The Academic Governance project has been designed to ensure effective academic assurance. This has been driven by the increased need for governors to understand and effectively receive evidence-based assurance about “student outcomes” in England as a requirement from the OfS, but increasingly in other UK Nations as part of their regulatory requirements.
Governing bodies are expected to actively seek assurances that academic governance is robust and effective. This becomes ever-more important with the political interest in issues surrounding quality in higher education and ensuring value for money for public expenditure. Advance HE, Universities UK and GuildHE are working together to explore these issues in more detail.
Project Output - News Article
“Expectations are increasing on governing bodies to seek their own assurances that standards are being maintained and to enable governors to have a more interactive role in this. This series of round-tables will seek to identify practical ways in which governing bodies are already carrying out this role and identify ways to further strengthen this."
Dr Alex Bols, Deputy CEO GuildHE
"Governors have a central role in protecting the value of degrees and ensuring the sector's excellent global reputation remains. We are delighted to be working with Advance HE to strengthen how governing bodies scrutinise quality and standards. These roundtables will be an opportunity to share the latest innovations from across the UK. This work follows UUK and GuildHE's commitment in July 2022 on degree classification levels."
Chris Hale, Director of Policy, Universities UK
Supporting and enhancing academic governance
The 'Academic Governance project' is a collaboration that will bring the sector together to explore and disseminate best practices in academic governance.
Academic Governance Dissemination Event
In March, Advance HE, Universities UK, Guild HE, and the Committee of University Chairs held three roundtables with Governance professionals, Senate and Student representatives, and Chairs and Deputies of Audit and Risk Committees to examine approaches to academic governance and assurance. This project is driven by the increased need for governors to understand and effectively receive evidence-based assurance about “student outcomes” in England as a requirement from the OfS, but increasingly in other UK Nations as part of their regulatory requirements. At the Dissemination Event, we presented the roundtable findings from the round table and discussed these with a panel of sector experts and representatives. The recording will be available soon.
Jim Irving is Chief Student Officer and University Secretary at Solent University, Southampton. Throughout his career in higher education, Jim has been driven by his commitment to governance as an enabler for innovation and change and to engaging students as partners in service design. Supporting the Board of Governors and the Executive Board to fulfil the University’s mission and strategy, Jim’s role encompasses governance, compliance, administration, and the advancement of the student experience.
Beth Garrett is President of Northampton Students’ Union, having been the Vice President Education in the last academic year. As part of these roles, Beth has acted as a Governor of the University and Chair of the Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees.
Victoria joined Advance HE 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.
Dr Simon Meacher
Dr Simon Meacher is Head of the Executive and Governance Office at Newcastle University, a role which involves advising the Registrar, Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Council on all matters of University governance, as well as being Secretary to Executive Board. Simon previously worked in academic quality assurance and has a doctorate in contemporary German literature.
Project outputs - Academic Governance Roundtables
We are running a series of three roundtables for governance professionals, members of university academic boards and student representatives and the last one for Chairs and Vice Chairs of Audit and Risk Committees. These roundtables will explore in more detail these issues including the outcomes of the Universities UK and GuildHE survey on the Statement of Intent on degree classifications which questioned universities about their academic governance.
The roundtables will be chaired by a member of the Advance HE Governance Strategic Advisory Group.
Each Advance HE member institution is able to put forward one individual to participate in each roundtable. We will be contacting the key governance contact for your institution with a link to express an interest.
Roundtable 1: Governance Professionals
7 March, 10:30-12:00 GMT – Chair, Chris Costigan
About Chris Costigan
Chris Costigan is Ravensbourne University London’s University Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of board governance as well as academic governance, quality assurance and for the monitoring and management of the University’s compliance with a range of external regulators.
Roundtable 2: Members of Senate/Student Reps
9 March, 10:30-12:00 GMT – Chair, Dr Adeela ahmed Shafi MBE
About Dr Adeela ahmed Shafi MBE
Adeela is an Associate Professor in Education at the University of Gloucestershire. Adeela’s research is focused on the education of young people in secure custodial settings. She is currently leading 3 large Erasmus+ projects, Re-Engaging Young Offenders with Education & Learning (RENYO), Active Games for Change (AG4C) and Skills4Life.
Roundtable 3: Chairs and Deputy Chairs of Audit and Risk
14 March, 10:30-12:00 GMT – Chair, Paul Ratcliffe
About Paul Ratcliffe
Paul is the Chief Operating Officer at the St Georges University of London and is the executive lead across a number of areas of the University, including strategic planning and risk, audit and efficiency. Previously, Paul had a number of leadership roles at Imperial College London from 2007 until 2016.
Assistant Director, Knowledge & Innovation, Advance HE
Charles is an academic leader and consultant with a proven track record of delivery in the areas of learning and teaching and enterprise. Prior to joining Advance HE, he was Associate Dean (Student Experience) at Salford Business School where he worked with colleagues to introduce a series of innovative practices including short technical qualifications, block teaching and an increased emphasis on the use of simulations and experimental learning.
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