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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s purpose is to assure the Advance HE Board on the integration and promotion of matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion.

The committee has a dual function with oversight of and responsibility for both the internal EDI practice of Advance HE and the integration of EDI within Advance HE’s products and services. This includes the effective operation and strategic development of both Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter.

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Committee Members

Professor Geoff Layer (Chair of Committee and Board member)

Geoff Layer is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and is the senior executive and academic officer of the University. He joined the University on the 1 August 2011.

He graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with a LLB (Hons) and entered a teaching and research career initially in Manchester and then in Luton. He joined the Sheffield Business School in 1983 as a Lecturer in Law. While at Sheffield Hallam University he established a suite of access and student support initiatives leading to the establishment of a national reputation for inclusive learning. He was an adviser to a range of national quality assurance and educational development initiatives and became Professor of Lifelong Learning in 1996.

In 1999 he joined the University of Bradford as Director of the Centre for Continuing Education. He was the founding Dean of the School of Lifelong Education and Development in 2001, and became Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) in 2004 before becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Between 2000 and 2006 he was the Director of Action on Access, an agency established to advise HEFCE on its Widening Participation Strategy. He was also Director of the HEFCE Innovations Co-ordination Team from 2000-2002. 

He is a member of the Black Country Local Economic Partnership, a Board member of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, a member of the QAA Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers, a trustee of the Open College Network West Midlands, a trustee of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning, and a range of local and regional bodies.

Geoff is also the Chair of the Steering Group of the HEFCE funded Centre for Sustainable Procurement. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded the OBE for services to Higher Education in 2003.

Professor Geoff Layer

Kevin Coutinho

Kevin is an equalities practitioner within higher education, currently working at University College London as its Athena SWAN Manager. He is also the Co-Chair of the Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG), a sector wide body that promotes race equality, an Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charter chair/panellist for Advance HE and a member of the Advance HE EDI Committee.

He previously was the Head of Equality and Diversity at the University of Oxford, an Equality and Diversity Consultant at the University of Cambridge and EDI lead at Birkbeck College. 

Kevin is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Windsor Fellowship, a race equality and diversity charity that promotes education, citizenship and employability, is a member of Linnean Society Council and a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  He is also an adviser to the Faraday Institution, an organisation promoting battery technology in the UK. He was awarded The Guardian Public Service Leadership Excellence Award in 2019.

He is a keen proponent of intersectional and the inclusion of professional services perspectives in the sector, especially in Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charter work.

Kevin Coutinho 

Sarah Guerra

Sarah Guerra (She/her) is the Director Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at King's College London.  Sarah spearheads the College’s strategic vision for equality, diversity, and inclusion for the whole campus community. 

In partnership with King's senior leadership, she has instigated a suite of strategic projects to revolutionise attitudes, championed the use of data, building an evidence base for all activity and is supporting King’s in realising its 'inclusion journey'.  

In addition to her work at King's, she sits on the Research Excellence Framework's Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel as well as the Advance HE's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee,  sits on the board of Chestnut Grove Academy and is the Chair of the Nuffield Council for Bio-Ethics membership committee and a recently appointed Athena Swan Panel Chair. 

Sarah is also the daughter of Mauritian, Trinidadian parents, a born and bred black Londoner and mother of four daughters in a blended family, Sarah’s career started in public policy and legal compliance. She is a recognised thought leader and has worked in several organisations across public and third sectors. 

Sarah Guerra 

Professor Janice Kay (Board Member)

Professor Janice Kay is the Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter.

She is a Professor of cognitive neuropsychology, first appointed to Exeter through a Wellcome Trust University Lectureship. Her research, which has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, is concerned with theoretical modelling, assessment and rehabilitation of disorders of perception, speech, language and memory.

In the role of Provost, Janice is deputy to the Vice-Chancellor. She provides strategic leadership for the overall corporate plan and oversees the portfolio of University strategies, ensuring their delivery as part of a coherent institutional schedule of activity. She holds specific accountability for the University’s strategic planning and budgeting processes as well as the University’s Global Advancement function. The Provost is responsible for the management of the University’s six Colleges, through the six Pro Vice-Chancellors.

Janice is Deputy Chair of the institutional level Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) exercise and is Chair of the TEF Subject Level Pilot. Janice is an inaugural Board Member of Advance HE. 

Janice has been prominent in widening access initiatives, nationally and regionally. She played an integral role in the establishment of the highly successful Exeter Mathematics School, the new Education Campus at Cranbrook, Exeter, and the South Devon University Technical College.  She is a non-executive director of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Janice was recognised in the 2017 Queen's New Year honours with a CBE for services to Higher Education.

Professor Janice Kay

Ruth Levin

Ruth Levin works as UNISON’s Senior National in their Education workforce department, leading on higher education membership and supporting UNISON’s national campaigns and negotiations. Prior to this Ruth worked in UNISON regions providing direct support to branches and engaging with employers. Ruth has studied at the universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Middlesex.

Ruth Levin

Professor Randall Whittaker

Professor Randall Whittaker is Pro-Vice-Chancellor Academic at Leeds Arts University where he has strategic responsibility for academic, international and research development.

Born in South Africa, he studied music and his professional career was launched after being awarded the Charles Brayrs Prestige Scholarship on four separate occasions. He was appointed as a lecturer at the Konservatorium of the University of Stellenbosch in 2001, before relocating to Europe.

He has extensive experience in the strategic development of specialist creative institutions. He has a strong interest in Higher Education policy development and frequently writes and delivers talks on the topic.

Randall Whittaker

Parveen Yaqoob

Parveen Yaqoob is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading. She is a Professor of Nutritional Physiology, manages an active research team and serves on a number of research funding panels.

As well as being a member of the EDI Committee, Parveen is also the Chair of the Athena Swan Governance Committee.

parveen yaqoob