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Advance HE Membership Team

Our Membership Team work to ensure our members' needs are met, liaising directly with institution contacts to provide help, guidance and information on all aspects of Advance HE membership and services.

We are proud to have a distinctive role helping higher education be the best it can be worldwide, founded on a deep-rooted partnership with the sector. We share the values of the sector and understand its unique culture and how this varies within local contexts. Through our convening role and our track record supporting leadership and effective governance, tackling inequalities and in enhancing teaching and learning, our membership continues to grow as does our reach and impact.

To help us form and deliver our support our Membership Team are vital. Below you will find a profile and direct contact for each member of the team. 

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Nick Skeet

Director of Membership

Nick has over 25 years of rich experience in understanding institutional needs and leading the development of solutions that drive enhancement in practice, systems, culture change and high-performing teams. Nick leads the work supporting member institutions in addressing their contemporary challenges relating to teaching practice, student experience, leadership in all its forms and creating inclusive places to work and study.

Prior to the formation of Advance HE, Nick was with the HEA following a varied career in the civil service and sector skills arena as a Director leading large-scale professional development programmes and work delivering organisation or system-wide HR, OD and change management projects. Currently, Nick is leading work to enhance the relevance, value, accessibility and demonstrable impact of Advance HE member benefit activity delivered throughout the year.

Contact Nick
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Kate Flower

Assistant Director of Membership (Engagement and Impact)

Kate joined Advance HE as Assistant Director of Membership (Engagement and Impact) in 2023 where she oversees the management of university relationships in England. Kate also develops and implements an approach to how we engage with member institutions and measures the impact of the charity's products and services on individuals, institutions and the sector in order to articulate the value of working with Advance HE.

Prior to joining Advance HE, Kate has over 20 years of experience in the education sector in New Zealand. From working in the vocational sector in Industry Training Organisations, to setting up and running a Private Training Establishment, and leading marketing, communications and domestic student recruitments at one of the largest Polytechnics. Most recently, Kate worked as the Executive Director of Student Engagement and Experience for Lincoln University in Christchurch, which involved leading domestic and international student recruitment, marketing, strategic communications, Student Experience, Alumni and Development, Food and Beverage and Catering, Accommodation Services and Sports and Recreation Centre. 

Contact Kate
Kate Flower
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Ian Hall

Head of Membership - International 

Ian joined Advance HE (as the HEA) in April 2016 and is Head of International Membership. Ian supports higher education providers across the world to engage with Advance HE’s membership, with particular experience in learning and teaching enhancement, Fellowship and accreditation.

Ian also works with national governments, ministries and other agencies across the world to support developmental projects across a range of Advance HE’s activity. Ian has a keen interest in digital learning, having previously worked for an e-Learning provider and supported a range of online and mobile learning projects. Before joining Advance HE, Ian worked for a higher education institution in a professional services role. Ian is an Advance HE Associate Fellow.

Contact Ian
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Kristian Rumble

Head of Membership - Global

As Head of Membership (Global), Kristian’s role involves managing and supporting members in the UK and globally. Kristian has extensive experience of working internationally, having previously worked for Advance HE as International Partnerships Manager, working with governments, organisations, institutions and individuals from around the world, helping them to enhance performance and achieve their goals. With a deep knowledge and understanding of global HE, Kristian has worked collaboratively to expand Advance HE’s reach across the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and parts of Asia.

Prior to joining Advance HE in 2019, Kristian spent 10 years at a UK university as the Assistant Director of Careers & Enterprise where he oversaw the expansion of the careers service and was instrumental in both the development and implementation of the institution’s employability strategy. This led to a renewed focus on teaching and learning and the embedding of employability and enterprise into the curriculum (co-curricular and extra-curricular activities). Kristian also played a leading role in the development of the institution’s graduate attributes framework whilst simultaneously supporting the rapid expansion the institution's local, regional and global employer partnerships.

Contact Kristian
Kristian Rumble
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Joni Alexander

Head of Membership (Wales) & Interim Assistant Director of Membership (National Development and Tertiary)

As Head of Membership (Wales) & Interim Assistant Director of Membership (National Development and Tertiary), Joni supports universities and colleges to shape the future of tertiary education. Most recently, Joni led NUS Wales and NUS-USI (Northern Ireland) as director. Originally from Oklahoma, she worked as a journalist in the USA and then the UK after studying at Cardiff University (MA International Journalism, 2009).  

Contact Joni
Joni Alexander
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Fiona Whittenbury

Head of Partnerships (Australasia)

Fiona has over twenty-five years of global experience in cross sector partnerships. Most recently Fiona held a management role at James Cook University where she led a diverse portfolio of partnership programs in the Graduate Research School. Previously, Fiona’s diverse professional journey includes senior management roles at the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation, where she led on partnerships and engagement.  Prior to this, she spent 10 years in the United Kingdom, notably 5 years in the International Division at The Law Society of England and Wales, engaged in trade negotiations and spearheading successful initiatives fostering legal understanding and collaboration for the UK legal profession in Asia-Pacific markets.

With a strong track record of steering impactful initiatives and fostering meaningful partnerships across different sectors, Fiona holds a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and Trade from Monash University and is a nationally accredited mediator in Australia. She is based in Adelaide, South Australia.

Contact Fiona
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Kate Weedy

Head of Partnerships (Ireland)

Kate joined Advance HE in March 2024 as Head of Partnerships supporting member institutions in Ireland. Previously, Kate was the Senior Executive Officer for the Access Policy section of the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The HEA is the statutory policy-advisory body and funding regulator for higher education in Ireland and Kate supported the development and implementation of equity of access strategies at national level. Kate was a key member of the team that delivered the National Access Plan: A Strategic Action Plan for Access, Participation and Success in Higher Education 2022-2028.

Prior to this, Kate spent 5 years in University College Dublin and worked in a number of programme management and student support roles, including Teaching and Learning and assisting with the management of projects aligned to the University’s Education Strategy. Kate has particular interests in widening participation, inclusion, and accessibility. Kate holds a BA (Hons) in History, Politics and International Relations and a Masters in Common Law.

Contact Kate
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Lucy Madahar

Head of Membership - England

Lucy is a Head of Membership at Advance HE, managing business and member relationships with universities throughout England, in order to develop insight into universities’ needs and challenges and to propose solutions which enable HE members deliver their strategies and priorities.

Lucy has worked in a number of university-business roles for over 29 years, delivering nationally and internationally acclaimed sector-leading and award winning services in relation to careers and employability, mentoring and coaching services, inclusion and wellbeing, curriculum development, web-based/virtual learning environments, stakeholder engagement, personal and professional development and business development. Lucy has extensive experience of delivering complex educational provision to students and staff within a continually evolving UK higher education sector.

Lucy has worked with a number of UK universities, each with their own culture and set of core values and has always been dedicated to improving social mobility, inclusivity, retention and achievement and empowering students to make informed choices regarding their on-going personal and professional development. Lucy holds degrees in psychology, human resource development and business administration and is a “Managing Successful Programmes” practitioner, as well as a qualified NLP Business Practitioner.

Contact Lucy
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Melvyn Smith

Head of Membership - England

Melvyn is a Head of Membership at Advance HE, supporting university members in England and our research institute members across the UK. He has worked as a teacher, senior manager and partnership manager in higher and further education for more than 35 years. His experience ranges from managing adult literacy provision, education opportunities for mental health service users and student services directorates to delivering pre-deployment training contracts for the British Army.

For the last 15 years Melvyn has worked in partnership development roles with the QAA, the Higher Education Academy and the British Computer Society. He has worked as a teacher in The Sudan and set up training centres in Libya, Iraq and Sri Lanka. The first in his family to attend university Melvyn has a degree in African Studies and a Masters in Education. He is committed to social mobility and social inclusion.

Contact Melvyn
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Laura Coutts

Head of Membership - Scotland and Northern Ireland

Laura joined Advance HE in March 2022 as Head of Membership supporting member colleges and Universities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In her previous role as Senior Director of University Partnerships with CEG Digital, she specialised in the implementation, launch and delivery of online programmes with a host of UK partner universities.

Prior to this, Laura spent more than a decade at the University of Stirling in a number of Registry roles including Student Records and Immigration and has particular interests in online learning, inclusivity, retention and the continuous improvement of the student experience.  Laura holds a BA (Hons) in History and an MPhil in Historical Research.

Contact Laura
Laura Coutts Advance HE Membership Team
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Karen Taylor

Head of Membership (Tertiary) - Affiliate Members

Karen is the Head of Membership for Advance HE's College Based HE, Small and Specialists and Independent providers in England and Wales, supporting across all aspects of Advance HE membership helping increase engagement and value.

Karen joined Advance HE in November 2018 as an Executive within the Commercial Support / Business Development Team. Having spent 3 years working with the Membership Team to support our members with bespoke programmes and consultancy, as well as leading on a series of consultative studies across our governance and Chief Operating Officer communities to improve Advance HE’s offer. Since becoming the Head of Membership, Karen has prioritised increasing member engagement through driving forward initiatives such as the College Based HE Network and Pilot for Race Equality Charter for Small, Specialist and Independant Providers. 

Contact Karen
Karen Taylor
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Peace Igi-Ehon

Membership Executive 

Peace is the Membership Executive at Advance HE, a role through which she supports College-based and small and specialist Higher Education institutions in England and Wales. Working closely alongside Karen Taylor, the Head of Membership (Tertiary), Peace takes a proactive approach to providing valuable assistance and resources to affiliate members. With prior experience in the student movement sphere, Peace brings a wealth of knowledge in academic representation and fostering student engagement.

At Advance HE, Peace's enthusiasm lies in enhancing the benefits offered to affiliate members. Peace plays a pivotal role in refining member benefits, ensuring that each affiliate member derives meaningful value from their affiliation with the organisation.

Contact Peace
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Current members 

A full list of current Advance HE member institutions can be found via the link below.

Current members