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GDP: Student Governor 1 (Online)

County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
Governor's Pathway
Fellowship Category
Event Type
Virtual Networking Event
Start Date
End Date
Day one of two stand-alone days
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From
£175, £300 for both events

Book both Student Governor events for a discounted price

Attend both events for a discounted price: Advance HE members: £300; Non-members £400. Use the discounted booking link below to book.
Book onto both events

Alternative dates

If you are unable to make this date but would like to attend, we are running an alternative date for this event in January 2021.
Find out more


In this video Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance AdvanceHE, explains why the Student Governor event is a must attend for new student governors.

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For new and returning Student Governors

The Student Governor programme is split into two separate events. They can be booked separately and are stand alone, but we strongly recommend that participants are booked on both sessions (you will receive a discount by booking on both). 

Programme Structure

Day one will take place on 9 September 2020 and will equip incoming Student Governors with the skills to thrive in their new role as well as providing an update and networking space for returning Student Governors. 

Day two will take place on 27 January 2021 and will allow new and returning student governors to reflect on their year to date, provide further skills development and network mapping as well as preparing them for their end of year handover.

Day one (Autumn) empowers Student Governors to make a major contribution to governing bodies. Placed at the beginning of the academic year, the programme prepares newly-appointed Student Governors for their first term as a member of the governing body. 

For returning Student Governors there is a dedicated strand of activity and content with a chance to reflect on the experiences of the previous year with expert facilitation and advice to maximise your contribution in your second year.

This will be a highly participative event, with case studies and discussion groups and will provide many opportunities for delegates to debate and discuss. The programme will feature a number of nationally-known keynote speakers, interactive exercises and an opportunity for participants to network with other student governors from other institutions across the UK, and to subsequently use these contacts to share matters of concern and seek guidance. 

By the end of the event, student governors will explore:

  • expectations of the student governor;
  • the structure of a governing body;
  • the collective responsibility of governing bodies;
  • managing conflicts of interest;
  • how to be an effective student governor.

This event complements the acclaimed NUS summer training programme.

Governors Pathway

Student Governor 1 Programme      

10.00    Welcome,  Aaron Porter, Associate Director (Governance), Advance HE
10.15    Policy landscape, Debbie McVitty, Editor, Wonkhe    
10.55    Break        
11.05    Understanding governance in HE, Wendy Appleby, Registrar and Head of Student & Registry Services, UCL    
11.25    The origins of HE governance, Mike Ratcliffe, Academic Registrar, Nottingham Trent University    
11.45    Q&A with Wendy Appleby and Mike Ratcliffe        
12.00    Lunch     
12.30    Understanding HE finance, Gavan Conlon, Partner, London Economics    
13.00    Rubber stamp or lethal weapon: Can Student Governors lead institutional change in a time of Covid-19?, Jim Dickinson, Associate Editor, Wonkhe    
13.45    In tray governing body simulation     
15.00    Present back your killer questions        
15.30    Close 


Debbie McVitty

Editor, Wonkhe

As Wonkhe’s editor, Debbie has oversight of Wonkhe’s daily insight, debate and analysis of higher education policy. Debbie has previously worked in policy and communications roles at Universities UK, the University of Bedfordshire, and the National Union of Students. She holds a DPhil in English literature from the University of Oxford and a Masters in research in higher education policy, evaluation and enhancement from Lancaster University. Debbie is interested in bringing to light new and less-represented perspectives to inform policy and practice in higher education.

Debbie McVitty

Wendy Appleby

Registrar and Head of Student & Registry Services, UCL

Wendy Appleby is Registrar and Head of Student & Registry Services at University College London (UCL), a post she has held since April 2014.  In January 2015, Wendy became Secretary to the UCL Council.  Wendy has worked in higher education administration for over 30 years, primarily in functions related to student administration, academic and corporate governance.  Before joining UCL, Wendy spent eight years as Secretary to Council and Academic Registrar at Queen Mary University of London; she has worked in a further five higher education institutions in London. 

At UCL, the Registrar provides leadership to a division of around 260 staff, organised across three departments, providing a range of services to students and staff, which include access and admissions, student support and wellbeing, academic and governance services, and student administration.  In addition, the Registrar leads on governance matters and manages UCL’s compliance with external requirements, including the Office for Students, UKVI, Prevent and UKRI.

Wendy Appleby

Mike Ratcliffe

Academic Registrar, Nottingham Trent University

Mike Ratcliffe is Academic Registrar at Nottingham Trent University. He has also held similar roles at three other universities.  His interest in university administration started as a student representative, becoming a sabbatical officer before being appointed to roles in quality assurance. He’s returned to study higher education at postgraduate level, and is particularly interested in its history (about which he blogs). He also writes about HE regulation, focusing on the OfS and its new role.

Mike Ratcliffe

Jim Dickinson
Associate Editor, Wonkhe

Jim Dickinson is an Associate Editor at Wonkhe where he takes a particular interest in students, governance and higher education regulation and leads on our work with students’ unions.

Jim is a former long standing director at the National Union of Students, where he led on students’ union development, campaigns and political strategy, student engagement and governance.

He was also CEO at the students’ union at UEA in Norwich, acting as the lead staff member on behalf of the elected student officers of the union providing strategic management for the union’s charitable and commercial vehicles and policy support for the officers.

Jim has served as a Governor in both further and higher education and the voluntary sector, and is a regular contributor to AdvanceHE’s leadership skills for governance programme. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and an obsessive fan of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Jim Dickinson

Gavan Conlon 
Partner, London Economics

Dr Gavan Conlon is a Partner at London Economics and a specialist in education and labour market economics. In the higher education arena, this research work has been delivered to central government departments, non-departmental public bodies (e.g. Health Education England), university mission groups (e.g. Universities UK, the Russell Group, Guild HE, million+), higher education institutions, unions and representative bodies (e.g. UCU, UNISON, NUS, Royal College of Nursing), charities (e.g. British Council, Sutton Trust), think-tanks (e.g. Higher Education Policy Institute, IPPR), regulators (e.g. Office for Students) and private sector organisations. Over the last decade, he has written extensively on the costs associated with alternative higher education fees and funding regimes; the impact of Brexit on HE enrolment; the costs and benefits associated with international students; and most recently, the impact of the pandemic on student enrolments and university finances 

Gavan Colon

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

Find out more