Speaker Biographies

Nicola OwenDeputy Chief Executive (Operations), Lancaster University and AHUA Chair

Nicola Owen is the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University. Together with the Director of Finance, she leads the Professional Services at Lancaster. As Deputy Chief Executive (Operations), she is the Head of Administration and has responsibility for Strategic Planning & Governance, Recruitment, Admissions & International Development, Facilities, Human Resources and OED, Information Systems Services, Communications and Marketing, Alumni and Development, Research and Enterprise Services and Student Based Services.

Nicola has been elected to the position of Chair of the Association of Heads of University Administration, a position she will take up as of 1 April 2020 for a period of three years.

Prior to moving to Lancaster University, Nicola was Deputy Registrar at the University of Warwick.

Judy McGannon, Director, Planning and Resources, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University

Judy has held the position of Director Planning and Resources at RMIT University since 2013. RMIT is a multi-sector university of technology, design and enterprise with more than 97,000 students and over 11,000 staff globally.

The College of Design and Social Context incorporates a blend of disciplines including art, communication, design, education, humanities, property, construction and social sciences. It is a large organisation with more than 22,000 students and over 1,000 staff across three campuses in Melbourne, Victoria and two campuses in Vietnam.  Our activities reach across global partnerships in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Europe.

As Director Planning and Resources, Judy is responsible for planning and student profile development spanning eight schools: art; architecture and urban design; education; design; fashion and textiles; global, urban and social studies; media and communication and property construction and project management.

She has oversight of resource management; professional services; OHS and risk management;  strategic planning and business development.  Her position ensures integration and alignment of IT, HR, Marketing, Communications, Property and Financial Services in order to support the academic priorities of the College of Design and Social Context.

Judy has a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics), a Graduate Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Arts.

Dr. Stephan vanGalen, Secretary-General, Universityof Groningen

Stephan was appointed to the role of Secretary-General in September 2015. He is secretary to the Executive Board (President, Rector Magnificus, and Vice President), the College of Deans, and the Supervisory Board.

In his role as Director he is responsible for the departments of: Strategy for Education, Research and Funding, Finance & Control, Legal Affairs, Communications, Human Resources, Information Services, Real Estate, Alumni & Fundraising, Public Engagement, Student Support & Career Services. He is responsible for 550 FTE and a budget of 40M Euro. The University has 6,000 FTE staff, 31,000 students and a budget of 800M Euro.

Stephan started his career in 2000 as a senior policy officer at the Association of Universities in The Netherlands (VSNU). In 2003 he became General Secretary of the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), where he was director for strategy and administration.

Stephan read Imperial History at King’s College London and continued his studies at Leiden University and the School of Oriental and African Studies. The title of his Leiden PhD thesis was ‘Arakan and Bengal. The rise and decline of the Mrauk U kingdom (Burma) between 1500-1700’.

Nicola de Ionghe, Chair of Council, University of Gloucestershire

Chair of Council at the University of Gloucestershire, Nicola is a passionate advocate of the University’s role as a leader in Sustainability and a force for good in its community.

Nicola sits on the Board of Connexus Group, which provides affordable housing to communities in Herefordshire and Shropshire, and is Chair Designate for the Premier Miton Ethical Investment Fund Committee of Reference. Nicola also serves as a pro-bono Trustee of the Gloucestershire Counselling Service, a charity dedicated to improving mental health in the county.

Her previous experience is in defining and leading strategic change programmes across a number of sectors, in the UK and internationally, both in a corporate role and as a freelance Management Consultant.

Jim Dickinson, Associate Editor, Wonkhe

Jim takes a particular interest in students, governance and higher education regulation and leads on Wonkhe’s work with students’ unions.

Jim is a former long standing director at the National Union of Students, where he led on students’ union development, campaigns and political strategy, student engagement and governance.

He was also CEO at the students’ union at UEA in Norwich, acting as the lead staff member on behalf of the elected student officers of the union providing strategic management for the union’s charitable and commercial vehicles and policy support for the officers.

Jim has served as a Governor in both further and higher education and the voluntary sector, and is a regular contributor to AdvanceHE’s leadership skills for governance programme. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and an obsessive fan of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Rupert Taylor, Director, Pro4Solutions

Rupert has over 25 years experience of delivering change across a range of complex business environments of all shapes and sizes including the rollout of 4 separate competitive telco businesses across Europe, launching cruise ships and delivering change across government organisations. More specifically Rupert works directly with leadership teams supporting them to be more effective individually and collectively at leading complex transformation.

In recent years he has been, and still is, working directly with university leadership teams and has specific insights into the challenges of enabling effective change in environments where prioritising the change agenda is challenged by conflicting motivations including academic excellence, faculty priorities and university level business performance drivers.

Rupert has co-founded two businesses; a transformation delivery consultancy www.pro4solutions.com and a transformation portfolio software business www.kivue.co.uk.

Rachel Holmes, AHUA Associate (Chair, Session 1)

Rachel is a qualified Executive Coach and Facilitator with 25 years’ experience, specialising in personal and team effectiveness. She particularly enjoys working with clients in the H.E. sector, from both the academic and professional service communities and has got to know many AHUA members in her work with the organisation over the last 14 years.

Rachel is a member of the AHUA Development Group, and part of the pool of AHUA registered coaches who provide support to both newly appointed and experienced Registrars, University Secretaries and COOs through coaching and facilitated Action Learning Sets. She is joint Programme Director of the AHUA’s “Aspiring Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Programme” (ARCP) and the Professional Service Directors’ Programmes (PSDP), and facilitated several ‘Experience Exchange’ sessions for members during the recent lockdown. Rachel is also a Key Associate for Advance HE and facilitates the leadership styles session on their Top Management Programme.

She is particularly interested in the challenging interfaces and tensions that exist between different parts of an organisation or institution, for example the academic body and professional services, R&D and commercial divisions. Her work – which is chiefly at Board / Senior Leadership Team level – focuses on how best to navigate a shifting political landscape, manage competing demands and influence colleagues across the organisation.

Dr Matthew Andrews, University Secretary and Registrar, University of Gloucestershire (Chair, Session 2)

Matthew has an extensive university career including roles as Academic Registrar at Oxford Brookes University, and Director of the Graduate School and Director of Undergraduate Recruitment at Durham University. His current role encompasses Student Services, Human Resources, Academic Registry, governance, and regional engagement.

Matthew has an interest in the history of universities as well as the contemporary sector. He is a member of the Editorial Board for three journals covering HE management in the UK, USA, and Australasia.  He is a long-standing supporter and Fellow of the AUA, he is a member of the AHUA executive, and sits on several national groups and fora including for Graduate Outcomes, Degree Standards, and TRAC.