I am currently standing for election to the Governing Council of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE). If you are a member of the SRHE, you have a vote and you should have had an e-mail on 14th February about how you can use it. There are 13 candidates standing for 11 positions on the Governing Council, which oversees all the activities of the SRHE and guides its long-term strategic direction. The election ends on Friday 23rd February. My candidate statement is below – if you do have a vote, please support me!
I have worked at the University of the West of England since 2000 and I am currently an associate professor in education policy. I previously studied and worked at the University of Kent and studied at the University of Warwick, so I have experience of different cultures within higher education.
My main research interests are around social justice in higher education, especially around widening access to disadvantaged or marginalised groups. I have a secondary research interest in intercultural and transnational education, with a focus on global citizenship.
My involvement with SRHE
I have had an association with SRHE since I presented my undergraduate dissertation at the 1994 annual conference. I continued to attend conferences and other events intermittently during my first career as a student services manager, joining SRHE once I moved to an academic career in 2007. I was grateful to receive a research award from SRHE in 2013 and, since then, I have taken a growing role. This has included joining the Research Funding Panel (in 2015) and the Research and Development Committee (in 2017). I am a referee for conference abstracts and I also recently contributed a co-edited book to the SRHE book series.
The experience I offer
I have previously served on the national executives of several organisations, including the National Association of Student Employment Staff (as founding chair) and the National Association of Student Money Advisers. I therefore have a strong grasp of the workings of a national representative body, with experience of tasks such as organising conferences, developing constitutions and securing funding. I am also an editor of two international journals (Higher Education Review and Teaching in Higher Education) which gives me a wide knowledge of sector.
More broadly, I worked for thirteen years as manager in various HE contexts and so have a range of useful skills in finance, planning, process design, project management and so on. I am enthused by developing new ideas and enjoy engaging with non-academic audiences. Finally, I am stickler for detail, which is usually held to be useful and frustrating in equal measure!
Why do I want to do this?
As I described earlier, I have been growing my involvement with SRHE for the last ten years, from member to helper to being on a committee. Joining the Governing Council feels like an exciting next step and I would be delighted to be chosen to represent you. I want to use my experience and knowledge to keep SRHE thriving, supporting both the professional staff team and the membership.
There are two particular perspectives that I want to contribute. The first is to ensure the voices of members in newer universities are heard – we make up a significant proportion of the membership, but are less well represented on the SRHE committees. Secondly, I would like to strengthen SRHE’s international profile and grow our international membership base.