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Special Interest Group Discussion: Grace Under Pressure – clarity and common sense in workload management

Nick Garforth, Faculty Manager, University of East Anglia
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Following a variety of roles in sectors such as Publishing, Recruitment, e-Commerce, and Financial Services, Nick Garforth arrived in Higher Education, where he has been for the past 13 years. 8 of those years have been in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, initially as a School Manager and then as Faculty Manager. Since the start of his work in the Faculty he has been central to its workload modelling and management endeavours. He is happy to talk to anyone about workload matters, rock music, or cricket. Although not always in that order.


Welcome to HESPA 2022

Laura Knox, Director of Planning, University of St Andrews
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Laura is Director of Planning at the University of St Andrews and oversees the delivery the Planning function including analytical services; timetabling, teaching space allocation and utilisation; and institutional risk, resilience and insurance services. She joined the University in 2008 after holding a number of research, analytical and planning support roles within the public and HE sectors. Laura is currently a member of the HESPA Executive, the Higher Education Data Insights Group, the Scottish Planners Forum, the UUK Monitoring and evaluation tools in HE advisory group and the OfS NSS Review Advisory Group.

 

Plenary 1: Tackling inequalities in higher education: an evidence-based approach

Dr Omar Khan, Director, TASO
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Omar has led TASO’s transition into an independent charity, developing its team and strategy to widen participation in higher education and eliminate equality gaps between students.

Omar joined TASO from race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, where he had been Director since 2014. As Director of the Runnymede Trust, Omar grew the organisation and increased its profile. Prior to this, Omar was Head of Policy at the Runnymede Trust and led its financial inclusion programme.

Omar holds several advisory positions, including chair of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Group to Understanding Society, a trustee of the Political Studies Association and of the Barrow Cadbury Trust and a member of the 2021 REF and 2014 REF assessments. Omar was previously a Governor at the University of East London, Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission  and a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow.

 

Workshop A1: Data Futures – Countdown to the 2022/23 Student Collection

Annette Vancil, Data Futures Programme Director, HESA

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Annette has been the Programme Director for Data Futures for almost 4 years, following earlier roles in shared services and financial services leading Programmes, and Project and IT functions.

 

Emily Carter, Data Futures Project Manager, HESA

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Emily is the Project Manager for Data Futures leading the Data and Business Change elements of delivery. She has been working on Data Futures for nearly 6 years and has experience managing a variety of projects over the past decade.

 

Workshop A2: Designing Business Intelligence for HE

Eleanor Jarvis, Senior data and analytics developer, Jisc

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Eleanor has been at Jisc since 2020. She uses her technical experience in working with data to deliver insights, especially using Tableau and Alteryx. She has used her expertise throughout her career to deliver insights into HE data. Eleanor has a background as in strategic planning in HE, and as such has an in depth understanding of the HE landscape.

 

Rhodri Rowlands, Senior data and analytics developer, Jisc

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Rhodri is a Senior Data Analytics Developer within Jisc’s Data Analytics directorate. He specialises in co-design, agile product development, building and optimising datasets, and generating insights through data visualisation. Notable projects include leading on our Welsh HE National Measures dashboard suite.

Rhodri has over 25 years of experience as a data professional, including as Strategic Planning Co-ordinator and Business Intelligence Analyst at Sheffield Hallam University. He holds an MSc (Distinction) in Information Technology and is certified in using Agile, Tableau Desktop and Alteryx Designer. Rhodri is a native Welsh speaker.

 

Workshop A3: Beyond Net Zero; how universities can help accelerate sustainability action beyond their own operations

Jamie Brogan, Head of Climate Partnerships, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

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Jamie is the Head of Climate Partnerships for the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI). A climate change professional with 25+ years of experience in delivering business transformation, he now leads ECCI’s work supporting public and industry partners to most effectively use their influence to drive down climate emissions and in particular to develop place-based climate action. He has built the partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council that has set Edinburgh’s target of Net Zero by 2030, and is helping to develop the citywide sustainability strategy to deliver this. He founded and set up the Edinburgh Climate Commission, an independent expert advisory group challenging and supporting the city on its journey towards net zero. He is co-author of a road map for Achieving Net Zero, which analyses a cities carbon footprint and the range of measures needed to make a city carbon neutral, and sets out the costs and benefits of achieving these. He has overseen a programme to embed climate impact into city decision making, through the development of the Carbon Scenario Tool, a methodology for rapid assessment and option appraisal of development decisions based on their climate impacts. This has led into a partnership programme with the Scottish Government the Scottish Cities Alliance on capability and capacity for the delivery of area-wide emissions reduction strategies. He has also helped to establish the Edinburgh Climate Compact, a coalition of the city’s biggest and most influential organisations making a shared commitment to action on climate change. He now leads a range of programmes across public and private sector partners supporting businesses and public bodies to contribute to and be successful in the transition to a zero carbon economy.

Scott Davidson, Deputy Director Social Responsibility and Sustainability, University of Edinburgh
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Scott has dedicated his career to sustainability over the last 20 years. He started out as a social psychologist designing and evaluating behaviour change projects focused on waste, energy, water, transport, diet, finance, and shopping. This quickly led into organisational change and senior management often working with strategic and planning functions to create the physical and policy environment to support the sought after behaviours. Organisational change is the space he now works in at the University of Edinburgh, supporting the University in its response to climate change and other sustainability issues across operations, learning and teaching, research and partnerships.

Dean joined UCL in October 2017 as Major Projects Portfolio Director in the Planning Team. He is currently Director of Planning, with oversight of data and insight, strategic planning and institutional risk, and the major projects portfolio function.

Previously Dean was at City, University of London for five years as Director of Strategic Planning & Performance, having held a variety of positions in local and central government, and at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development which runs major projects in eastern Europe and central Asia. He was Head of Strategy & Projects at the London Borough of Camden, and a Senior Policy Analyst at HM Treasury working on reform of UK public services.

 

Business Session 1: Planning and Debating – Academic Workload

Dr Natasha Bennett, Head of Client Services, Simitive

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Natasha and her team are responsible for the consultancy, delivery, and support of all Simitive products and services. Natasha has extensive experience of the practical challenges and implications of the workload process from framework creation through to ongoing management and development.
 

Dr Tine Blomme, Business Manager Workload Modelling, Cardiff University

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Tine is involved in various HR change initiatives at Cardiff University and is responsible for workload model development and continuous improvement, placement of the workload model within the wider University, policy alignment and culture development. Tine is a HR professional with a background in programme management, IT, and change management.

Business Session 2: Skills & Labour Market Data for Planning

Richard Hewitt, Director, Higher Education, Emsi Burning Glass
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Richard Hewitt leads engagement with the UK Higher Education sector at the market-leading labour market insight and skills data company, Emsi Burning Glass. Richard has a background in HE as a former senior lecturer and course leader, as well as experience in executive search, headhunting senior professionals and management worldwide for universities and multinational corporations. He is also a member of the 21st Century Skills working group at the International Council on Badges and Credentials.


Plenary 2: The changing requirements of insight in a modern world

David Kernohan, Acting Editor, Wonkhe
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David Kernohan is Acting Editor of Wonkhe. Until June 2016, he worked at Jisc as a programme manager and senior codesign manager, after being seconded from HEFCE in 2006. He has also worked for the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales). As Associate Editor, David has responsibility for the development and delivery of a variety of editorial content. His key areas of wonkishness include teaching quality enhancement policy, funding policy, sector agency politics and history, research policy, and the use of technology and data in Higher Education.

David has written for Wonkhe since foundation, and also maintains a personal blog.

Special Interest Group Discussion 2: Risk – what’s keeping you awake at night?

Clare Foyle, Planning Manager, University College London
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Clare has worked in Higher Education for 15 years, in both strategic planning and institutional research roles. She is passionate about integrating strategic planning and risk and enabling institutions to achieve their strategic aims.

She coordinates the risk management process at UCL and is the current chair of the HERMN steering group.


Special Interest Group Discussion 3: Student Number Planning

Neil Davidson, Associate Director for Analytics and Performance Insight, University of Nottingham

Welcome to Day 2

Daniel Kidd, Deputy Academic Registrar, University of Wolverhampton
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Daniel has been working with data in UK higher education for 20 years. Having previously worked in student data roles within HE providers, Daniel joined the Higher Education Statistics Agency in 2006 and worked as Head of Training and Consultancy. In January 2018 Daniel took up the post of Director of Planning at Arden University with a broad remit across planning and statutory compliance activities. In February 2019 Daniel became Deputy Academic Registrar at the University of Wolverhampton. Daniel co-authored a chapter on ‘Data capability across the information landscape’ within ‘Higher Education Strategy and Planning: A professional guide’ (Routledge, 2018), and is chair of the HESPA Development Committee.



Plenary 3: Strategic planning as a multi-dimensional function

Dr Paul Greatrix, Registrar, University of Nottingham

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Dr Paul Greatrix is Registrar at the University of Nottingham, a post he was appointed to in January 2007.

As Registrar he is responsible to the President and 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 the University Executive Board, the Registrar manages the provision of a broad range of professional services for prospective students, current students and staff.

Prior to joining the University of Nottingham he held a number of roles at the University of Warwick including Acting Registrar. Before joining Warwick in 1998 he was at the University of East Anglia for six years, where he worked on quality matters, and Staffordshire University.

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 used to blog regularly on Wonkhe but now messes around with podcasts instead.


Jackie Njoroge, Director of Strategy, University of Salford
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A self-confessed data geek Jackie Njoroge is Director of Strategy at the University of Salford and Deputy Chair of the Higher Education Strategic Planning Association (HESPA). With an early career in management accounting in the Steel industry Jackie is also a qualified accountant and holds a non-exec/chair of finance and investment committee role at an NHS trust.


Workshop B1: Preparing a University for Data Futures

Daniel Kidd, Deputy Academic Registrar, University of Wolverhampton
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Daniel has been working with data in UK higher education for 20 years. Having previously worked in student data roles within HE providers, Daniel joined the Higher Education Statistics Agency in 2006 and worked as Head of Training and Consultancy. In January 2018 Daniel took up the post of Director of Planning at Arden University with a broad remit across planning and statutory compliance activities. In February 2019 Daniel became Deputy Academic Registrar at the University of Wolverhampton. Daniel co-authored a chapter on ‘Data capability across the information landscape’ within ‘Higher Education Strategy and Planning: A professional guide’ (Routledge, 2018), and is chair of the HESPA Development Committee.


Workshop B2: Organisational Resilience – not just for crises

Ashley Kirby MBCI, Business Continuity Manager at University of Bristol and Secretary to Higher Education Business Continuity Network
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Ashley has over 13 years' experience working in both the academic and administrative sides of higher education. She is an active member of the Higher Education Business Continuity Network, Business Continuity Institute, and Institute of Strategic Risk Management.

She has specialised in business continuity and crisis management and has experience in a range of related fields including risk management, governance, health & safety and Prevent Duty. Ashley is passionate about helping organisations to bring risk and resilience to life and understand how these frameworks can be used to position an organisation to deal with the constant changes and challenges in the sector.


Jo Downey, Head of Business Continuity & Risk Management, Royal College of Art
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Jo has recently joined the Royal College of Art as its Head of Business Continuity and Risk Management. Formerly at the NHS as an Emergency Response and Prevent Lead, she adopts an integrated approach to strategic planning, crisis management, organisational change and developing stakeholder collaboration and engagement.

Jo holds the DIPHEPRR (Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response), the UK Home Office Prevent accreditation, an LLB Hons and has worked as a BBC journalist.
In her spare time, she likes to take advantage of London’s arts and culture.


Workshop B3: Beyond the REF results

Anna Grey, Director of the Research Office, Edge Hill University

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Anna Grey is a Director of Research, having recently joined Edge Hill following 16 years as the Head of the Research Strategy and Policy Office at the University of York. Prior to that she headed up the Planning Office at the University of Hull and has been a keen supporter of HESPA for many years. When not focusing on strategy and policy development and implementation, she is the ARMA REF SIG Champion and has just finished her stint as a REF Panel Adviser for Panel A.

Business Session 3: Informed strategic planning for portfolio innovation

Jacopo Gutterer, Market Intelligence Analyst, Studyportals

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Jacopo works in the analytics team since 2019. He spent the last three years making sense of international higher education by analysing trends, crunching data, and challenging assumptions. Together with the Analytics and Consulting Team he helps universities developing their programme portfolios, targeting international students, and becoming more data driven. When he is not busy finding new ways to present information and creating challenging charts that oversimplify reality, he enjoys lengthy conversations on economics and policies.


Ralph Buiser, International Market Insight Manager, University of Bristol
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Ralph has over 10 years of experience as a data, analytics and market insight professional in the Higher Education sector. He currently leads the Market Insight Team at the University of Bristol where he lends his expertise on developing new programmes, portfolio reviews, and international recruitment and marketing strategy. Prior to Bristol, Ralph spent 6 years at an analytics role with IDP Education, a global student recruitment agency and IELTS stakeholder. Ralph has a postgraduate degree in Social Science Research and is a PhD candidate from Cardiff University. Outside of Bristol, Ralph is currently an IC Global Fellow working on a British Council-sponsored research project on international undergraduate pathways.


Plenary 4: Next steps for access and participation

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students

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John Blake is the Director for Fair Access and Participation. His role is to ensure universities and colleges are doing all they can to support learners from all backgrounds, especially the most disadvantaged, to access and succeed in higher education.

John took up his position at the Office for Students in January 2022. Prior to joining OfS, he was a senior leader and researcher in the schools sector, leading on public affairs and curriculum research and design for Ark, policy and strategy for Now Teach and History initial teacher education for the Harris Federation. He has also worked as Head of Education and Social Reform for the think tank, Policy Exchange, was a founder governor of Oak National Academy, and served as an advisor to the government on reforms to initial teacher training and continuing professional development.

Mark Gittoes, Head of Foresight and Insight, Office for Students
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Mark Gittoes is the Head of Foresight and Insight at the Office for Student's (OfS). He leads the team responsible for analyses that inform regulatory interventions made by the Office for Students, as well as insights that reflect the higher education regulatory environment and sector trends. Prior to taking up his role at the OfS, Mark worked with higher education data and statistics for over 20 years, and holds a statistics PhD which examined performance indicators in higher education.


Special Interest Group Discussion 4: HESPA and Scottish Planners: Planning Across the Nations

Gavin Lee, Director of Strategic Planning & Development, University of the West of Scotland

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Gavin was appointed Chair of the Scottish Planners Forum in August 2020. Gavin has worked in the HE sector since 2007 in a range of roles, moving between student representation, systems and process development and implementation, quality assurance and enhancement and then into policy and planning roles. These have been at a number of institutions (Glasgow, Stirling and UWS) and included a secondment to Universities Scotland.


Special Interest Group Discussion 5: Launch of the Statutory Returns HESPA Group

Estelle King, Planning lead – information & insight, DeMontfort University

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Estelle has been both an enthusiastic academic in astrophysics and a proactive manager in higher education. She worked in many universities within the UK and outside the UK. Estelle is presently working as a planning lead to help shaping the intelligence and insight they can gather from their internal and external data landscape, supporting also the delivery of returns.


Welcome to Day 3 and Annual HESPA Awards

Dr Jeung Lee, Head of Integrated Planning, University of Manchester

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Jeung joined Manchester as Head of Integrated Planning in May 2021. She leads a team that provides leadership and support for strategy and the development of integrated plans to support the delivery of the University vision and strategic plan.

Jeung has been providing leadership, services and resources for data-informed decision-making, strategic planning and institutional assessment for nearly 20 years. Before joining Manchester, she led a team of Institutional Effectiveness at Brunel University London where her primary responsibility was to develop and implement strategies to transform data into management information, advise on risk management and lead on change initiatives including continuous improvement.


Workshop C1: Linking Strategy and Risk

Paul Griffiths, Director of Risk Management, University of Leeds
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Paul supports the University of Leeds’ Executive and Governance bodies in embedding a culture of risk management, developing and coordinating the execution of the risk management strategy, incorporating both a proactive and collaborative approach to risk identification, assessment, and mitigation. Paul is a Chartered Accountant and has had a varied career including 16 years based in Switzerland operating as a CFO for a large division of a multi-national organisation, designing and implementing a Business Partner change program for over 800 employees, and leading an Enterprise Risk Management team.


Dr Liz Rogers, Risk & Business Continuity Manager, University of Dundee
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Liz took on responsibility for risk and business continuity management as part of her role as a Policy Officer in the corporate governance team at the University of Dundee. Post COVID-19 she moved into a new role in the University which focuses on risk and business continuity management full-time. She is a steering committee member of HERMN and is also the Co-Chair for the Scottish Region of HEBCoN.


Workshop C2: Exploring a National Standard for Online and Blended Learning 

Jason Miles-Campbell, Head of Jisc Scotland & Jisc Northern Ireland, Jisc
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Jason has responsibility for ensuring that colleges and universities in Scotland and Northern Ireland can get the most out of their membership of Jisc. This includes managing teams of account managers in their day-to-day support of Jisc’s members, consulting and collaborating with key Scottish and Northern Irish stakeholders, and liaising with each country’s relevant funders.

Workshop C3: A Maturity Model for University Planning

John Britton, Consulting Fellow, Halpin
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John has worked in university planning for over 2 decades and led the planning process at two universities. His department won ‘Strategic Planning Team of the Year’ at HESPA 2019. He now works with universities across the UK helping them to develop the planning processes.


Plenary 5: The future shape of Higher Education: what does it mean for planners?

Dr Mark Corver, Founder, dataHE
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Mark is co-founder of dataHE which for the past four years has supported UK universities in using data better. From 2010 to 2017 Mark served at UCAS, including as Director of Analysis and Research, and was previously at HEFCE. Mark has been at the heart of many advances in data in the HE system from record linking and PIs to equality measurement through POLAR and MEM, wider availability of data resources for HE, and macro- and micro- forecasting methods. He is interested in how data can be used to understand the present and model the future to the benefit of students and universities alike.

Special Interest Group Discussion 6: Data Science Group – reboot

Dr Garrick Fincham, Associate Director of Planning (University of East Anglia)
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Garrick has worked in HE in one capacity or another for 20 years, always with an interest in data and analysis, despite originally training as a classical archaeologist. He is passionate about the potential for data science and AI to impact positively on HE for the benefit of HEIs and students – though does worry about some of the music choices the Spotify predictive model throws his way. They are far too accurate for comfort.



Welcome to Day 4

Shabana Akhtar, Head of Business Intelligence and Management Information, University of London

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Shabana has over 15 years of experience in higher education with particular expertise in strategic planning, business intelligence, market insight, student opinion research, diversity and recruitment.

She is currently the Associate Director - Strategic Planning and Business Intelligence at the University of London. Her team are responsible for ensuring the robustness of data quality and reporting; the development, prototyping and embedding of data visualisation tools and techniques. Including the delivery of a suite of organisational performance measures to provide direction on academic, financial and business planning at a truly global scale.

Her previous roles in the sector include Director of the Strategic and Business Planning Office and the Head of Widening Participation and Recruitment at Oxford Brookes University.

Shabana is an Executive Member of Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA), is a member of the UCAS Data Group and the UUKi Group on monitoring and evaluation tools in TNE.


Plenary 6: Reimagining Higher Education

Professor Neal Juster, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln
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Neal Juster joined the University of Lincoln as Vice Chancellor in October 2021. He came from the University of Glasgow where he had held the position of Senior Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice Chancellor since 2013 having been appointed as Vice-Principal (Strategy & Resources) in 2007. Neal’s primary responsibilities at Glasgow were to lead the development and implementation of the University’s strategic plan; the University’s transformation programme; and the master-planning of the £1bn redevelopment of the Gilmorehill campus.
Immediately prior to appointment to the University of Glasgow Neal was Pro Vice-Principal at the University of Strathclyde (2006-7). In this role he had strategic oversight of the academic requirements of the University Estate, the University’s Cultural Activity and the Office of Marketing and Communication.
Other academic appointments include Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2002-6) and Head of Department in the Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management (1997-2002), University of Strathclyde and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds (1988-97).
Neal received his BSc and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Leeds and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). He was a past Chair, of the IMechE Academic Standards Committee, the committee responsible for accrediting relevant undergraduate degree programmes. He is currently a member of the QAA Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers
He is a Director of UL Learning Resources Ltd, Riseholme Park Farms Ltd, ULEX and UoL Services Ltd.


Workshop D1: Strategy Implementation – A couple of Case Studies

Tina Egan, Director of Strategy & Planning, University of Leeds
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Tina has over 25 years’ experience working in the HE sector in national, regional and institutional roles, with senior management experience across a broad range of strategic, operational, policy, and regulatory roles. Tina is currently Director of Strategy & Planning at the University of Leeds and, within this role, she has had institutional responsibilities across strategy, planning, business intelligence, business change, and HE policy, funding and regulation. During her time at Leeds Tina has delivered a modernisation agenda across her brief in response to a multitude of internal and external drivers – including institutional preparedness for HESA Data Futures, strategic realignment of business intelligence, data analytics and business change functions, and leading the design and implementation of an institutionally consistent, digitised approach to corporate planning.

Steve Chadwick, Director of Strategy, Planning & Change, University of Bristol
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Steve Chadwick has a wealth of experience as a planner, having worked in the planning function of the universities of Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham and Exeter before taking up post at Bristol as Director of Strategy, Planning & Change in August 2016. He has had had responsibility for the whole spectrum of activities which fall within a planner’s remit (and some that don’t)

At the heart of his approach to planning has been the desire to establish a continuous ‘strategic conversation’ between senior managers, academics, professional services staff and students. He has sought to ensure this conversation is well-informed and evidence-based so it leads to high quality decision-making which enhances institutional performance.

Steve has played a prominent role in the HE strategic planning community nationally for many years, chairing working groups for the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), training senior managers (for the Leadership Foundation) and serving on the Higher Education Strategic Planner’s Association (HESPA) Executive and Development Committee. 

Dr Jeung Lee, Head of Integrated Planning, University of Manchester
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Jeung joined Manchester as Head of Integrated Planning in May 2021. She leads a team that provides leadership and support for strategy and the development of integrated plans to support the delivery of the University vision and strategic plan.

Jeung has been providing leadership, services and resources for data-informed decision-making, strategic planning and institutional assessment for nearly 20 years. Before joining Manchester, she led a team of Institutional Effectiveness at Brunel University London where her primary responsibility was to develop and implement strategies to transform data into management information, advise on risk management and lead on change initiatives including continuous improvement.


Workshop D2: A journey to implement Data Management Framework

Katya Samoylova, Head of Business Information and Strategic Insights, University of Cambridge
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Katya has worked for the University of Cambridge since 2011 in data reporting and analysis roles. Currently, she is leading the team responsible for preparation and submission of student data returns to statutory bodies, provision of internal business information and management of student number planning and fee setting processes. Katya enjoys solving challenging analytical problems and learning new software, and hopes to learn to code properly one day. Prior to joining the University, she was a Reader in Phonetics at Newcastle University following a PhD in Linguistics and Phonetics at Oxford.

Constanza Arias-Aldana, Senior Information Analyst, University of Cambridge
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Constanza has more than 17 years of experience working with data. Her current work focuses primarily on the development and implementation of the Data Management Framework for the University of Cambridge, also supporting the provision of internal business information and fee setting processes. Constanza is an Economist, specialist in Higher Education and Public Management with MSc in Economics.


Workshop D3: Hitting the ‘sweet spot’ with HR stats: knowing your numbers without loving data

Sophie Crouchman, Strategic Projects & Research Manager, Universities HR (UHR)
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Sophie started her career working in professional services at Loughborough University in 2006 after completing her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield. Since then, Sophie has held roles in Planning; Human Resources; Estates & Facilities Management; Registry and in an Academic School. Prior to joining UHR, Sophie was Senior Planning Officer at Loughborough University, a role which included a mix of governance, projects and data. In 2018/19, Sophie was seconded to Research England to act as Secretary to three REF Sub-panels during the criteria setting phase of the REF2021 exercise. Sophie joined UHR in 2021 as Strategic Projects & Research Manager to work on projects and research to best support the needs of UHR’s members.

Plenary 7: Planning 2.0: Senior planners reflect on the demands of the new world and what they might do differently

Matt Atkin, Director of Planning, University of Manchester
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Matt has been Director of Planning at the University of Manchester since 2017, with responsibility for development of university strategy, the annual planning cycle, analytics and performance reporting, statutory reporting and strategic change. He is also director of the Professional Services change programme. Recent areas of focus have been the development of integrated planning in support of the University strategic plan Our future, the development of a balanced scorecard aligned to the strategic plan, and developing the target model for Professional Services. Prior to joining the University Matt worked in financial services for over 20 years in a range of leadership roles.

Anita Jackson, Director of Strategic Planning and Performance, University of Kent
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Anita is a member of the HESPA Executive Committee and Director of Strategic Planning and Performance at the University of Kent. She has experience of coordinating and implantation of strategic planning, establishing risk management frameworks, developing business analytics, advising on policy change and managing projects across a range of providers including research intensive, small and specialist and modern metropolitan universities. Anita currently leads matrix teams of more than 70 staff who manage Strategic Planning and Performance at Kent including management of the central student record and student record system; student data compliance and strategic planning, data engineering and business information.

Lucy Hodson, Director of Planning and Intelligence, Birmingham City University
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After early career working in the voluntary sector in Birmingham and Liverpool, started working in HE 20 years ago. Worked in fundraising and departmental administration at Imperial and Oxford University, then as Director of Planning at De Montfort, followed by Executive Director of Planning at Aberystwyth, joining BCU in 2018. Chair of National Planners Group which later became HESPA from 2011 to 2016.

Dean Stokes, Director of Planning, University College London
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Dean joined UCL in October 2017 as Major Projects Portfolio Director in the Planning Team. He is currently Director of Planning, coordinating across data and insight, strategic planning and institutional risk, and the university's major projects portfolio.

Previously Dean was at City, University of London for five years as Director of Strategic Planning & Performance, having held various positions in local and central government, and at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development which runs projects in eastern Europe and central Asia. He was Head of Strategy & Projects at the London Borough of Camden, and a Senior Policy Analyst at HM Treasury working on reform of UK public services.


Conference Close

Shabana Akhtar, Head of Business Intelligence and Management Information, University of London
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Shabana has over 15 years of experience in higher education with particular expertise in strategic planning, business intelligence, market insight, student opinion research, diversity and recruitment.

She is currently the Associate Director - Strategic Planning and Business Intelligence at the University of London. Her team are responsible for ensuring the robustness of data quality and reporting; the development, prototyping and embedding of data visualisation tools and techniques. Including the delivery of a suite of organisational performance measures to provide direction on academic, financial and business planning at a truly global scale.

Her previous roles in the sector include Director of the Strategic and Business Planning Office and the Head of Widening Participation and Recruitment at Oxford Brookes University.

Shabana is an Executive Member of Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA), is a member of the UCAS Data Group and the UUKi Group on monitoring and evaluation tools in TNE.







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