My job

Examining successes over investigating failures is the way forward, says emeritus professor

Ulster University's emeritus professor Roy McConkey thinks you can learn a great deal more from examining success than investigating failure, in this profession. 

Roy McConkey is emeritus professor of developmental disabilities, Ulster University

Why did you embark on a career in learning disability?

Growing up in North Belfast, two boys with learning disability were part of our Boys’ Brigade company. When studying psychology, I started to understand their difficulties better and did my undergraduate research project with pupils who had mild learning difficulties. A summer spent as a counsellor at a US camp for people with disabilities further confirmed a decision to undertake research into what was then called ‘mental handicap’.

Where did you train?

Queen’s University, Belfast and my doctoral studies were at the Hester Adrian Research Centre, University of Manchester with Peter Mittler as director and Peter Herriot as my supervisor. I was fortunate to have two excellent role models.

What is your job?

Although retired from full-time work, I


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