HESPA 2019 > Programme > Speakers





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Janice Aitken 

Associate Dean Public and Community Engagement Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee

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Dr Ghazwa Alwani- Starr

Director of Property and Facilities Management, University of London



Zac Ashkanasy

Principal, Nous Group

Zac is an award-winning Principal with Nous Group. He brings close to 25 years of business and consulting experience. This includes working with many tertiary institutions in the UK, Australia and Asia. Zac works closely with Vice Chancellors and their senior leaders on solving key institutional questions and implementing their solutions. Examples include the scale and focus on an institution, research performance, contemporary teaching and learning models, and student experience and supports.

Zac’s work combines expertise in business strategy, organisational design and innovation together with fostering productive interactions between people. Executives and staff value his provocative, practical mind-set and engaging nature. Zac won the 2015 ‘most client focused management consultant’ in the Australian Financial Review awards.


Ant Bagshaw

Director, Nous Group

Ant Bagshaw is a Director at management consultancy Nous Group. He was previously Wonkhe’s Deputy CEO and has written extensively on its blogs about teaching excellence, university strategies and poor quality policy making amongst other topics. Before Wonkhe, Ant worked at the London School of Economics and University of Kent in roles supporting senior management teams.

Ant is a doctoral student at the University of Sheffield and is co-editing a book on policy and public affairs in higher education.


Eric Bohms

Director, Achievability

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Mike Boxall

Senior Advisor, Further and Higher Education, PA Consulting Group

Mike Boxall has been working at the leading edge of changes in higher and further education management for over 30 years. He works with universities and education providers, government agencies and sector bodies to help them anticipate, evaluate, plan and implement responses to the disruptions reshaping the global tertiary education system and the fortunes of everyone concerned with it. His expertise is in market assessments, institutional strategies, business planning and organisational change, plus managing the engagement of multiple stakeholder interests in change programmes.

Mike is well-known across the UK higher education sector, having worked with a large proportion of its institutions and leadership teams, and also for his thought leadership in anticipating the changes that they face. This has been shared through extensive published reports, articles and conference presentations, notably the influential ‘Red Queen’ papers and other reports published through PA Consulting Group including PA’s annual surveys of HE leaders. 

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Alison Brunt

Head of Institutional Performance Measures: Data, Foresight and Analysis, Office for Students 


Dr Colin Campbell

Director of Strategic Planning, University of Newcastle

Colin joined Newcastle University in October 2016 as Director of Strategic Planning and is responsible for supporting the development, implementation and monitoring of the University's Vision and Strategy. He is the University’s lead on strategic risk, statutory returns, large-scale projects and change management. Colin is also responsible for providing management information and policy insight for the Vice Chancellor and the University's Executive Board.

Colin has a PhD in Geography from the University of Edinburgh and worked in Scotland for ten years at the universities of Stirling (where he was Head of Policy, Planning and Governance) and St Andrews (at the Centre for Housing Research). He also worked as policy advisor in two local authorities and has a strong interest in the design of effective services and business processes.

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Mark Charlton

Associate Director of Public Engagement, De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester


Caroline Chipperfield

Business Development Director, UPP



Dan Cook

Head of Policy & Development, HESA 

Head of Policy and Development at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Dan has worked in Higher Education for twenty years, at the universities of Bristol, Southampton and Exeter. In 2014 Dan moved to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Dan leads on futures and foresight work, research strategy, and engagement with the HE policy and data landscape, to support HESA’s strategy development. He also oversees strategic product management and innovation, working with product owners across the Agency to drive value and improvement. Dan’s work covers the full range of HESA’s activity, and included work on the DLSG Logical Model and the Data Futures Collection Design and Collection Governance projects. Dan led the UK’s national review of data requirements about graduate destinations and outcomes, which developed and proposed the openly centralised Graduate Outcomes survey. Dan holds an MBA in HE management from UCL’s Institute of Education, and an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Exeter.


Myles Danson 

Product Owner (Business Intelligence Service), Jisc

Myles has worked in the Higher Education sector for 22 years. Most recently he is the Product Owner for Jisc ‘Analytics Labs’ service which has seen some 300 sector-based analysts from 115 UK HEIs join Myles and his team. Analytics Labs support participants in developing their own skills and knowledge of business intelligence for education through the development of timely data underpinned insights into key themes of interest to the University sector.

Myles leads for Jisc on the sister initiative, a collaboration with HESA creating high quality, high value ‘suites’ of interactive dashboards and data visualisations and distributing them to a varied customer base of University sections and staff roles. Previously Myles was a Jisc programme manager exploring a wide range of sector issues and opportunities. He also spent 10 years working at Loughborough University.

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Amatey Doku 

Vice President for Higher Education, NUS


Michael Evans

Sales Director, Billigence 

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Leah Ewing Ross

Head of Research, Association of Institutional Research, United States 

Leah Ewing Ross is Senior Director for Research for the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). She leads AIR’s national research, scholarship, and innovation agenda to effectively position IR within the changing landscape of higher education. She partners with stakeholders to create forward-looking models to advance evidence-based decision making, and to equip higher education professionals with the knowledge and tools they need as leaders within their organisations.

Leah holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Iowa State University.


Dr Catriona Firth 

Head of REF Policy, Research England

Catriona Firth is the Head of REF Policy working within the REF Team at Research England. She previously worked as a Policy Adviser in HEFCE’s Institutions Directorate, managing relationships with higher education institutions across the South West of England.

Prior to joining HEFCE, she worked in Research and Impact Services at the University of Warwick, first as Impact Officer for the Arts Faculty and, subsequently, as Research Strategy and Development Manager for Social Sciences.


Dr Paul Greatrix

Registrar, University of Nottingham 

Dr Paul Greatrix is Registrar at the University of Nottingham, a post he was appointed to in January 2007. Prior to this he was Deputy Registrar at the University of Warwick. Earlier positions at Warwick included Director of Student and Ancillary Services, Acting Registrar, Interim Director of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth and Senior Assistant Registrar with responsibility for quality issues. Before joining Warwick in 1998 he was at the University of East Anglia for six years, where he also worked on quality matters, and Staffordshire University. As Registrar he is responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for the academic administration of the University. As well as being Secretary to the statutory bodies of the University and a member of University Executive Board, the Registrar manages the provision of a broad range of professional services for prospective students, current students and staff. Paul read English Language at the University of Edinburgh, and holds a PhD from the School of Education at the University of East Anglia. He blogs regularly for Wonkhe as Registrarism.  


Adam Green 

Senior Data and Visualisation Officer, Business Intelligence at Jisc

Adam has recently joined Jisc as Senior data and visualisation officer, he is often found scoping and Srum mastering ‘Analytics Labs’ which support participants in developing their own skills and knowledge of business intelligence for education addressing hot and emerging topics facing the ever changing HE sector. He is also found creating high quality interactive dashboards and data visualisations in a highly focused and experienced joint HESA and Jisc development team. He has worked in the Higher Education sector for over 13 years, and has also spent time leading a business intelligence management information team at the University of East Anglia.

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Sophie Haworth 

Trainer, Jisc

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Andrew Jackson 

Director of Research and Innovations Services, Durham University 


Nick Johnstone 

Head of Policy, Strategic Planning and Analysis, Ravensbourne University

Nick is a member of the HESPA Executive and co-chair of HESPA's Policy Interest Group. He has been at Ravensbourne University London since December 2015. He manages a small team in this small specialist institution, covering strategy development, horizon-scanning and institutional response to policy change, KPIs and TEF.

From 2009 to 2015 Nick was Policy Adviser at the representative body GuildHE, where he worked with central and devolved governments, funding councils and regulators on the major policy reforms of that period. He has experience across the HE sector, from large research-intensive universities to small specialists.

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Alison Jones

University Secretary & Director of Planning, Legal and Governance, University of Bradford


Christine M Keller

Executive Director and CEO, Association for Institutional Research, United States

Christine M. Keller is Executive Director of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). A nonprofit membership association serving over 3,000 members, AIR provides educational resources, best practices, and professional development opportunities to its members and the IR community.

A longtime member, prior to joining AIR as Executive Director, Christine was Vice President for Research and Policy Analysis at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). She is on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Advisory Board and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University of Kansas.

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Daniel Kidd

Deputy Academic Registrar, University of Wolverhampton

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Aneesah Latkan

3rd year Law Student, De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester 


Mark Leach

CEO, Wonkhe

Mark Leach is the founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of Wonkhe. Mark worked in policy, politics and public affairs in and around UK higher education and founded Wonkhe in 2011 while working as a jobbing policy wonk in the sector. Mark began full-time work on Wonkhe in mid-2014 growing it into a thriving business based in Central London. As CEO, Mark is responsible for running and developing Wonkhe and as Editor in Chief oversees Wonkhe’s editorial platforms.


Thomas Marinko

Vice President, Business Development, Hypergene

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Steve McDonald 

Head of Buisness Intelligence and Data Governance, University of Glasgow

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Tierney Morris 

3rd year International Business Student, De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester

Tierney Morris is a 20 year old International Business student at De Montfort University and is currently undertaking a placement year in Public Engagement in #DMUlocal and Square Mile, based in the directorate of Strategic and International Partnerships. From volunteering heavily in Girl Guiding UK and Scope in her home of London, this is where Tierney’s passion for community and outreach work began and what eventually led to working in Public Engagement. Studying International Business was almost to be expected after growing up in the country’s business centre London and visiting international hubs New York, Hong Kong, Thailand and India with De Montfort has increased her passion even more.

The opportunities at De Montfort has allowed her to continue in her extra-curricular, including completing extra qualifications in a range of subjects and being on the committee for the Pole Fitness Society. De Montfort has also offered Tierney the opportunity to be the first person in her family to experience HE and complete a degree. Reading has always been a passion for Tierney, the diversity within the university has broadened the texts she enjoys.


Nabeelah Ahmed Omarjee Omarji

PhD Student, De Montfort University

Nabeelah Ahmed Omarjee and is an international student from Zimbabwe, studying towards a PhD in Cognitive Psychology at De Montfort University, in Leicester. she enjoyed dedicating her time to worthwhile causes and has had the opportunity to volunteer on several different projects with the University. She has volunteered as an English Tutor to refugees and asylum-seekers, a Diabetes Community Champion, and an Achievement Mentor. She has also volunteered with Refugees in Germany and Cyprus as part of the UN #JoinTogether Campaign, and built washrooms in a school in India.

Nabeelah works part-time with the University as a Teaching Assistant within the Division of Psychology and as a Student Ambassador. She has developed both personally and professionally and has gained invaluable transferable skills over the years. The phenomenal opportunities and life-changing experiences available to all, makes me proud to be a student at DMU.


Professor Manuel Frutos-Perez PFHEA

Cambridge Education Group


Simon Perks

Director, Sockmonkey Consulting

Simon is founder and director of Sockmonkey Consulting, which helps organisations across the public, not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors to make better decisions, to improve their performance and to achieve better value for money. Simon works with universities on issues ranging from strategic planning to workload modelling. He helps them to better understand the value that they create for their students, funders and society and to tell captivating stories that engage, entertain and inspire. Simon is a chartered public finance accountant and a qualified executive coach.

He has degrees in political science and theoretical physics. He speaks English, French, German and Russian and can get by in Dutch, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. He is currently learning Scottish Gaelic. When he is not working, Simon is usually out running, rowing or paddleboarding.

He is also a keen writer, astronomer, banjo player and tea drinker. He lives near Bristol with his wife, Natalie, and Molly and Ozzy, his Labrador dogs. 


John Pritchard

Director of Strategic Planning, Durham University

John has worked across a diverse range of universities – pre- and post-92, north and south of the border – and for several national policy bodies including the Scottish Funding Council, Universities UK and the Higher Education Academy. He played a central role in the development of Durham University’s strategic plan, particularly in relation to the future size and shape of the institution. He is currently responsible for enabling associated delivery in relation to academic planning, business intelligence and horizon scanning, market analysis and risk management. John is Chair of the Russell Group Directors of Strategy and Planning, a member of the HESPA executive committee, and leads the member network on university strategy development.

He is a board trustee of Groundwork North East and Cumbria, a charity which changes lives through community and environmental regeneration. His interests outside work include art, psychogeography and David Bowie. He welcomes the prospect of living in interesting times.



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Miranda Routledge

Director of Planning, Loughborough University


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Ester Ruskuc

Director of Strategy and Policy, St Andrew University

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Dr Rosa Scoble

Director Planning & Policy, Brunel University London 

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Richard Smith 

TEF Pilot Manager, Office for Students

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Jennifer Stergiou

Director of Research and Innovation, University of Northumbria

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Erik Thelander

Director Product Management, Segment Solutions, Hypergene

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Annette Vancil 

Director of Technology Transformation at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Director of Technology Transformation at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Annette joined HESA in August 2018 and is the Programme Director for Data Futures. Annette has experience in Projects and IT service delivery including technical, sourcing and organisational change programmes. Her early career in IT and Project Management led to 15 years of varied and interesting roles leading Project and IT functions at Nationwide Building Society, and Technical Transition and Portfolio functions at UK SBS. Annette holds an Executive MBA from the University of Bath School of Management.


Thijs Van Vugt

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Professor Shearer West

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