'The first task will be consolidating and making viable the organisation'

March 9, 2007

Alice Hynes will face tough times ahead as leader of the revamped GuildHE, but she relishes the challenge.

Taking the reins of a completely revamped organisation whose membership is in a state of flux is not for the fainthearted. But Alice Hynes has never shirked a challenge. In April, she will become executive secretary of GuildHE, which represents 29 higher education colleges.

"I have decided that, looking at my career so far, I have an interest in taking on new challenges," she said. For the past two years, Ms Hynes has been changing how Liverpool University manages key initiatives such as full economic costing for research. Previously, she served as vice-principal of Dartington College of Arts for six years and, before that, assistant director of the Quality Assurance Agency for four years.

GuildHE emerged in September last year from a relaunch of the Standing Conference of Principals, when its leaders admitted that its membership was "evolving" as seven of the 11 colleges that had gained university status left to join Universities UK.

Ms Hynes considered her first key task to be "consolidating and making viable the relaunched organisation".

Many GuildHE members were small specialist institutions whose clear purpose gave them an advantage in the increasingly customer-focused market, Ms Hynes said.

Extending the group's membership to "mixed economy" further education colleges seeking foundation degree-awarding powers was an option GuildHE should explore, she added. "But it is important to go steadily, so that we can feel confident that those within our framework maintain standards and a reputation that we can be proud of."

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