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Alumni Profile

Lisa Alcorn

Lisa Alcorn

MSc Strategic Management 2010

Lisa Alcorn has more than 23 years experience working in autism and left her post as Head of Practice and Development at the North East Autism Society to join national charity Creative Support, a high quality provider of person centred social care services for people with learning disabilities, mental health and other needs.

Lisa supports a national programme designed to reduce physical intervention when caring for people with autism and learning disabilities. 

As the mum-of-two, from Sunderland, has progressed through her career from volunteering in residential accommodation for adults with autism, to taking a lead role in delivering training and best practice in the region, she has been a continual advocate of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), recently winning an International Leadership Awards for Innovative Practice in this area.

After gaining qualifications at the University of Sunderland including an undergraduate degree and a Masters in Strategic Management, graduating in 2010, she moved to another voluntary sector organisation and became a Regional Service Manager overseeing the re-provision of people with autism from long stay hospitals throughout the North East and North Yorkshire area.

She then took a lead role on Practice Development so that the delivery of training at the North East Autism Society is current and best practice.

Quote Lisa Alcorn

Lisa credits the University for supporting her career progression and giving her the confidence to take on her new national role.

“I was able to look at the theory relate it to and apply it to my own work, I then began to come up with my own theories, applying them to see what happened. All of a sudden things started to work and in meetings my ability and performance improved.”“I never thought I was clever enough to go to university, but once I began my course, I just got the bug. The great thing about Sunderland’s lecturers is they are all work-based practitioners themselves and I could easily relate to what they were teaching and talking about. It’s certainly broadened my scope.

As part of her current role, she develops a practical framework for the UK’s health and social care industry in the use of PBS and the minimisation of restrictive practices, in response to new guidance set out by the Department of Health, in the wake of the Winterbourne View Care Home scandal in 2011.

Lisa believes the strategies she’s developing while studying her Professional Doctorate at the University of Sunderland will bridge the gap between new guidance and putting PBS theories into practice.

 “My new role in the voluntary sector at Creative Support will be about looking at the Department of Health’s national guidelines, interpreting them and putting them into a practical framework for those working in health and social care. There’s a gap between the theory and practice and I know how to fill that gap as a result of the work I’m doing in my Professional Doctorate at Sunderland.

 “I have always wanted PBS to be seen as the national model in social care services and it’s now happening. However, if it isn’t led and managed properly it could fail, so strong leadership is needed, managers and leaders need to know what that looks like, hence the purpose of Professional Doctorate.”

The Professional Doctorate qualification, introduced by the University of Sunderland in 2007, enables professionals to base their studies on practical projects in their workplace and is the same level of qualification as a PhD. The qualification allows a professional to investigate contemporary issues facing their sector and make a contribution to professional knowledge that is applied and practical in nature.

Lisa will complete her Professional Doctorate this year.

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