New Governance Themed Network successfully proposed

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new Themed Network; Governance You can sign up to get involved in this network by editing your details in My AUA and selecting it from the drop down menu.

This network was proposed by Katherine Wass, Marnie Davis Wood and Alison Benson, who will act as joint Network Coordinators. We asked them to share a little about themselves and their vision for the network going forward.

Katherine Wass, University of Bradford

I joined the University of Bradford in 2011 after a career in the Financial Services sector (my journey started in Insurance and ended up in Organisational Development).  I had the opportunity to work across the UK and met some amazing people along the way.  I moved to the University Legal and Governance Team in June 2018 after several years working as PA to the Dean (Faculty of Health), a role which really enabled me to learn about the sector and how it contributes to wider society.   During my time at the University there has never been a dull day, its varied, interesting and keeps me on my toes which is just the way I like to be.

Having joined the AUA in 2013 I completed the AUA PG Cert in 2016.  To now be given the opportunity to co-lead the Governance Network is really exciting and I look forward to the adventure ahead.


Marnie Davis Wood, Newman University

After spending a number of years in Australian school education policy and teaching both abroad and in the UK, I landed in HE in 2018 and have discovered that it is definitely the sector for me. My role at Newman University, a small institution deeply rooted in its local community, is diverse, fast-paced, and fascinating. I advise the University Secretary & Registrar on all matters within her portfolio, so a typical day can involve writing and coordinating papers for University Council meetings, liaising with the OfS on registration matters, student complaints, legal advice, safeguarding and Prevent. Working in a small institution is the perfect way to get to know the sector, through the breadth and pace of the work I’m involved in.

The governance part of my role is significant; I keep the University Council and its committees running effectively  and in the last year have valued the informal discussions with and advice from colleagues across the sector with regard to professionalising and systematising board-level governance . I joined the AUA when I joined the sector, and have found it to be invaluable in terms of both learning and networking.

I’m looking forward to working with fellow AUA members to formalise and further some of these collaboration opportunities through our new Governance Network.

Alison Benson, University of Leicester

I have just joined the University of Leicester as Strategic Planning Manager (Governance), after over three years as Senior Manager Governance at the Open University. Prior to working in HE I held governance management roles in a national museum and a chain of academy schools, so my experience covers governance across several sectors. The cross-sector governance experience I have has been really useful, particularly when it comes to thinking about continuous improvement as I’ve often been the fresh pair of eyes. I also focused on relationship management and advocacy in a previous role, which gave me a great foundation for working with governors, committee members and all those involved in making governance happen.

I joined the AUA as soon as I started working in the sector, encouraged by my line manager, as I believe it’s really important to be linked in to your professional community, whatever sector you happen to be in. I also wanted to develop links and connections with similar professionals across other institutions and have access to purposeful and relevant professional development opportunities. I’ve certainly found that AUA courses and conferences in particular have been hugely beneficial and enabled me to make improvements in the workplace.

I’m excited to be a Joint Network Coordinator for the new Governance themed network. I passionately believe that robust governance holds the key in the HE sector – if we get that right, then many other benefits will follow. Good governance for me is the right decisions being made by the right people at the right time, in the right way and with the right information. Whether you’re in a role dedicated to corporate governance or in a wider administrative role which supports a governance committee, or just professionally interested, I’m hopeful that the new network will offer opportunities to share good practice and build on strong foundations.

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