200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effects: Rob Martin, learning development tutor

Rob Martin was a Learning Development tutor and Disability Support Officer at Birkbeck. One of the students he supported, Ruth Ojadi, says: “When I began my studies at Birkbeck in 2015, I knew I’d experienced barriers to learning because of my disabilities but wasn’t necessarily aware of how my learning difficulties, disabilities and long-term health conditions affected me disproportionately. When I came to Birkbeck as a 29-year-old, not only did I know more about my various disabilities but also how my lived experiences had shaped me, making it far easier to verbalise them.  

“Birkbeck was the first university where Wellbeing and Disability Services made themselves known loud and proud from their Open Day through to the enrolment process. I knew where to go for support and that’s where I met Rob Martin. From the first meeting I had with Rob, I knew he was on the side of my success. I felt his passion as a Disability Support Officer and his best intentions for me as a student. Rob listened diligently and was able to identify and signpost the support that would best meet my needs.  

“From the recommendation of a Dyslexia assessment, SFE’s Disability Student Allowances and navigating the whole system within that. Rob was able to reassure me when it came to Needs Assessments as well as practical guidance of wait times for the processing of paper work which relieved much anxiety for me. I have Tourette’s Syndrome and this was a new experience for the university and teaching staff. Rob was a professional ally and took the time to suggest access recommendations that weren’t necessarily included on the Student Support Plan as well as helping me to reach out to teaching staff within my department (BSc Social Sciences) to discuss best practice and how they could support my learning experience.  

“Having Bipolar as well as the negative experiences from learning in the past meant that I had to repeat my 2nd year and took a year study break after that. My desire to return never wavered and neither did Rob’s belief that I indeed would. I’m truly grateful and feel lucky to have been a 1st year student in 2015/16 as Rob now works in a different capacity however, still within Birkbeck.” 


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