Alison Johns has been appointed chief executive-designate for a new higher education agency to be formed in 2018 from the merger of the UK’s Equality Challenge Unit, Higher Education Academy and Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
The appointment of Ms Johns, currently chief executive of the LFHE, follows the publication of the Bell Review of higher education sector agencies by Universities UK and GuildHE in January 2017, which said that the three agencies should be merged.
Prior to joining the LFHE, Ms Johns spent 11 years at the Higher Education Funding Council for England where she rose to the post of head of leadership, governance and management.
The Bell Review – chaired by University of Reading vice-chancellor Sir David Bell – had said that the new merged body “will support institutions to meet strategic challenges as they relate to equality and diversity, learning and teaching, and leadership and governance”, and “should seek to realise the full potential of bringing these functions together in one single organisation”.
Ms Johns will lead work with the “shadow board” of the new sector agency “on building the strategy and business model of the new agency”, according to a statement released by UUK.
She said that she wanted to “listen and learn” to the three agencies and the sector “on how we can take advantage of the opportunities ahead, and how we can build on our strengths to create a compelling vision and business model for the future”.
Ms Johns added: “I’m passionate about all aspects of the three agencies’ current work. I have had long-standing engagement with, and commitment to, equality and diversity, learning and teaching and leadership and governance during my career in higher education.
“I look forward to building on the successful programmes and services that each agency offers, and helping the sector rise to the challenges ahead and maintain its world-class reputation for higher education.”