We are proud to have a distinctive role helping higher education be the best it can be worldwide, founded on a deep-rooted partnership with the sector. We share the values of the sector and understand its unique culture and how this varies within local contexts. Through our convening role and our track record supporting leadership and effective governance, tackling inequalities and in enhancing teaching and learning, our membership continues to grow as does our reach and impact.
To help us form and deliver our support our Membership Team are vital. Below you will find a profile and direct contact for each member of the team.
Assistant Director Membership England & International
Nick has over 25 years of rich experience in understanding institutional needs and leading the development of solutions that drive enhancement in practice, systems, culture change and high performing teams. Nick leads the work supporting member institutions in addressing their contemporary challenges relating to teaching practice, student experience, leadership in all its forms and creating inclusive places to work and study.
Prior to the formation of Advance HE, Nick was with the HEA following a varied career in the civil service and sector skills arena as a Director leading large scale professional development programmes and work delivering organisation or system wide HR, OD and change management projects. Currently Nick is leading work to enhance the relevance, value, accessibility and demonstrable impact of Advance HE member benefit activity delivered throughout the year.
Assistant Director - Strategic Partnerships
Michael is Assistant Director, Strategic Partnerships at Advance HE overseeing key relationships that allow us to deliver on our mission and provide the best services to our members through collaboration. He also works directly with member institutions in the North of England and the US to support them in enhancing teaching and learning, approaches to leadership and governance, and equality, diversity and inclusion. Michael has been with Advance HE for over 6 years and has worked with over 80 Higher Education Institutions, across mission group, including public universities, small and specialists, independent providers and college-based providers. Michael works with institutions to support their enhancement activities ranging from professional development support and training, to curriculum design and innovation, specific learning and teaching themes, leadership and governance, and equality, diversity and inclusion.
Michael also leads the development of Advance HE’s networks and communities and practice, including oversight of the Advance HE Connect online social platform for HE professionals and the organisation’s Membership Services Team.
Dan joined Advance HE in January 2020. He works specifically with College Based HE, small and specialists and independent providers in England supporting across all aspects of Advance HE membership helping increase engagement and value. This includes working with leadership teams and identifying how Advance HE can help deliver strategy or where we can work in partnership to create solutions.
Dan has a keen interest in student engagement and experience and working in partnership with students to deliver quality outputs leading to high impact. Before joining Advance HE Dan worked in multiple student facing roles in varying students’ unions. Outside of Advance HE Dan serves as an External Trustee at Marjon Student Union where he is currently Vice-Chair and also holds the acclaim of being UK Rock Paper Scissors Champion 2014.
Dr Catriona Bell
Head of Membership (Scotland)
Catriona is our strategic liaison between the Scottish tertiary sector and Advance HE. She joined us in 2019, after more than 20 years working as an academic in Scottish universities. She is a qualified veterinary surgeon with particular expertise in learning and teaching, becoming a Principal Fellow (PFHEA) in 2015 and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) in 2018.
Head of Membership (International)
Ian joined Advance HE (as the HEA) in April 2016 and is Head of International Membership. Ian supports higher education providers across the world to engage with Advance HE’s membership, with particular experience in learning and teaching enhancement, Fellowship and accreditation.
Ian also works with national governments, ministries and other agencies across the world to support developmental projects across a range of Advance HE’s activity. Ian has a keen interest in digital learning, having previously worked for an e-Learning provider and supported a range of online and mobile learning projects. Before joining Advance HE, Ian worked for a higher education institution in a professional services role. Ian is an Advance HE Associate Fellow.
Head of Business Development
Jenny is currently Head of Business Development at Advance HE. She is manages a number of International members in Australia, Europe and Asia. Jenny also manages projects and initiatives to support the diversity of governing boards in Higher Education. Jenny joined Advance HE in 2018 initially managing a series of funded projects to support boardroom diversity and inclusion before moving to support members on activities across the range of Advance HE’s areas of expertise.
Jenny was previously Senior Consultant at the higher education executive search firm Perrett Laver leading the appointment processes of senior staff and academics in higher education providers internationally. She holds BSc in Psychology from University of Bristol and MSc in Occupational Psychology from Birkbeck, University of London.
Head of Membership (Wales)
Joni Alexander is Head of Membership for Wales, supporting universities and colleges to shape the future of tertiary education. Most recently, Joni led NUS Wales and NUS-USI (Northern Ireland) as director. Originally from Oklahoma, she worked as a journalist in the USA and then the UK after studying at Cardiff University (MA International Journalism, 2009).
Head of Membership
Lucy Madahar is a Head of Membership at Advance HE, managing business and member relationships with universities throughout England, in order to develop insight into universities’ needs and challenges and to propose solutions which enable HE members deliver their strategies and priorities.
Lucy has worked in a number of university-business roles for over 29 years, delivering nationally and internationally acclaimed sector-leading and award winning services in relation to careers and employability, mentoring and coaching services, inclusion and wellbeing, curriculum development, web-based/virtual learning environments, stakeholder engagement, personal and professional development and business development. Lucy has extensive experience of delivering complex educational provision to students and staff within a continually evolving UK higher education sector.
Lucy has worked with a number of UK universities, each with their own culture and set of core values and has always been dedicated to improving social mobility, inclusivity, retention and achievement and empowering students to make informed choices regarding their on-going personal and professional development. Lucy holds degrees in psychology, human resource development and business administration and is a “Managing Successful Programmes” practitioner, as well as a qualified NLP Business Practitioner.
Head of Membership
Melvyn is a Head of Membership at Advance HE, supporting university members in England and our research institute members across the UK. He has worked as a teacher, senior manager and partnership manager in higher and further education for more than 35 years. His experience ranges from managing adult literacy provision, education opportunities for mental health service users and student services directorates to delivering pre-deployment training contracts for the British Army.
For the last 15 years Mel has worked in partnership development roles with the QAA, the Higher Education Academy and the British Computer Society. He has worked as a teacher in The Sudan and set up training centres in Libya, Iraq and Sri Lanka. The first in his family to attend university Mel has a degree in African Studies and a Masters in Education. He is committed to social mobility and social inclusion.
Head of Membership
Rachel Witton is a Head of Membership at Advance HE, supporting a group of member institutions in England. Drawing on different strands of experience through her career, Rachel has particular interest in inclusive leadership in higher education.
Rachel joined Advance HE in September 2020 from Imperial College London, where she worked in the office of the Vice-Provost (Education). Prior to this, Rachel was a Partner at the search firm Perrett Laver, leading on searches at professorial level in the UK and the Nordics. Rachel began her career teaching languages in the UK and abroad, and in online learning for a development education charity. She holds a BA in French, German and Spanish, a PGCE in secondary languages, and an MA in global learning and development education.
Hannah joined Advance HE in April 2021 within the Membership Services Team as a Coordinator, after completing her undergraduate study in Education Studies & English Language BA (Hons). Currently, she is the Membership Executive and works to support the Advance HE Membership Manager with College based HE, small and specialists and independent providers in England, to help increase engagement and value. Hannah has a keen interest in Widening Participation and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as student engagement and experience.