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Advance HE Board

Advance HE’s Board was established on 31 March 2018 following the merger of three organisations, Equality Challenge Unit, Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Each of the previous Boards nominated one of their members to join the Advance HE Board, along with a further two members nominated by UUK and GuildHE. Following an open recruitment process, further Board members were appointed.

Find out more about our Board members below:

Professor Mark E. Smith (Chair)

Professor Mark E. Smith is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton.  As President and Vice-Chancellor he is the Chief Executive of the University and has overall responsibility for its operations.  He took up this role on 1 October 2019. Professor Smith was Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University from January 2012 until September 2019.  He was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick.

Throughout his academic career, he has published more than 380 papers about advanced magnetic resonance techniques, helping to understand a range of problems in the field of materials physics.  He is currently a member of the executive group overseeing the National High Field Solid-State NMR Facility at the University of Warwick.

In addition to his role as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, he holds a number of external appointments including 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 UKRI’s Financial Sustainability of Research Group and was the former Chair of the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) 2016-2022. He has also served on the Boards of Jisc, HESA and HESCU.

He was awarded a CBE for Services to Research and Higher Education in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Professor Mark E. Smith

Professor Sarah Greer

Professor Sarah Greer is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester. Prior to joining the University of Winchester, Professor Greer was the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Worcester where she played a key role in developing the strategic vision for the University and was responsible for leading and ensuring excellence in teaching and research.

Professor Greer is a qualified chartered accountant and a barrister, completing pupillage with the Treasury Solicitor. She is a Professor of Law and a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Professor Greer is an accredited mediator in workplace disputes. She has held a series of public appointments including, most recently, as a General Commissioner for the Disabled Students’ Commission.

Professor Sarah Greer

Dr Sam Grogan

Following an early career in the creative industries, Sam has spent the last decade and a half in student-centric leadership positions within a range of higher UK education institutions. As Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Experience at the University of Salford, Sam holds Executive responsibility for quality and standards of the academic portfolio, Executive responsibility for the Learning and Teaching Network within the university, Executive responsibility for developing the learning philosophy underpinning the student journey and Executive oversight of the wider pastoral and supporting infrastructure which underpins the student journey and outcomes. These responsibilities focus upon enabling student success in the context of performance against student quality metrics to ensure value for money.

Sam has also led on the university’s academic response to Covid-19. He has ensured teaching and learning practices have adapted towards delivery of excellent student outcomes, and that institutional practices are reimagined to learn from the pandemic as we tilt towards positive and lasting change.

Alongside work at Salford, Sam continues to work in leadership and thought leadership nationally and internationally, building on a range of external engagements and board experiences.

Dr Sam Grogan

Annette Hay

Annette has recently been appointed as the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at De Montfort University in Leicester.  She completed her first Degree in Social Studies at the University of Warwick and later completed her Masters Degree in Leadership and Management at Coventry University.  She is also an alumni of Advance HE’s successful, Diversifying Leadership Programme.

De Montfort University is a leading pioneer for EDI initiatives and activities in Higher Education and have recently become the first institutional holders of the Silver Race Equality Chartermark and Annette aims to build on this success by continuing to embed EDI considerations and actions in all aspects of university life for the benefit of all its staff, students and the university as a whole.

Annette is an accomplished manager and leader and who has a demonstrable ability to build and maintain strategic and purposeful relationships and collaborations, on a local, national and global scale.  She is recognised for her strategic influence and input on policy, practice and external engagements.

Annette is able to reflect on over 30 years of leadership and activism around EDI, which she has maintained throughout her working career in Higher Education and has been a passionate advocate for the importance institutional leadership has in tackling racial inequalities and embedding anti-racist practices. 

She is a member of several other Boards and Committees including the esteemed American based ‘National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education’ (NADOHE), which is the leading voice for Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officers.  She is one of the founding members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group for the Association of Research Management and Administration (ARMA), the Vice-Chair of the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, a member of the Women in Higher Education Network (WHEN) and an alumni of the International focussed leadership Common Purpose programme.

Annette Hay

Professor Helen Langton

Professor Helen Langton is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Suffolk and a Professor in Children’s Cancer Nursing Education. Helen is a lifelong supporter of excellence in learning, teaching and research and passionate about the role of people to achieve this.

Helen has held a number of senior posts in universities in the UK and has a range of experience across health and social care, science, social science and education.

Helen has been a member of a number of national boards and bodies including with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Department of Health and the Quality Assurance Agency. Helen is Chair of Governors at an independent school and a trustee of East Anglia Children’s Hospice.

Internationally Helen has held board membership for the Academy of Health Care Improvement, and the De Souza Nursing Institute in Toronto, Canada and is an Editor of the International Journal of Child Health Care.

Professor Helen Langton

Janet Legrand KC (Hon)

Janet is the Senior Lay Member of Court at the University of Edinburgh, Chair of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and a member of the advisory panel of IntoUniversity. A lawyer by profession, Janet is the former Senior Partner, Board Chair and Global Co-Chair of DLA Piper, a global law firm with 90 offices worldwide, where she combined senior leadership roles with an international disputes practice, latterly representing Governments.

Janet has significant governance experience in higher education, in particular from her prior roles on the Audit Committee of the University of Cambridge, as Deputy Chair of City, University of London where she was also a Trustee of the Student’s Union, as Deputy Chair of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission and on the Board of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. She is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

On her appointment as Queen’s Counsel Honoris Causa in 2018, the Lord Chancellor described Janet as “… a pioneer in enhancing the role of women in the law, promoting social mobility, diversity and inclusion within her firm and the wider profession…”

Janet Legrand

Professor Quintin McKellar CBE

Professor McKellar has been the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Hertfordshire since 2011. He is chair of the Hatfield Renewal Project Board.  In 2015 he was elected as a Board member of Universities UK (UUK) and in April 2020 was appointed as UUK Vice-President (England and Northern Ireland). He was chair of the University Vocational Awards Council until 2019 and has been a member of the government’s Apprenticeship Stakeholder Board since 2016. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Pirbright institute between 2015 and 2019 and since 2018 he has been a Non-Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock.

Professor McKellar was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011 for services to science.  He was a distinguished researcher with interests in the pharmacology of anti-infective and anti-inflammatory drugs in domestic animals.

He graduated from Glasgow University Veterinary School in 1981 and went on to gain a PhD in Veterinary Parasitology in 1984.  In August 1997 Professor McKellar took up the post of Scientific Director of the Moredun Research Institute and Chief Executive of the Moredun Foundation.  In 2004, he was appointed Principal of The Royal Veterinary College of the University of London.

Professor Quintin McKellar

Professor Andrea Nolan

Professor Andrea Nolan is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, a role she has held since 2013.  Andrea graduated as a veterinary surgeon from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and, after a short time in veterinary practice, embarked on an academic career which led to her appointment as a Lecturer and then Professor in Veterinary Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow where she established herself as a research leader in the field of animal pain, its recognition and management.  Her senior leadership in Glasgow developed through roles as Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Vice-Principal for Learning, Teaching and Internationalisation, and Senior Vice-Principal.  She served as Convenor of Universities Scotland, the professional body representing Scotland’s 19 Higher Education institutions from 2016 to 2020, and currently chairs its International Committee.  She serves on a range of Boards and groups contributing to the development of Higher Education.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and was awarded an Honorary OBE in 2013 for services to Higher Education and Veterinary Science.

Professor Andrea Nolan

Saad Qureshi

Saad Qureshi is currently developing a new digital media start up while also being CEO of a new care provider launching to market in 2023. He has previously spent nearly 15 years in higher education most latterly as an Executive General Manager and European Dean for Navitas, a global education provider. He has vast experience in strategic leadership, change management and turnaround, and leading multi-campus and multi- disciplinary teams. He is also a “dual professional”, being a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and is passionate about pedagogical development and the student experience. He has designed educational strategies and infrastructure that have improved student outcomes and teacher experiences. His focus is on developing socially responsible graduates.

He is a Reviewer for several reputable research journals, and previously sat on the Board of Studies and the Professional Development Group of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) driving the growth and standards for the AUA’s CPD offer and the flagship PgCert programme. He was also part of the Universities UK TNE group that later released the new framework for TNE provision. 

Saad Qureshi

Professor David Sadler

David Sadler was appointed to UWA as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Education in October 2017. He was previously the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Education) at the University of Tasmania from early 2011 and led many initiatives around infrastructure for education, student experience, curriculum renewal and especially the educational attainment agenda, leading the Children’s University, Tasmania, which is now also operating in Western Australia.

David is a Principal Fellow (PFHEA). He is currently Chair of Universities Australia DVC A Executive and leads UA’s work on academic integrity; teaching recognition and stakeholder relationships with TEQSA.  David is also Chair of the Australian Awards (Program Awards) for University Teaching. David previously served on the Office of Learning and Teaching Strategic Advisory Board.

In the UK, David was Director (Networks) for the Higher Education Academy and before then Director of the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (CSAP) at the University of Birmingham.  David is a UK National Teaching Fellow (2005). David’s academic specialism is in crisis decision-making in international security and he worked for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a Senior Research Officer in Arms Control and Disarmament from 1988-1992, embracing many aspects of the end of the Cold War.

David is a life fellow of the RSA and a former Council member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Professor David Sadler

Chris Sayers

Chris Sayers was the Chair of the Committee of University Chairs between 2017-2020, and was Chair of Northumbria University until 2020.  He is now a board member of SRUC. Chris became Chair of CUC in April 2017, overseeing the introduction the new CUC remuneration code and working closely with HEFCE, DFE and the OFS in helping to shape the governance requirements of the new regulatory framework.

Since retiring from BT in 2012 where he ran a major IT services division for BT Global Services, he has increasingly spent his time working in areas where education can be used drive social mobility and increase opportunities for young, disadvantaged people. As such, apart from the leadership role that he occupies in HE, he is also on the board of a Social Enterprise, called Building Futures East, which works with young people in disadvantaged parts of Newcastle to help social change through skills training and, with his wife Tessa, he runs a charity that operates two children's homes and a school for very poor children in Southern India, with the aim of using education to break the poverty cycle.

Chris is also currently a non exec director of an IT services company, is the Chair of the Alnwick Playhouse Theatre, and a trustee of The Youth Charter. 

Chris Sayers

Paul Woodgates

Paul is an expert in strategy, operations, change and leadership in universities.

He was previously responsible for building and running the education consulting practice of PA Consulting internationally. He has worked with more than 30 universities in the UK as well as many others overseas. His experience was in delivering major programmes to define strategy, improve academic outcomes, deliver better services, and reduce cost. He has also worked extensively with government departments, regulators and funding bodies in the higher education sector in the UK and elsewhere.

Paul graduated from Durham University with a BA (Hons) in Economics and then qualified as a chartered accountant. He worked as a consultant, programme leader and change manager in a range of organisations particularly in the public sector.

He is a Governor of De Montfort University and works as an independent advisor and writer on change in universities.

Paul Woodgates

Parveen Yaqoob

Parveen is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading, with leadership across a broad portfolio of activity. She is responsible for implementing the research strategy, fostering a positive research culture and delivering on research-based key performance indicators, and she has played a significant role on national and international research funding panels, particularly in the area of nutrition and health.

She manages several strategic institutional partnerships and is the University’s senior lead for equality, diversity and inclusion. Parveen also has a sector-level presence on equality, diversity and inclusion, having held the role of inaugural Chair of the Athena Swan Governance Committee for three years, overseeing the transformation of the Athena Swan Charter. She was appointed OBE for services to higher education in 2022.

Professor Parveen Yaqoob