pupils in over 20 Pembrokeshire schools at both a strategic and a practical level.  She was also Director of Unity in2 the Community, a project funded by the Big Lottery which supported Gypsy Travellers in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion as well as running an All- Wales Helpline. She continues to provide advocacy and support for the community.  Professor Stephens is a member of the National Assembly of Wales’ Gypsy and Traveller Cross Party Group, chaired by Julie Morgan AM and has given evidence to committees in the Houses of Parliament, contributing significantly to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) Committee for Environment and Social Affairs.

Her promotion of a service whereby infant education, childcare, healthcare and other forms of advice can all be found at the local school hub has seen engagement between the Gypsy and Traveller communities, the school, employers and the wider community continue to develop. The model has become both effective and sustainable, with a range of agencies now working with and supporting the hub.  The model invests significantly in building trusting relationships with the Gypsy and Traveller communities and highlights the importance of parental learning, acknowledging the value of adults modelling engagement with learning within their communities. As such, Adult Education is an important focus of the service.  A graduate of the City of Cardiff College of Education, Professor Stephens attained an MA in Education from UWTSD in 2013. 

On receiving her award Professor Beverley Stephens said:

"I welcome the opportunity to work with UWTSD and share my experience in engaging with Gypsies Travellers. The support I have received from the community on my award has been overwhelming.  It is a wonderful opportunity to highlight best practice across Wales." 

Jan White

Working as an independent consultant across the UK and internationally, Professor Jan White is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play, advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven, and co-founder/strategic director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the National Centre for Play, Learning and Wellbeing Outdoors. 

Professor Jan White holds a BSc (1st Class Hons) in Soil Science (University of Reading), and MSc in Ecology (University of Wales, Bangor) and a PGCE in Science and Outdoor Education (University of Exeter).  With over thirty years’ experience in education, she has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children.  She has developed national support for early years’ outdoor provision with Learning through Landscapes and Early Excellence, and designed post-graduate courses at the Centre for Research in Early Childhood.

Professor White is an Associate with Early Education, convenor of the Landscapes for Early Childhood national network, an advisory board member for the International Association for Nature Pedagogy, and provides training, conference keynotes and consultancy for a wide range of early years’ settings.  Professor White has received national awards for both her books, Playing and Learning Outdoors and Every Child a Mover, is editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years and collaborated with Siren Films to make award-winning training DVDs.  Her ground-breaking initiative with MuddyFaces, Making a Mud Kitchen has significantly influenced the outdoor play experiences of young children throughout the UK and is available in ten languages, including Welsh and English.


Professor Deborah Heenan studied Mathematics at University College Durham before joining the Civil Service as an analyst. She worked on a variety of areas from creating local sustainable development indicators to “Brownfield First” land use incentives to designing wider urban policy. From a role as Principal Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Transport, she joined the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit as the Senior Civil Servant leading on Housing and Transport priorities and reporting directly to then Prime Minister, Tony Blair. In order to get a better insight into the housing industry she took two consecutive secondments as strategy director for George Wimpey then for Berkeley Group, often cited as the most successful developer in the UK.  This experience was put to good use on return to government advising policy and developing a joined up approach to capital and assets in the public sector based at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

More recently Professor Heenan has acted as the Chief Executive of the Swindon regeneration company, master planning a 4,500 home site on council land then setting up a Joint Venture Company for delivery, whilst rejuvenating the town centre’s Brunel heritage and attracting inward investment.

At the start of the year she returned home to London and is now advising Newham’s new Mayor in what is set to be the fastest growing part of London, further building on the Olympic legacy.

Professor Heenan believes that; “If you don’t understand how it works, you can’t make it better”. Everything she has been able to achieve is on the shoulders of fantastic researchers and practitioners both past and present sharing their knowledge.

Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676663 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk