Plenary Speakers

Monday plenary

Winning the argument

Making the case for universities

Professor Sir Chris Husbands
Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University

Universities are amongst the UK’s success stories: more 18 year olds secure a university place than ever before.  But universities feel on the backfoot after months of negative media coverage.  The financial and policy context is darkening.  How can we make the positive case for universities and win the argument?

About Chris

Professor Sir Chris Husbands has been Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University since January 2016.

A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, he has undertaken senior roles in universities for over eighteen years, as Head of the Institute of Education at Warwick University (2000-3), as Dean of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia (2003-7), as Dean of Faculty and then Director of the Institute of Education (2007-15) and as Vice-Provost at University College London (2014-15).

His academic interests are in education policy and practice; his research has explored the reasons for difference in performance between education systems and his work has been published in fifteen books and over four hundred papers and presentations.  He has worked with local and national governments in the UK and internationally, across four continents.

Sir Chris graduated with a double starred First in History from the University of Cambridge, where he went on to complete a doctorate in Geography.  He was a teacher and senior manager in urban secondary comprehensive schools before becoming a university lecturer.

Sir Chris was appointed in 2016 by the Government as the inaugural Chair of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which assesses teaching excellence across UK higher education.  He is Chair of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Board, Chair of the Doncaster Opportunity Area Board and a co-opted Private Sector member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (SCR LEP) Board and recently became Chair of Yorkshire Universities.  Sir Chris was knighted for services to Higher Education in 2018.

Tuesday plenary

Leading UK HE Excellence in the ‘New World’: Challenges or Opportunities?

Dame Shirley Pearce
Chair of LSE Court and Council

The session will explore the Implications for management and governance in UK HE institutions in the new regulatory environment.  Approximately one year on from the start of the OfS and Research England we will ask… what’s really changed?

What are we doing differently in institutions now and what else might need to change?

Is there still a UK HE ‘Sector’?

Are there threats to our UK international performance?

About Shirley

Shirley has held senior executive and non-executive roles in higher education, health and policing. She is currently Chair of Council and Court of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a member of the Higher Education Quality Assurance Panel for the Ministry of Education in Singapore, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Advisory Board for HCA UK and a Trustee for the Royal Anniversary Trust.

In 2013 Shirley was appointed by the Home Secretary as the inaugural Chair of the College of Policing where she oversaw the introduction of the first Code of Ethics for policing. She was also a Board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Healthcare Commission and Health Education England.

She was Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University from 2006 – 2012, where she delivered a new strategy for the university which saw a significant increase in turnover, closer working with industry partners and research success in the Research Excellence Framework, alongside a top rated student experience.

Earlier in her academic career she held appointments at University College London (UCL) and the University of East Anglia (UEA), where she established a new medical school with an innovative curriculum and a focus on primary care and inter-professional learning.

In 2005, Shirley was awarded a CBE for services to education in the National Health Service and in 2014 was appointed DBE for services to Higher Education.

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