Professor Mary Stuart CBE
Professor Mary Stuart is Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, SA and the Open University, UK where she obtained her Doctorate in Social Policy in 1998. Her research interests are focussed on social mobility and higher education, Life Histories and Civic Engagement and Leadership in 21st Century organisations.
Mary has a strong track record in all aspects of university leadership, having worked in senior roles in three different universities. Since joining Lincoln she has developed the University significantly, culminating, this year, in establishing a new Medical School. Mary has also successfully led the development of Science provision at Lincoln establishing several research institutes including the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology and the National Centre for Rural Health and Care, responding to several global challenges. She has grown Humanities and the Social Sciences expanding the University from 8,000 students when she joined to just over 15,000 students in 2019, enhancing research provision and driving improvements in research infrastructure and capability. She has driven local and regional engagement as a key theme to enhance the regional economy and to connect the global challenges with local need. She has recently worked with the Civic University Commission to develop national policy guidelines on Civic Universities. Mary is the founder of the 21st century Lab examining higher education’s response to changing society in our time.
Passionate about the student experience, Mary seeks to continually drive change and improvements in partnership with students, alumni and the academic community promoting the traditional concept of a community of scholars. Mary was named as the Guardian’s ‘Most Inspiring Leader in Higher Education’ at their HE awards in 2018. She was also awarded a CBE for her services to Higher Education in the same year.
Mary has always been involved in policy developments nationally and currently is a member of UUK’s Advisory panel on Admissions and the Value in Higher Education Advisory panel, a Trustee of the Universities Partnership Programme (UPP) Foundation and a Fellow of the Bridge Group. Mary is also a Commissioner on the National Civic University Commission. She is an active Blogger and podcaster for organisations such as WonkHE and leads the 21st Century Lab, exploring challenges and opportunities for Universities in the 21st Century.
Regional and Community Commitments
Mary is Chair of the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership (LCAP) and the Founding Director of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP). She is a member of the Greater Lincolnshire Leaders Board, Director of Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP), Director of Lincolnshire Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), Chair of the Members of Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) and member of the Lincoln University Technical College (UTC).
Rob Humphreys CBE
Rob Humphreys is a Council member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. He has been a leader and practitioner in adult education for many years and held the role of Director of The Open University in Wales from 2007 to 2017. Before joining the OU Rob was Director of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education in Wales, and prior to that taught adult education at Swansea University for 12 years. During his time at Swansea he worked on the award winning Community University of the Valleys Project for which he was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award, and was founder member and first chair of Swansea Festival of Learning.
Rob has played a key role in reforming the funding of higher education in Wales, having been appointed by the Welsh Government to the Independent Review chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond. The recommendations of the ‘Diamond Review’ have led to a significant increase in applications to study in HE on a part-time basis. He has twice served as specialist adviser to the Welsh Affairs Committee of the House of Commons in its inquiries into cross-border aspects of further and higher education. In 2011, he was appointed by the Welsh Government as Chair of a Review of Governance of Further Education (the ‘Humphreys Review’) and is currently a member of the Independent Commission of the College of the Future.
Rob has helped shaped devolution and the constitutional settlement in Wales. He was appointed by the Welsh Government to the cross-party All-Wales Convention in 2010, which recommended increased legislative powers for the National Assembly, and was a member of the Steering Committee of the ‘Yes’ campaign in the subsequent referendum. Later, he was appointed by the UK government to the Silk Commission on the constitution, which made far-reaching recommendations on the devolution settlement and led to the National Assembly gaining tax-varying powers.
Originally from Montgomeryshire Rob was awarded a trade union scholarship to attend Ruskin College Oxford as a mature student. He is an elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and in 2015 was awarded a CBE for his contribution to adult education and voluntary movements in Wales.
He is speaking in a personal capacity at this event.
Kirsty Williams (AM) Minister for Education, Welsh Government
Kirsty Williams has been Wales’ Education Minister since May 2016. She entered government following an agreement with the previous First Minister, leading a “national mission of education reform” at all levels.
The current First Minister and Education Minister affirmed their commitment to this progressive agreement in December 2018, updating it with additional education priorities and responsibilities, including further education, science, research and innovation.
Ms Williams leads the Government’s education programme, which includes reducing infant class sizes, delivering the most equitable and progressive student support system in Europe, and transforming the school curriculum.
She has been the Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire since 1999, and was leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats 2008 – 2016. She was the first female leader of a Welsh political party. She is married to a farmer and the couple have 3 daughters. They live on the family farm outside Brecon.
Professor Jane Robinson
Jane joined Newcastle University in 2019 as its first Dean of Engagement and Place, focussing on building partnerships to enhance the University’s contribution socially, economically and culturally. Previously, Jane was Durham University’s Chief Operating Officer with strategic oversight of operations and external engagement.
Before taking up her position at Durham, Jane was Chief Executive of Gateshead Council. Jane also played a leading role in the establishment of the North East Combined Authority and the Commission on Health and Social Care Integration.
Jane has also held leadership positions in the cultural sector, including Director of External Relations at Arts Council England, where she led major corporate initiatives that included Local Government liaison, creative industries development and overseeing capital programmes.
Jane holds an MBA and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature. She is also a Fellow of the RSA; Chair of Culture, Creativity and Education (an international charity which supports creative learning) and holds non-executive positions with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Durham Cathedral Council, and the Tyne Community Learning Trust. She is married with three sons.