Strategic advisory group

We work with some of the greatest minds in Higher Education to help us serve students best


Professor Michael Arthur

University College London, Provost & President

Prior to becoming President and Provost of University College London in 2013, Professor Arthur was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. He is a hepatologist with research interests in liver cell biology and was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences in Southampton. Professor Arthur has a significant national and international profile. He was Chair of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (NHS) and a long-standing member of the Council of the Medical Research Council. He is currently Chair of the Russell Group EU Advisory Group and a Board Member of LERU (League of European Research Universities).


Gary Davies

London Metropolitan University, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Recruitment and Business Development

Gary joined London Metropolitan University in late 2018 with responsibility for recruitment, marketing, communications and collaborations. He has an MBA in Higher Education Management from the University of London and has worked in HE student recruitment for over 25 years at institutions across the capital, including London Guildhall University (a forerunner of London Met), Institute of Education UCL, London South Bank University and Roehampton University.


Mark Leach

Wonkhe, Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief

Mark worked in policy, politics and public affairs in and around UK higher education and founded Wonkhe in 2011 while working as a jobbing policy wonk in the sector. Mark began full-time work on Wonkhe in mid-2014, growing it into a thriving business based in Central London. As CEO, Mark is responsible for running and developing Wonkhe and as Editor in Chief oversees Wonkhe’s editorial platforms.

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Saskia Loer Hansen

Aston University, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Engagement

Having joined Aston University in 2017, Saskia is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) overseeing the University’s student support functions, business and civic engagement, international and marketing development, and alumni relations. Saskia previously worked as Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, managing the University’s internationalisation agenda, and has a global professional portfolio spanning universities from Australia to Scotland.

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Professor Stephanie Marshall

Queen Mary University of London, Vice Principal (Education)

Professor Marshall is the Vice-Principal (Education) at Queen Mary University of London, a prestigious academic author and international public speaker. She has twice chaired the Norwegian Centres for Excellenz Initiative and, while presiding as Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), established the HEA as a global leader in teaching excellence, transforming it into an internationally successful independent organisation.


Alex Proudfoot

Independent Higher Education, Chief Executive

Alex has led IHE since 2011, establishing it as the UK’s first professional community for private higher education and an influential voice in the national policy debate. As a recognised expert on international education, he serves on the Board of UKCISA and the UK Government’s coordinating committee for its new international education strategy. His professional history spans communications and IT, while academic interests take in music, comedy, language and philosophy.


Rachel Sandison

University of Glasgow, Vice Principal, External Relations

Rachel has responsibility for leading the University of Glasgow’s strategy for external engagement covering an integrated portfolio of Marketing; Student Recruitment; Admissions; International; Widening Access; and Development & Alumni Relations. Rachel is the University’s Universitas 21 network Senior Leader and the institutional lead for the University’s European network, The Guild, thereby supporting the activity of a global group of research-intensive universities. Rachel is a Chartered Marketer and is currently the Chair of the CASE Europe Marketing Institute whilst also contributing to several sector advisory boards both at home and overseas.


Professor Alan Speight

University of Aberdeen, Vice-Principal Student Recruitment

Professor Alan Speight was appointed Vice-Principal for Student Recruitment in November 2018 and is responsible for leading the development of the University’s Student Recruitment Strategy. Professor Speight’s previous appointments include his roles as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Hull, and as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Swansea University.  His experience includes membership of a number of external bodies including the UCAS Advisory Council, UUK International PVC Network, and as a Non-Executive Director and Board Member for the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

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Diana Beech

Chief Executive Officer at London Higher

Dr Diana Beech currently works as CEO of London Higher: the umbrella organisation representing 40 London universities and higher education colleges. She previously worked as Head of Government Affairs at the University of Warwick. Prior to this, she was Policy Adviser to three Universities Ministers under the Theresa May and Boris Johnson governments and was the first Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). Diana has published reports on the TEF, future demand for higher education, free speech and widening access. Diana holds a PhD in German Studies from the University of Cambridge and has been an early career academic in Canada, Germany and the UK.