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HEi-think: UUK annual conference -- thoughts from HE leaders

University UK's annual conference, held at Sheffield Hallam University, kicked off the academic year with speeches and debates on a wide range of burning issues, including Brexit, fees and funding, overseas students, public perceptions of HE, value for money, freedom of speech, and student mental health. HEi-know asked Higher Education Policy Institute Director Nick Hillman, Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes, and Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Smith, to give their personal perspectives on the event and its themes.

Office for Students names members of student panel

The Office for Students has announced the members of its student panel, which will have a key role in advising the Board and senior team of the OfS.

The 13-member panel includes current undergraduate and postgraduate students, part-time and international students, prospective students and recent graduates. It will consider how best to ensure the OfS can ensure its work properly engages with, and is relevant to, students from all backgrounds. They will act as a critical friend, providing advice to the OfS Board on the establishment and functions of the OfS. The panel will be asked to consider the OfS’ relationships with students in the short, medium and long term, and will produce research on key issues affecting students.

The members of the panel are:

  • Alice Richardson, 6th Form student from the North West of England
  • Benjamin Hunt, President of King’s College London Students’ Union 2016–17
  • Chad Allen, a PHD student at the University of Cambridge, and former President of the Cambridge University Graduate Union
  • Lizzie Pace, a part-time mature student at Birkbeck, University of London, and a former soldier in the British Army
  • Luke Renwick, President of Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union
  • Megan Dunn, Senior Policy Adviser at the Equality Challenge Unit and President of the National Union of Students in 2015–16
  • Ruth Carlson, Civil Engineering student at the University of Surrey. Ruth has also joined the Board of the Office for Students on an interim basis
  • Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students
  • Shraddha Chaudhary, international student, and President, Director and Chair of the Trustee Board at University of Exeter Students’ Guild
  • Sinead Brown, GCSE student from London
  • Stuart Cannell, a part-time postgraduate student at Manchester Metropolitan University and a Student Reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency
  • Xenia Levantis, President of Norwich University of the Arts Students’ Union
  • Zahra Choudhry, Vice President of Education at University of West London Students’ Union

Commenting on the announcement, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students, said:

“I am delighted to congratulate the panel on their appointments, and I am very much looking forward to working with them. We have appointed a diverse range of highly skilled and motivated people who are ideally placed to advise the OfS. The panel has a crucial role to play as we work to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Effective student engagement is a top priority for the OfS, and the panel’s advice and expertise will help us to shape our policy and approach.”

Zahra Choudhry, Vice President of Education at University of West London Students’ Union, said:

“I am delighted to be joining the student panel for the OfS. It means that I can play my part in developing a more equal, fair and accessible higher education system for all students, so that they can thrive during their time at university and leave with a degree which they can value.”

The panel will meet for the first time later this month, where they will start work to agree on their priorities and programme of work.

NUS President Shakira Martin
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