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Advance HE governance experts and consultants

Profiles of Advance HE's governance experts and consultants 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 consultants are vital. Below you will find the profiles of the people who work on our governance portfolio.

Our governance consultants and experts

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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