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GDP: Governance Professionals in HE

Advance HE, Napier House, London
County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
Governor's Pathway
Fellowship Category
Event Type
Development Programmes
Start Date
End Date
Three modules and two action learning sets held over 5 months
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From

For Clerks and Secretaries, their deputies and other members of professional service teams who support the operation of academic or corporate governance.

Clerks, Secretaries and Directors of Governance and their teams who support institutional governance play a central role in ensuring quality academic and corporate governance of institutions. Their knowledge, expertise and capabilities are key factors in enabling efficient and effective governance.

The programme, which consists of three one-day sessions and two additional action learning sets, provides a unique and vital opportunity for HE institutions to advance the knowledge and insights of those in roles focused on governance and to build useful and long standing professional networks of benefit at an individual and institutional level.

The programme provides a stimulating opportunity to discuss and explore contextual challenges over an academic year. Content covered includes theories of leadership, underlying dynamics of how groups work and how to apply these to their role as Clerk or Secretary, as well as practical and theoretical frameworks that develop leadership capacity and aid good governance. Attendees can also reflect on and plan for their own future career trajectory.

As a participant you will learn; theories of leadership, the underlying dynamics of how groups work, and how to apply these to your role as Clerk or Secretary. You will cover practical skills such as developing your leadership capacity to complement the other roles of the board, as well as theoretical subjects such as what contributes to good governance. Finally, the programme will allow you to consider and plan your own career trajectory. 

Programme overview Date
Module 1 4 Dec 2019
Action learning set 1 15 Jan 2020
Module 2 19 Feb 2020
Action learning set 2 18 Mar 2020
Module 3 21 Apr 2020


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. 

He has previously served on the council of the University of Leicester, and the boards of a number of higher education sector bodies including Higher Education Funding Council for England, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the Higher Education Academy and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. 

He was previously President of the National Union of Students in 2010-11, during the high profile debate on tuition fees. He also co-chaired the Beer/Porter Student Charter group which reported to the Higher Education Minister, David Willets, in January 2011.

Aaron Porter

Mary Joyce, Leadership and governance consultant, executive coach and director of Leading Minds Consulting

Mary is a leadership and governance consultant, executive 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 developed national programmes for CEOs and non-executive directors in leadership development, and the dynamics of boardroom behaviour for good governance and corporate leadership. She specialises in the psychology of organisational behaviour and has written about the impact of board dynamics on behaviour and performance. 

Before moving into consultancy her leadership roles included director of executive leadership development and governance at the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, executive director of Postgraduate Studies at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, university secretary and clerk to the Board at Thames Valley University, first clerk to the HEFCE council and secretary to Lord Dearing’s working group on producing a guide for governors in HEIs, director of planning, standards and performance with the sector skills council for higher and further education.
Mary has served as a non-executive director on a university college board, an independent hospital, several national committees in education, and is currently trustee of a mental health charity.  

Mary holds a Masters degree in Sociology and postgraduate qualifications in education from St. Mary’s University, and in Psychotherapy and Counselling from Regents College. She is an alumna and graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education Program in ‘Adaptive Leadership’, trained in consultation, organisational behaviour and group dynamics at the Tavistock, and as an executive coach at Ashridge. She was a visiting faculty member of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral training at Canterbury Christ Church University until 2015, and was External Examiner for Cambridge University’s Certificate and Diploma programs in coaching until last year. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council. She is also an accredited Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and AEM-Cube team diagnostic practitioner. 

Mary is co-editor and author of Creating a Coaching Culture for Managers in Your Organisation (2013, London: Routledge).

Mary Joyce Director of Leading Minds Consulting

If you would like to find out more about our other governance events, please visit our Governance Development Programme page.

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Governance Brochure