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Advisory Board

Comprised of university vice-chancellors, thought-leaders, policy experts and politicians, the role of the Advisory Board is to augment the knowledge, understanding and strategic thinking of the Trustee Board so that the UPP Foundation’s support is focused on areas that are central to the future success of the higher education sector.

Rt. Hon Chris Skidmore MP

Chris Skidmore is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Kingswood. He was elected following the 2010 General Election and served as the Universities Minister on two occasions between 2018 and 2020. He has also previously had Ministerial roles at the Department for Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office. Prior to becoming a Government Minister he was George Osborne’s PPS for a year between 2015 and 2016 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. As a backbencher, he now co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary University Group alongside his new role on the Advisory Board at the UPP Foundation.

Before being elected as an MP Skidmore was an education adviser for the Conservatives, working for then-Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove, and has also served as Director of the Party’s Public Services Improvement Group, run by Stephen Dorrell and Baroness Perry. He is also a historian and published author. His first book, ‘Edward VI: The Lost King’, was released in 2007 and his second, ‘Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Death of Amy Robsart’, was published in 2010. He has a First Class Honours in Modern History from the University of Oxford.

Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University

Paul Boyle was appointed Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor in 2019. Prior to this he was President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester. Paul previously was appointed Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor in 2019. Prior to this he was President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester. Paul previously became the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester in October 2014. Paul previously held the offices of Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council and President of Science Europe. He is now the Chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Council, Scotland’s highest level science advisory body, an ‘impact champion’ for the United Nations HeForShe global solidarity movement for gender equality, a Council Member and Trustee of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Dinah Caine CBE, Chair of Council of Goldsmiths College, University of London

Dinah Caine CBE is Chair of Council of Goldsmiths College, University of London and recently served as a member of the UUP Foundation’s Civic University Commission. She has served on the Creative Industries Council since its inception in 2011 and leads its work on Skills and Education. She was the founding and long-serving CEO of Creative Skillset, the Sector Skills Council and served as its Chair from 2015 to 2017. Dinah was awarded the OBE for her services to the Media Industries in 2002 and was awarded the CBE for her services to the Creative Industries in 2013.

Professor Becky Francis, Chief Executive Officer, Education Endowment Foundation

Professor Becky Francis is Chief Executive Officer of the Education Endowment Foundation. She was previously Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), and has held roles including Professor of Education and Social Justice at King’s College London, Director of Education at the RSA and Standing Advisor to the Parliamentary Education Select Committee. Becky has been a judge for the National Pupil Premium Awards and the TES Teacher of the Year awards.

Professor Graham Galbraith CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Portsmouth

Professor Graham Galbraith was appointed Vice-Chancellor at the University of Portsmouth in 2013. Previous roles also include Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire between 2008 and 2013, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at Glasgow Caledonian University between 1993 and 2008.

Graham gained a BSc (1st class) in Environmental Engineering, an MSc, Mechanical Engineering and a PhD from the University of Strathclyde. He also holds Chartered Engineer status, Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Member of the Chartered Institution for Building Service Engineers and a Member of the Institute of Directors.

Libby Hackett, Chief Executive Officer, James Martin Institute for Public Policy

Libby Hackett is the Chief Executive Officer of the James Martin Institute for Public Policy, based in Australia, and a visiting fellow at Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU). Libby was previously a Senior Partner at Perrett Laver, having joined from University Alliance in 2014. Libby led University Alliance in the UK as their Chief Executive for five years before moving to the Perrett Laver Global Higher Education team. She has also previously worked as the Director of Research for The Russell Group and as a Special Advisor to the House of Commons Education Select Committee.

Lucy Heller, Chief Executive, Ark

Lucy Heller became the Chief Executive of Ark in 2012, a children’s charity that runs education and health programmes in the UK, Africa and India. She joined Ark in 2004 from TSL Education, which published TES magazine, where she was joint Managing Director.

Her previous roles include General Manager of The Observer and Executive Chairman at Verso, a trade and academic publisher.

Elaine Hewitt, Chief Executive Officer, UPP

Elaine was appointed Chief Executive Officer of UPP in 2020, to lead and deliver on UPP’s strategic commitments to operational excellence, long-term partnerships and generating value for reinvestment in the future growth of the Business.

She has significant experience and expertise in delivering facilities and property services, gained most recently during her role as Chief Executive Officer for NHS Property Services Ltd where she was responsible for managing and servicing a £3bn asset portfolio, some 4,000 properties, 5,000 employees and an annual income of more than £700m.

Prior to this, Elaine held the position of Group Property Director at BT Group PLC where shemanaged the largest corporate portfolio in the UK, delivering services to 7,000 properties globally. As well as having considerable private sector experience, Elaine has also held public sector roles, notably Crown Representative in the Cabinet Office for Property and Facilities Management across Government.

Elaine is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)

Nick Hillman has been the Director of HEPI since January 2014. Previously he worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, the then Minister for Universities and Science, as Chief of Staff from 2007 until the end of 2013 and also as Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

His recent writings include an article on the fifty-year history of student loans for Contemporary British History and a paper comparing access to selective secondary schools and selective universities for the Higher Education Review.

Alistair Jarvis CBE, Chief Executive, Universities UK (UUK)

Alistair Jarvis was appointed Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK) in 2017. Before taking up his current role, he was Deputy Chief Executive, and prior to that Director of External Relations at UUK. Before joining UUK in 2013 he was a Director at the University of Birmingham. Alistair is currently a member of the joint ministerial taskforce on research and knowledge exchange sustainability and a member of the Government’s high-level stakeholder working group on EU exit, universities and research. He has previously held the voluntary role as a Commissioner of the UPP Civic University Commission.

Mark Leach, Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief, Wonkhe

Mark Leach is the founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of Wonkhe. Before setting up Wonkhe, Mark worked in policy and public affairs roles in and around higher education, working at the National Union of Students, HEFCE, University Alliance, GuildHE as well as in politics as a special adviser to the former Shadow Minister for Universities and Science. As CEO of Wonkhe, Mark is responsible for running and developing the business and as Editor in Chief, overseeing Wonkhe’s editorial platforms that span influential email briefings, and The Wonkhe Show podcast which he also hosts.

John O'Leary, Journalist & Education Consultant

John O’Leary is a journalist and education consultant who works for a variety of newspapers and magazines, universities and national organisations. He edits The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. Previously he was Editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement from 2002 to 2007, and Education Editor of The Times from 1991 to 2002.

John is a member of the Higher Education Commission and has been writing about higher education for more than 30 years. In 2011 he won the Ted Wragg Award for Sustained Contribution to Education Journalism.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton

Professor Mark E. Smith became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton in October 2019. Mark was previously Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick.Mark holds a number of external appointments including membership of Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Board; Senior Independent Member of UKRI EPSRC’s Council; and board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, chairing their Research Wales Committee. He also chairs the Financial Sustainability Strategy Group for Higher Education and the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and has recently been appointed as a Council member of the All-Party Parliamentary University Group.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government’s International Education Champion, and Former Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter

Professor Sir Steve joined the University of Exeter as Vice-Chancellor in 2002. He was previously Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Professor of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, as well as Head of the Department of International Politics and Director of the Centre for Public Choice Studies at the University of East Anglia.

He has written or edited 17 books, published well over 100 academic papers and is currently Chair of the UCAS Board and a Board Member of the Russell Group.

Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham

Professor Shearer West was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Nottingham in 2017. Previous roles also include Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, Head of the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford, and Director of Research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council where she also chaired the Research Directors Group for Research Councils UK.

Shearer is a Professor of Art History and has authored and edited many articles and nine books including Portraiture, The visual arts in Germany 1897-1940: Utopia and Despair, and Fin De Siecle: Art and society in an age of uncertainty.