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Advance HE governance experts and associates

Profiles of Advance HE's governance experts and associates that work on our governance portfolio of work.

We are at the forefront of providing support to boards, governors and staff such as clerks and secretaries to improve governance effectiveness. All institutions need high performing boards equipped to determine the strategic course of the organisation. The effectiveness of a board depends on strong foundations, exhibiting the right behaviours, high quality information, sound processes and skilled governance professionals.

To help us form and deliver our support our governance experts and associates are vital. Below you will find the profiles of the people who work on our governance portfolio.

Our governance experts and associates

Andy Shenstone

Director and Executive lead for Governance, Advance HE

Andy offers a deep understanding and experience of UK and international HE policy, governance and management.  He is Advance HE’s Director of Business Development and Delivery, and an experienced Higher Education (HE) consultant with 20 years’ track record of successfully working with Universities, sector agencies and Ministries in the UK and overseas.

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Victoria Holbrook

Assistant Director, Governance

Victoria joined Advance HE in February 2019 from the Office for Students and after 11 years at its predecessor the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). As Assistant Director, Governance she leads the development and delivery of Advance HE’s approach and work to support good governance to ensure it meets the needs of its members and clients in their rapidly evolving operating environments. In doing so, she brings expertise in higher education policy and regulation from her time at HEFCE and the OfS, as well as perspectives from serving on the Boards of a Multi-Academy Trust (2014-19) and Plymouth Marjon University (2019-). 

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Aaron Porter

Associate Director Governance

Aaron leads on Advance HE governance activity through the delivery of our national Governor Development Programme which engages with around 900 governors across the UK on an annual basis. He has extensive experience leading reviews of over 25 governing boards. He has served on the council of the University of Leicester and has previously been a Non-Executive Director on the Board of a range of sector agencies including the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). Aaron was previously President of the National Union of Students (NUS) and also chair of trustees for the organisation. Outside of HE, he served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Endsleigh Insurance.

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Kim Ansell

Senior Adviser, Advance HE

An MBA graduate, Kim combines strategic insight with a sound understanding of operational excellence. She has worked across higher and professional education providing support to both senior leadership teams and Boards, to facilitate strategic planning and performance improvement.

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Mary Joyce

Advance HE Associate

Mary is a leadership and governance consultant, executive and team coach, and Director of Leading Minds Consulting.  She has over 15 years’ experience of leading strategic change at board level in the education and health sectors and has designed national leadership development programmes for CEOs and non-executive directors with a focus on leading change and the emotional dynamics of boardroom behaviour for good governance and corporate leadership. Mary is co-director of the Advance HE’s University Clerks, Secretaries and Governance Professionals Programme, and produced the ‘governor dialogues’ series of interviews and short films.

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John Rushforth

Advance HE Senior Associate

John is a nationally recognised expert on UK University governance. He is responsible for the key documents that underpin the governance of all publicly funded UK HE institutions namely the CUC HE Code of Governance, the HE Senior Staff Remuneration Code, a range of illustrative practice notes e.g. Academic Assurance, Recruitment of VCs, etc and a Leadership Foundation publication on the relationship between Vice Chancellors and Chairs

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Keith Bartlett

Advance HE Senior Associate

Keith has over thirty years’ experience in higher education and the creative industries and provides consultancy in the areas of strategy development and implementation; governance and management; organisational development and change management; application/scrutiny for Degree-Awarding Powers (including review of academic governance and operations in relation to the DAPs criteria and evidence requirements); and quality assurance and enhancement (including preparation for external review).

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Suzanne O’Brien

Advance HE Associate

Suzanne is a qualified accountant and tax consultant with over thirty years’ experience in business, primarily Financial Services.  She made the change to higher education by taking on a part-time “associate” lecturer role teaching accounting, quickly progressing to a full-time position as a Senior Lecturer, Programme Director, then Director of Student Experience and Student Recruitment at Canterbury Christ Church University. A Senior Fellow she now works part-time as Principal Lecturer.

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Paul White OBE

Advance HE Associate

Paul has over 40 years’ experience in the higher education sector. He has had extensive roles in university governance, providing external expertise. He has been mentoring newly-appointed vice-chancellors, deputy and pro vice-chancellors since 2013. He was a member of the Academic Advisory Panel in 2016-17 for work by LFHE on ‘Reviewing Academic Governance’ and a Reviewer for the QAA-led review of sub-degree programmes at the University of Hong Kong in 2018.

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Professor Ella Ritchie OBE

Emerita Professor of Politics and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University and Advance HE Associate

Ella is an experienced higher education academic, senior manager, consultant and advisor in the areas of university governance, values and structures, widening access to higher education (where she established a national network, Realising Opportunities), academic structure, the student experience and university partnerships. She has worked extensively across the UK HE sector and has advised universities in the European Higher Education Area (on structures, quality issues and values) and Asia.

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Kay Renfrew

Advance HE Associate

Kay is an experienced consultant and researcher who has delivered assignments for clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She has a Masters degree in information management. Kay has wide-ranging experience of consulting with stakeholders, particularly in the higher education sector, as well as with interest groups and the public at large. Kay has expertise in data analysis and reporting, to assess project impact and performance.

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Alison Allden

Advance HE Associate

Since retiring as Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Alison has developed a non-executive portfolio and consultancy career. She was until recently a member of the Board of Northumbria University (chairing their Strategic Performance Committee) and Deputy Chair of Regent’s University London. She is now a member of the board of Regent’s University London Ltd and has joined the Board of Study Group UK. She also is a member of the Bar Standards Board responsible for the regulation of barristers.

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Andrew West

Advance HE Associate

Andrew’s career in Higher Education spans thirty years, most recently in the post of University Secretary at the University of Sheffield. In that role he worked to ensure the highest standards of governance in liaison with the Chair of Council, Vice-Chancellor, University Executive Board and Professional Services Directors. He was responsible for the administration of the corporate governance of Council, Senate and their respective committees, providing strategic, independent advice and support to Council and Senate.

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Carol Burns

Advance HE Associate

In all, Carol has 20 years experience working with governing bodies across HE, the public and not for profit sectors.

Her early career was spent in the private sector, including three years as a management consultant at KPMG and three years at the Financial Times. She then ran her own media and marketing consultancy before joining the HE sector.

Carol has advised universities and other organisations on strategic issues, restructures and optimising the benefit of their IT investment as well as running many projects to enhance the student experience. She has also spoken at high-level strategic conferences on these issues.

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Dawn Turpin

Advance HE Associate

Dawn has more than 20  years’ experience in leadership and management positions within the education sector with expertise in corporate and academic governance, executive and non-executive recruitment, risk management, strategic programme management, strategic planning and information rights.    

Dawn currently combines a part-time role as Clerk to the Governing Body at Westminster School with her governance consultancy work.  Prior to this she was Head of Governance at The Open University (OU) with responsibility for leading reviews of the effectiveness of the University's governance arrangements and managing the operation of governance across the University.

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Lydia McClelland

Advance HE Associate

Lydia McClelland is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Chartered Marketer and a qualified Executive Coach. Lydia has 16 years' senior management experience working across a range of sectors including economic development, the arts, higher education and visitor attraction/science centre sectors in Northern Ireland.

Lydia has been a board member of Ards Business Hub since 2018 and became vice-Chair in June 2020. Lydia has worked with the CEO and Chair of Ards Business Hub to improve the Board effectiveness over the past 12 months. 

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Richard Blackwell

Advance HE Associate

An experienced leader, consultant and interim in higher and tertiary education. Since 2015, Richard has led successful consultancy projects on governance and leadership, graduate employability, teaching excellence and the higher skills agenda. Also, as Interim Principal at alternative providers, he produced a new strategic plan, instigated a complete ‘quality re-set’, led practical governance renewal and managed relationships with regulators. Richard has been an active governor/non-executive director and Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) assessor.

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Olymbia Petrou

Advance HE Associate, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Governance

Olymbia is a driven and passionate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) specialist with extensive and practical experience of supporting organisations across the public, private and charity sectors. Working as an equality practitioner for 20 years, she has advised on many aspects of EDI including the design and delivery of solutions at all levels of organisations. Her current roles include: Equality, HR and Skills Advisor for Business Wales, Associate for Tai Pawb, a voluntary Trustee for Aberystwyth Student Union, a freelance consultant and she also runs a small business (motorcycle retail and coffee shop).

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Marion Fanthorpe

Advance HE Associate

Marion now works as a consultant and non-executive with educational and other public service organisations, to enable them to develop the strategies, cultures and processes to achieve their educational and social purposes

Marion’s background is in people management and organisation development, and she has considerable experience of working at board and executive level. Marion has been the HR Director at Anglia Ruskin University and at the University of Kent, as well as within other local government and the policing bodies.

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Jan Juillerat

Advance HE Associate

Jan is a qualified HR and OD executive and an experienced non-executive director. She has served as a charity trustee for national and local organisations and as a lay member and Vice-Chair of a UK university.  She developed her governance practice and expertise in public sector research establishments, in higher education and with small and large charities. 

Jan has undertaken reviews of governance in university and charity settings, providing information and recommendations that support good governance practice sensitive to the context and needs of the organisation.  She brings knowledge and experience of a range of governance codes and good practice models and an understanding of the human factors of governance and governing bodies in organisations. 

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