arrow-down Arrow Left Arrow Right UPP-Foundation-Logo-AssetsUPP-Foundation-Logo-AssetsUPP-Foundation-Logo-AssetsUPP-Foundation-Logo-AssetsInstagram Facebook Instagram Instagram Linkedin Linkedin Instagram twitter twitter video-play

Our Commissioners

The Commissioners are eminent figures in the world of higher education, education more broadly, civil society, and business. The Commissioners’ role is advisory: providing expert input, attending public evidence sessions, and reviewing the research and findings of the report.

Baroness Bakewell, Journalist and President of Birkbeck, University of London

Baroness Joan Bakewell is a distinguished broadcaster, author, playwright and Labour peer, who came to prominence as one of the first women in television journalism in the 1960s, on BBC Two programme Late Night Line Up. She was appointed President of Birkbeck, University of London in 2013.

Joan was a presenter for a series of programmes including Reports Action, Heart of the Matter, Taboo and Permissive Night. She has also written columns in national newspapers The Guardian, The Independent and The Times, as well as an autobiography The Centre of the Bed, two novels All the Nice Girls and She’s Leaving Home, and a play entitled Keeping in Touch.

In 2011, Joan was awarded a life peerage and joined the Labour benches in the House of Lords. She has long been a champion of the vital benefits of education for the economy, consistently seeking to raise the profile of part-time study and pushing for Government support to help balance high quality university education with accessibility and social mobility in the United Kingdom.

Dinah Caine CBE, Creative Industries Council

Dinah Caine has recently been appointed as the incoming Chair of Goldsmiths (September 2018) She is a member of the Creative Industries Council andchairs their Skills and Education work.

Dinah chaired Camden Council’s STEAM Commission and is currently chairing its Implementation group. Dinah served as a Commissioner on Warwick Universities’ Commission inquiry into the Future of Cultural Value.

She was the founder and long serving CEO of Creative Skillset, served as its Chair from 2015 t0 2017, and remains a member of its Board. She is a member of the Skills Commission, an independent body which works alongside the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Skills & Employment..

Dinah is a member of BAFTA and a Fellow of the RSA and was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Television Society for her outstanding contribution to the Television Industry in 2002. She was awarded the OBE in 2002, and the CBE in 2013.

Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne

Professor Davis is a public policy researcher, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, and Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts. He held postgraduate appointments as a Harkness Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, at the Brookings Institution in Washington and the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.

Glyn served as Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and was Chair of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government. He has made significant contributions to higher education as Chairman of the global network of leading international universities Universitas 21, and as Chair of Australia’s Group of Eight and Universities Australia. He presented the 2010 Boyer Lectures The Republic of Learning: Higher education transforms Australia. Davis is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Director of the Grattan Institute, the Melbourne Theatre Company and Asialink.

Dame Rachel De Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration Trust

Dame Rachel de Souza is chief executive of the Inspiration Trust. The Norfolk-based charity was named in January 2018 as the top comprehensive schools group in the country for pupil progress to GCSE, with its schools recording the highest Progress 8 scores in both Norfolk and Suffolk. Its schools range from nursery to sixth form, and including the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form free school, the country’s first maths and science specialist sixth form.

Dame Rachel is the founder of Parents and Teachers for Excellence campaign group, and regularly advises on school improvement, the development of multi-academy trusts, and the setting up of free schools.

She was made a DBE in 2014 for services to education, including the rapid turnaround of schools in Luton and Norwich taking their Ofsted rankings from ‘special measures’ to ‘outstanding’ and dramatically increasing pupil outcomes. She is a member of the Education Honours Committee, and a trustee of the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

Amatey Doku, Vice-President Higher Education, National Union of Students

Amatey Doku is the current Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union of Students. In that role he is also on the Board of Trustees for NUS and was appointed as Deputy President by the NUS President, Shakira Martin.

Before taking up his position within NUS, Amatey had served for a year as the President of Cambridge University Students’ Union. In that role, he was a Trustee of the University of Cambridge, by virtue of his position, as well as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Students’ Union.

Amatey graduated in 2016 with a BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences, specialising in Sociology. He studied at Jesus College Cambridge and was heavily involved in student representation.

As Vice President for Higher Education, Amatey will be leading work on tackling institutional racism across the HE Sector, taking a lead on the NUS’s Brexit strategy and working closely to embed student representation alongside the implementation of the HE reforms.

David Frost CBE, Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, Governor and Chair of Educational Common Board, Coventry University

David Frost has lived and worked in the West Midlands since 1980. In 1986 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the Walsall Chamber of Commerce which grew to become one of the largest in the UK. This position was further consolidated when it merged with Chambers in Cannock; Lichfield; Tamworth and Burton to form the East Mercia Chamber of Commerce.

In 2000 he moved to head up the Chamber and Business Link in Coventry and Warwickshire. In 2003 he was appointed Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce. Based in Westminster his role was to represent the interests of 100,000 businesses. It was here that he built links with senior Government Ministers, Politicians, and Civil Servants. On announcing his retirement from this he was asked to head up the national network of Local Enterprise Partnerships, representing the 39 LEPS. He did this until March 2014.

David was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2011, is a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands and has an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University.


Professor John Goddard OBE, Deputy Chair of the Commission, Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor University of Newcastle and author of The Civic University

John Goddard OBE is Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University and Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor and President. He founded and led the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and was subsequently appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor with special responsibility for city and regional engagement. He led the OECD programme on universities and city and regional development. His recent publications include: a NESTA Provocation Re-Inventing the Civic University; The University and the City, and The Civic University: The Policy and Leadership Challenges. John now advises many universities, public authorities and international bodies on how to mobilise higher education for the public good.

John’s awards include an OBE; the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society; the Sir Peter Hall award for distinguished services to the Regional Studies Association; and the Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award . He has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004, an Honorary Fellow of University College London, and a Fellow of the Academia Europaea.

Smita Jamdar, Partner, Shakespeare Martineau

Smita Jamdar is Relationship Partner for the Shakespeare Martineau’s education clients and advises on strategic, regulatory, constitutional, governance and student matters. Identified as a leader in her field in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, clients describe her as “a calm and reassuring presence…going above and beyond simply providing a service: she is genuinely interested in and cares about the organisation”. Her approach is best summed up by Chambers & Partners: “She is very knowledgeable about the sector, very well informed about the challenges the sector faces, and insightful about how we could change and adapt.”

Smita is a member of the Higher Education Commission, a regular speaker at sector conferences and an enthusiastic contributor to sector debate through the firm’s education blog, Going Further & Higher ( and her twitter feed, @smitajamdar

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive, Universities UK

Alistair Jarvis was appointed Chief Executive of Universities UK on 7 August 2017. Before taking up his current role, he was Deputy Chief Executive, and prior to that Director of Communications and External Relations at Universities UK. Before joining UUK in 2013 Alistair was a Director at the University of Birmingham and has previously held communications, campaigning and political relations roles for national or​ganisations in both the public and private sectors.

Alistair has also previously held voluntary roles as Deputy Chair of the board of Wonkhe, a higher education policy media company; a member of the judging panel for the Guardian University Awards; and is a fellow of the RSA.

He was educated at the Universities of Kent, Leicester and the Institute of Education, University of London​.

Lord Kerslake, Chair of the Commission, Former Head of the Civil Service

Lord Kerslake is the Chair of Sheffield Hallam University, Chair of Peabody, Chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS), Chair of London Collective Investment Vehicle, and is President of the Local Government Association.

A former Head of the Civil Service, Bob led the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from November 2010, stepping down in February 2015. Prior to his DCLG role, he was the first Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency.

Before joining the Civil Service Bob received a knighthood for his services to local government, spending eight years serving the London Borough of Hounslow and then a further 11 years leading Sheffield Council. In early 2015, he was made a life peer, taking the title Baron Kerslake, of Endcliffe in the City of Sheffield.

Nick King, Former Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for DCLG

Nick King has spent almost ten years working in and around politics and boasts significant experience in both the public and private sector.

Nick read philosophy and history at Jesus College, Cambridge. He worked as an adviser to the Conservative Party in 2009 on culture, media and sport policy.

After a period in public affairs, Nick became Special Adviser to the Rt Hon Maria Miller at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and then for her successor the Rt Hon Sajid Javid. Nick was Sajid Javid’s Chief of Staff at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Nick left Government at Christmas 2017, having spent more than five years working in three different Departments. His scope of work included technology, media, telecoms, culture and the creative industries, innovation, HE and FE policy, trade, housing, planning, devolution and local growth amongst other topics. He is currently operating as a freelance strategic consultant.

Diane Lees CBE, Director-General, Imperial War Museums

Diane Lees is the Director-General of Imperial War Museums, the cultural lead for the Centenary of the First World War, and is a Trustee of 14-18NOW, the Centenary’s Cultural Programme. Diane is a Trustee of the IWM Development Trust, The Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust, and the Army Museums Ogilby Trust.

She serves as Vice President of the American Air Museum in Britain and is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network (WLMN). Diane also sits on the judging panels of the Museums + Heritage Awards and she is a member of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Experts’ Reference Group.

In 2016, Diane chaired a review of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)’s Museums, Galleries and Collections Fund. From April 2013 to March 2017, Diane chaired the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC). In April 2014, she was appointed to the University of Lincoln’s Board of Governors and in January 2015, to the University of Oxford Humanities External Advisory Board. In December 2014, Diane was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to museums, and in July 2015, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of Reading. In June 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Paul Marshall, Chair of UPP Foundation

Paul Marshall was appointed Group Business Development Director in 2014 for UPP. He is responsible for business development activities and delivering opportunities through the Group’s growth pipeline. He is Chair of the UPP Foundation.

Dr. Marshall has over 20 years’ experience working in the Higher Education sector. Prior to joining UPP, he was Chief Executive of the Association of Business Schools (ABS), where he worked with the Government to develop the Small Business Charter. Before the ABS Dr. Marshall was the Executive Director of the 1994 Group of Universities and spent 10 years working in the Vice-Chancellor’s office at the University of Sussex.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln

Professor Mary Stuart is Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and the Open University where she obtained her Doctorate in Social Policy in 1998. Her research interests are focussed on life histories, social mobility, higher education students and community development. Since joining Lincoln she has established and grown the first new Engineering School to be created in the UK for more than 20 years (in collaboration with Siemens plc).

Mary is Vice Chair of the Equality Challenge Unit and Trustee of the UPP Foundation. She is a Fellow of the Bridge Group. Mary is Chair of the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership (LCAP) and the Founding Director of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP), a member of the Greater Lincolnshire Leaders Board, Director of Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP), Director of Lincolnshire Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) and Chair of the Members of Lincolnshire Educational Trust.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor, University of West of England and Chair of West of England LEP

Professor Steve West took up the post of Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the West of England Bristol in 2008 at the age of 46. Steve trained as a Podiatrist and Podiatric Surgeon in London and developed his research interests in Lower Limb Biomechanics and the Diabetic Foot at King’s College London. He worked as a clinician and clinical tutor in the NHS, University Sector and undertook research and consultancy in industry and the retail healthcare sectors.

He holds a number of national and international advisory appointments in Higher Education and in his discipline, healthcare policy and practice. He is Non-Executive Director for the Office for Students, Non-Executive Director for HEFCE, Board Member for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Chair of the UUK Mental Health in Higher Education Working Group. He is also a member of both the Education and the Diversity Honours Committees. He is Chair of the West of England LEP and Vice-Chair of the CBI South West.

Steve is Chair of the Learning for and in Work Challenge Group and Board Member of the Learning City Partnership Board. He is Chair of the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN) and Non-Executive Designate on United Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust Board.

Professor William Whyte, Professor of Social and Architectural History, University of Oxford and author of Redbrick, the History of Britain’s Civic Universities

William Whyte is professor of social and architectural history and acting president of St John’s College, Oxford. A historian of modern Britain, his books include Redbrick: a social and architectural history of Britain’s civic universities (OUP, 2015), the first full-scale study of the civic universities in more than 50 years.

He is currently working on his fourth book, The University: a material history, for Harvard University Press. He has edited or co-edited eight other books and is co-series editor of the six-volume Bloomsbury Cultural History of Objects.

William leads a joint AHRC/Innovate UK/National Trust Knowledge Transfer Project, providing a Trusted Source for visitors to National Trust properties. He is also working on a Wellcome Trust/John Fell funded project on the history of dyslexia.

William serves as chairman of the Oxford Historical Society, sits on the editorial board of the Oxford Review of Education, and is a member of the International Commission for the History of Universities.

Contact UPP Foundation

The UPP Foundation is a grant-making body and a public policy platform, working to encourage collaboration and innovation within the higher education sector.

If you would like to contribute to this discourse or find out more about the UPP Foundation please get in touch.

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up for updates from the UPP Foundation including a monthly newsletter and the latest news, grants, research and events.

40 Gracechurch Street,
London EC3V 0BT
Get directions ›

+44 (0)20 7398 7200