Our staff

We are a diverse and multi-lingual team from all over the world, coming together to provide the best teaching and support services for you.

Explore our profiles and visit the staff directory to connect with individual members of the LEAP team:

LEAP Programme Coordination

Dr Orieb Masadeh-Tate

Orieb is the Director of the University Language Centre’s LEAP programmes which involve the organisation and delivery of the courses in 13 different languages – ranging from Arabic to Urdu. Orieb is a recipient of the University Exceptional Performance Award in recognition of her contribution, work and commitment to the University.

LEAP Teaching Staff

Ikram Alchane

Ikram teaches Arabic on the University’s institution-wide language courses. Originally from Morocco, Ikram holds a degree in Hebrew & Jewish Studies and a master's degree in Language Education as well as a PGCE in MFL. She has a particular interest in Semitic languages and Arabic poetry. Outside work, her interests include travelling, cooking and amateur photography.

Please note that Ikram is currently on maternity leave and she is not due to return until June 2023.

Yosra Agil

Yosra is a Language Tutor in Arabic.

Dr Ablimit Baki Elterish

Dr Ablimit is a Senior Language Tutor in Chinese.

Susan Tamin

Susan is a Language Tutor in Chinese.

Dr Catherine Franc

Dr Catherine is a Senior Lecturer in French.

Annie Morton

Annie graduated with a BA. Hons in French and Drama before completing an MA in Translation with French at the University of Salford. She decided she liked people more than dictionaries and moved into teaching following a PCCE in Tertiary Education. One of her first jobs was here at the University, and twenty (or so) years later – she is still here, teaching French language at all levels. Alongside her colleague and fellow Senior Language Tutor, Dr Catherine Franc, she convenes core language modules in the Department of French studies and coordinates LEAP French units. 

Wayne McConnell

Wayne has been involved in British Sign Language since 1998 when he was advised to specialise in something while studying counselling and psychotherapy, this started his love for BSL.

He has delivered training to AGE UK & NHS as well as Manchester university.

He loves educating people on BSL and deaf culture which is becoming more popular and the first GCSE in BSL starts in 2025, exciting times for BSL.

Manchester university students are lucky to have Manchester deaf centre so local to the university to access and the deaf history museum.


Elizabeth Lopez

With studies in Languages, Literature and Foreign Civilisations (Masters Degree), Elizabeth started teaching for the Language Centre in 2001 and was nominated in the 2013 Manchester Teaching Award organised by the Students’ Union for Best Humanities Lecturer. She is a Language Tutor in French and has taught and developed French Business Courses and French General Courses.

Dr Amani Lowey

Amani has been teaching French at the University’s language centre for 9 years. A French National, she holds a PGCE in Modern Languages from the University of Bristol, an MA in Anglophone Studies from Bordeaux Michel-de-Montaigne University, an MSc in Translation & Intercultural Studies from UMIST and a PhD in Humanities from The University of Manchester.

Previous to her current teaching responsibilities with LEAP, Amani taught French and English in various settings in France and the UK, from private boarding schools to grammar schools, tertiary colleges and inner city comprehensive schools, and is committed to raising the profile of language learning by intervening in local schools. As a researcher, she is particularly interested in the role of citizen media in conflict situations. 

Gaëlle Flower

Originally from Nantes, Gaëlle holds a Licence (B.A.) in English from the University of Poitiers, a master’s in Teaching French as a Foreign Language from the University of Grenoble, and gained her Qualified Teacher Status from the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research in London. Gaëlle has experience in the Secondary and Further Education sectors in Canada, Hungary and England.

Her interests lie in teaching specialised French (business, tourism and medical) and enhancing the employability of French-speaking students. She is also interested in translation, having worked on various projects funded by the European Union, including the translation of a book for a visual arts organisation Fabrica, based in Brighton.  

Dorit Fellner-Whitgreave

Dorit has been teaching German on the institution-wide course programme since 2009 and on the degree programme since 2020. She is the Goethe Exam Officer and director of the Goethe Exam Centre Manchester. She has a Master's degree in German, English and Scandinavian philology from the University of Vienna and used to teach at schools both in Austria and England. She has a particular interest in communicative teaching, including games to enhance learning. Outside work her interests include dogs and dog-sledding, music, motorbikes, and keeping fit.

Birgit Winnington

Birgit Winnington is a native German speaker born in Bielefeld, Germany. She is a fully qualified Goethe examiner and work as a German language trainer for LEAP.

Her professional experience spans many years, with teaching experience at the European Commission, in business and at university.

Her motto is that learning a language should be fun. An understanding of language and culture is a real advantage in creating career opportunities.


Dr Sandra Strigel

Sandra has an interdisciplinary background in German and English as a foreign language teaching. She has a master’s degree from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and holds a Doctorate in Education from Newcastle University. She completed her teacher training in Germany and has taught in the secondary school and FE sector, on international HE foundation programmes, and at under-and postgraduate levels at different universities in the UK. She has a particular interest in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and has been involved in research projects on digital materials creation and Global Citizenship Education.


Sigal Altman

Sigal is a Language Tutor in Hebrew.

Nozomi Yamaguchi

Nozomi is a Senior Language Tutor in Japanese.

Chikako Haworth

Chikako teaches on the University's institution-wide language courses in Japanese. She holds a degree in Education and her specialised subject is Japanese. She has a wide range of experience in teaching: from primary school pupils to adults. She is creative in adapting the delivery method in her courses to suit the individuals studying that course. 

Motoi Kitamura

Motoi has both his undergraduate and master's degree's from the University of Niigata, Japan and a PGCE from the University of Central Lancashire. He prides himself in using as little English as possible in his lessons and always being rated well on his teaching in the end of year students' questionnaire! Outside of work he loves trees, wildlife and skiing.

Mikiko Inoue

Mikiko is a Language Tutor in Japanese.

Dr Mozhgan Samadi

Dr Samadi is a Language Tutor in Persian with a PhD degree in Russian Studies. Originally from Iran, she has a particular interest in Persian language and literature. Mozhgan has translated more than 20 works into Persian.

Justyna Drobnik-Rogers

Justyna has been with the Language Centre since 2006 where she is a Language Tutor in Polish. She holds a degree in Polish Language and Literature (Poznań) and a PhD in Polish and Drama Studies (Manchester). Outside teaching, she has recently worked on some theatre-related translations. In her spare time she loves walking and cooking plant-based food. 

Dr Elena Simms

Ready to explore the world of Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky? Looking for a career boost or a personal challenge? Want to unlock a powerful new skill and connect with a global community of over 250 million speakers? Then let Elena, a native Russian speaker and university tutor, graduate of the prestigious Moscow Pushkin Russian Language Institute, guide you on your journey! Learning Russian can open doors to incredible travel to many post-Soviet countries where Russian is spoken as a second language, often due to historical reasons. While it’s the official language in four countries (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), it’s also widely spoken in former republics of the USSR, including Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Learning Russian not only creates opportunities for exciting careers but also provides a deeper understanding and appreciation of a rich and fascinating culture. So, let’s dive in and see what awaits!


Dr Sandra Torres

Sandra is a senior language tutor in Spanish and co-convenor of the Special Interest Group in Less-widely Taught Languages (LWTLs). Sandra holds a degree in Philology and Languages, an MA in Applied Linguistics in TEFL, an MA in Translation Studies, a PhD in Language Education and a PGCert in HE from The University of Manchester. Her interests lie in the sustainability of LWTLs, the use of technology in language teaching and autonomous learning. She enjoys foreign films and playing tennis.

Research profile


Dr Ana Niño

Ana is Senior Language Tutor for Spanish at the Institution Wide Language Programme where she teaches general Spanish, Medical Spanish and translation. Ana did her BA and MA (Specialized Translation) at the University of Valladolid, Spain. She holds an MSc in Machine Translation from UMIST and at the University of Manchester she completed a PhD on the connection between translation,  Machine Translation, Computer Aided Translation, Computer Assisted Language Learning and language teaching/learning.

Ana researches and publishes in the fields of technology-enhanced language learning, innovative use of educational tools and the integration of technology for blended/distance learning. Ana was nominated Most Inspiring Lecturer at the STAR Manchester Student Union Teaching Awards 2017. In her spare time she enjoys sketching, painting and trekking.

Mayte Alvarez-Madrigal

Mayte teaches on the University's institution-wide language courses in Spanish and she has taught in the Centre since 2001. Her work and studies over the years have concentrated on developing her love for teaching Spanish, in the classroom and online or computer aided language learning. The dissertation she wrote for her M.Ed., titled “Exploring the integration of virtual and face to face learning in Higher education “, helped me to introduce it in her classes, and since then she has been in close collaboration with other tutors and course managers to improve the courses in an effect to help a more diverse group of students.

Through her work, studies and research she wrote ”On Course Spanish”(with Sandra Truscott and John Morley as editors). She enjoys the challenge of creating accessible material for the different needs related vocabulary, such as Spanish for specific purposes or Spanish for the different students´ needs (British Airways, Engineering, Business and Medical students, among others).

She has worked in many institutions including:

  • Salford University (International Training Centre, preparing students for Spanish for specific purposes and DELE diploma);
  • Central College in Manchester (preparing students for GCSE and A´level);
  • ”Agrupación de Lengua y cultura Españolas” (Teaching children and adults to prepare them for the DELE exams);
  • The University of Manchester (Teaching Spanish at all levels for the LEAP department and teaching on the European Studies Course for the Medical school.)

Mercè Enjuanes

Mercè teaches on the University’s institution-wide language courses in Spanish. Originally from Barcelona, Mercè holds a degree in Politics and Contemporary History, a Masters degree in International Business and another Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. She has a particular interest in languages and cultures and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Tuğgen Šmajer

Tuğgen teaches on the University’s institution-wide language courses in Turkish. Originally from Turkey, Tuğgen holds a joint degree in English Language and Literature and English Language Teaching. She has a particular interest in translation and interpreting studies and is an avid linguist who enjoys lengthy discussions around grammar rules in a variety of languages immensely. Outside work, her interests include travelling, walking, folk dancing and jigsaw puzzles.

Dr Aida Foroutan

Aida was trained as a painter and graduated with a BSc in Industrial Design from the Alzahra University of Tehran. She relocated to Sweden in 2000, where she worked in theatre and museum curation and exhibited her paintings in Sweden and Germany. A book of her poetry, Forbidden Peace, was published in Stockholm in 2003. She moved to the UK in 2007 to do her Master of Arts degree in Theatre Studies at the University of Manchester, then a PhD there (2008-2012) in Art History, entitled ‘The Reception of Surrealism in Iranian Art and Literature’. She has published a number of scholarly articles for peer-reviewed academic journals and one for a Festschrift. Before the pandemic, she convened a successful international conference ‘Modern Iranian Art and Architecture in the Shadow of the Classical Persian Past’ at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester. She currently teaches Persian at the University of Manchester. 

Iran is a beautiful country. Located at a crossroads of international trade and commerce since ancient times, it has a long and rich history with a diverse and unique culture. Learning Persian will allow you to gain a new perspective about life in a civilisation that is truly ancient and still plays a major role in the modern world. Iran is famous for its literary, scientific and artistic achievements since antiquity, and learning Persian will give you access to a whole new world of knowledge and understanding. Iranian people are very friendly and hospitable toward foreigners, and you will find them delighted to help you with learning to speak Persian.

Where is Persian spoken?

  • Iranian Persian (Persian, Western Persian, or Farsi) is spoken in Iran, and by minorities in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states.
  • Eastern Persian (Dari Persian, Afghan Persian, or Dari) is spoken in Afghanistan.
  • Tajiki (Tajik Persian) is spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is written in the Cyrillic script.
  • Millions of Iranians now live abroad, especially in the United States and Canada. Iranians have radio and television stations broadcasting across the world in the Persian language, including the BBC Persian Service and Voice of America (VOA).


Professional Services Team

LEAP Administration

We have a dedicated administration team for the University Language Centre's LEAP Programme who can be reached on leap@manchester.ac.uk