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GDP: Understanding and assuring academic outcomes and the student experience

Governing bodies must actively seek and receive assurance that academic governance is robust and effective.

Providing assurance about academic governance and the student experience is a core function of the governing body, yet we know that governing bodies can lack confidence in this area and huge changes in approaches to teaching and learning as a result of Covid-19 means that performance may be even harder to gauge. 

    Booking and price information

    Event date: 29 June 2022

    Book your place

    This virtual event, taking place on 29 June 2022, is specifically designed for Chairs and all governors who wish to understand more about how they can assure the quality of education and the student experience appropriately in the light of recent events.

    Using our insight from working with over 350 members worldwide and bringing together key partners, you will hear:

    • Advance HE experts in teaching and learning sharing evidence on educational developments in the last year and the questions these raise
    • Student perspectives on the evidence about lived-experiences in UK HE
    • Governor and secretary perspectives and lessons learned on actions taken to achieve effective assurance by the Board
    • Regulator insights about expectations and key issues we need to consider. 

    The event will be an interactive session with opportunity for governors to network in an online environment and share their views as well as ask questions of speakers and each other. 

    Event outcomes

    Attendees will:

    • Develop a better understanding of educational developments, academic governance and assurance in practice
    • Develop confidence about their role
    • Learn from other governors’ and Board approaches.
    new event

    Programme for 2022 event TBC

    Programme for previous 2021 event shown below

    09.30    Introductions and welcome    
    Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director, Governance, Advance HE

    09.40    Insight: Teaching, learning and institutional resilience – lessons from Covid    

    Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor, University of Gloucestershire and Chair of Advance HE Board

    09.50    Insight: Understanding the student experience

    Sarah Knight, Head of data and digital capability Jisc

    Sherry Iqbal, Decolonise Programme Manager, University of Warwick Students'​ Union

    10.10    Interactive: Discussion session with polls lead by Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director, Governance, Advance HE

    10.30    Break    

    10.45    Insight: Academic assurance – the Secretary perspective

    Adam Dawkins, University Secretary, University of York

    11.10    Interactive: Assuring outcomes for all, in practice (panel followed by Q&A)

    Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE & Chair BPP/governor Goldsmiths, UoL (Chair)
    Samantha Budd, Interim Director NUS & non-exec, including NHS & Chair of Faculty Board, UWE 
    Ailsa Crum, Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards QAA
    Keith Bartlett, Chair of ThinkSpace Education with former executive roles as Deputy Principal/ PVC Quality
    Cassie Agbehenu, Student Engagement Manager Office for Students

    12.00    Break    

    12.15    Stimulus: What should Boards be doing, now and next?    
    Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director, Governance, Advance HE

    12.20     Interactive: Breakout groups    

    13.00    Feedback    

    13.25    Thanks, wrap up and close

    13.30    Session ends    

    Student voices video

    Self-filmed during the Covid-19 pandemic, in this short video first and second year students talk about their higher education experiences and describe the challenges they face, what they enjoy and what they would change.

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    Speakers and facilitators

    Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor, University of Gloucestershire and Chair of Advance HE Board

    Stephen joined the University of Gloucestershire in 2011 as Vice-Chancellor and was appointed Chair of Advance HE’s Board in February 2021.

    He has previously been Director General, Universities and Skills, at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Before then, Stephen was Director General for Lifelong Learning and Skills in the former Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and prior to that he was Director of Skills Group at DfES. Stephen joined the Department for Education and Science in 1983, where he worked on a range of schools, Further Education, Higher Education, and finance issues in various posts across the Department.

    Stephen worked in the Cabinet Office/Economic Secretariat in the early 1990s. Between 1998 and 2002, he worked in the Higher Education Funding Council for England as Director for Institutions.

    Stephen Marston Chair of Advance HE Board

    Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director, Governance, Advance HE

    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-). 

    Find out more about Victoria
    Victoria Holbrook

    Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE

    Aaron Porter is the Associate Director (Governance) for Advance HE leading on engagement with governing bodies and governance across the UK, including leading reviews of board effectiveness. He has worked with over 75 universities both in the UK and overseas, as well as projects for national governments focused on higher education. His portfolio of roles includes Director of Insights for the Hotcourses Group and as an external adviser to Civitas Learning. He is a member of the governing council at Goldsmiths, University of London and is Chair of the Board of Governance at Nelson College, a specialist higher education college in East London. 

    Find out more about Aaron
    Aaron Porter

    Cassie Agbehenu, Student Engagement Manager, Office for Students

    Responsible for the development and delivery of OfS’ policy and approach to student engagement, Cassie has a background in student voice, representation and student access, success and progression, working in universities and Students’ Unions. Previously, she has worked on HE policy across both of the OfS’ predecessors, HEFCE and OFFA, with a particular focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, access and participation and evaluation.

    She is currently leading the OfS student engagement team to deliver a cross organisational strategy to ensure students and their experiences can influence the way the OfS regulates higher education in England.

    Cassie Agbehenu

    Sarah Knight, Head of data and digital capability, Jisc

    Sarah has worked for Jisc for 14 years and has led large programmes of work on curriculum design, digital literacies and learners’ experiences of technology.

    Sarah manages the teams supporting the digital experience insights service at Jisc which is researching staff and students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment and the building digital capability service to support the development of staff and student digital capabilities.

    Find out more about Sarah
    Sarah Knight

    Sherry Iqbal, Decolonise Programme Manager, University of Warwick Students'​ Union

    Sherry Iqbal is currently the Decolonise Programme Manager at Warwick Students' Union. She has a strong background in supporting and working with Students, as a Sabbatical officer at Leeds Beckett and Middlesbrough College Students' Union, and an interest in Governance. With previous experience as a Governor, Sherry has advocated and supported the sense of belonging and a community throughout Students time in Education. She has worked to ensure Education is accessible to all through a number of initiatives and campaigns. With a passion for Education and Policy, Sherry is also involved with Advance HE on the Race Equality Charter and Governance, and works with the QAA on Subject Benchmarking.

    Sherry Iqbal

    Dr Adam Dawkins, Secretary, University of York

    Adam joined the University of York in June 2019 to take up the newly-created role of Head of Governance and Assurance. He became Acting University Secretary in September 2020 and was appointed to the new position of University Secretary in December 2020.

    Prior to joining the University, he was Head of Governance and Secretary to the Board of Governors at Northumbria University, Newcastle from 2011 and Assistant Registrar and Assistant Secretary to Council at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) for three years prior to that.

    Find out more about Adam
    Adam Dawkins

    Samantha Budd, Interim Director NUS & non-exec, including NHS & Chair of Faculty Board, UWE 

    Sam has worked at board level for a wide range of organisations and is a board advisor for the Black Professional Network, the Inclusive Companies Network and Simply Communicate. She is an Associate Non-Executive Director of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, NHS Trust and a member of the Seacole Group, the national network for Black and Minority Ethnic NHS Non- Executive Directors, Chair of the Faculty of Business and Law Advisory Board , University of West of England. She is a specialist contributor to the Oasis, School of Human Relations and is currently supporting the National Union of Students as the interim Director of NUS UK.

    Find out more about Sam
    Sam Budd

    Ailsa Crum, Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards, QAA

    Ailsa is responsible for the management and delivery of QAA’s membership experience and services, and will provide oversight of the development of the UK Quality Code and other sector standards.

    Ailsa joined QAA in 1998 and has worked in a number of roles, most recently as Head of Quality and Enhancement at QAA Scotland. She introduced innovative elements, including the Focus On projects, with groups of institutions working collaboratively to enhance policy and practice. Ailsa previously worked at what is now Universities Scotland and at the Robert Gordon University. She is a graduate in Economics and Politics from the University of Aberdeen, and more recently has developed a keen interest in creative writing and holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. Ailsa also has a postgraduate diploma in management.

    Find out more about Ailsa
    Ailsa Crum

    Keith Bartlett, Chair of ThinkSpace Education

    Keith has over thirty years’ experience in higher education and the creative industries and provides consultancy in the areas of strategy; governance and management; organisational change and development; application/scrutiny for Degree-Awarding Powers;  and quality assurance and enhancement including preparation for external review.  From 2001 he was Deputy Principal at Norwich School of Art and Design, leading the DAPs process and becoming Pro-Vice Chancellor (Quality) and Dean of Media when it was granted university title in 2012. Keith works primarily with specialist providers in both public and private HE, and his clients have included Futureworks, the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Christie’s Education, the Royal Academy Schools, SAE Institute, ArtsEd, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP).

    Find out more about Keith
    Keith Bartlett