The Governing Council consists of at least 15 and no more than 24 members, of whom a majority shall be independent and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
In recognition of the historical contribution of the Church of England to the University, at least one Independent Governor will be appointed by the Council following consideration of a recommendation for appointment by the Lord Bishop of Derby.
The Vice-Chancellor, for as long as s/he holds office as the Vice-Chancellor
Two members of academic staff put forward by the Academic Board
Two further staff, one of whom is a non-academic member of staff
Two student Governors put forward by the Students’ Union
Register of Interests and Related Parties
The Governance Office compiles and maintains a register of interests and related parties for Directors and members of the Governing Council. This is reviewed on a quarterly basis and the up to date register is available here: Register of Interests.
Dr Sally Akehurst BA (Hons) MSc PhD FHEA
Dr Sally Akehurst is an Academic Board Representative on Governing Council and is the Head of School of Human Sciences in the College of Life and Natural Sciences. Sally joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in 2010; was appointed Head of Discipline for Sport in 2012, and led the area through significant growth over a period of four years. In 2016, Sally became the Head of Department for Life Sciences and College Lead for Learning and Teaching and Student Experience. As Head of School of Human Sciences, Sally now leads a vibrant academic community spanning psychology, biomedical and forensic science, and sport, outdoor and exercise science, and drives the school to be one that is highly committed to delivering excellence in all areas of academic, research, and enterprise activity.
Previously, Sally studied Leisure and Sport Studies as an undergraduate at the University of Brighton, before specialising in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Masters and Doctorate levels at the University of Wales, Bangor (2000-2015). As a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Aberystwyth University (2005-2010), Sally became an Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist practising applied sport psychology with athletes and coaches. As a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2006, Sally has dedicated her career to developing and enhancing the academic provision and experience of students in higher education within sport science, and more recently across the breadth of sciences, constantly striving for brilliance within her school.
Sue Bennett BA FCIPD
Sue was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in February 2020. She had been co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Student Affairs Committee in April 2019. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in higher education, most recently as Director of Student Careers and Skills at the University of Warwick. Prior to that Sue was Director of the Learning and Development Centre at that university.
Between 2015 and 2018 Sue also held the roles of Vice President, Trustee and Board Member of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), a membership organisation for higher education students’ career development and graduate employment professionals.
Sue left the University of Warwick in 2018 to pursue a portfolio career.
Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He has held a number of Senior Leadership roles in the IT industry, and was most recently the Chief Information Officer at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Prior to joining JLR, Simon worked at Rolls-Royce plc for six years, and has strong connections to the local area. His experience of the IT sector includes digital transformation and cyber security.
Simon is also on the Board of Tech Partnership Degrees, an employer-led and not for profit organisation that unites employers and universities to improve the flow of talent into the digital workforce.
Neil Calvert BSc (Hons) NPQH, Vice-Chair of Governing Council & Chair of Remuneration Committee
Neil Calvert has been an independent member of Governing Council since 2011. He chairs the Remuneration and Student Affairs Committees, and became the Vice-Chair of Governing Council in 2015. Neil is Chief Executive of The Northworthy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust which operates secondary schools in Derby and Derbyshire and also works extensively in initial teacher training with universities in the UK and overseas. He was Headteacher at The Long Eaton School from 2008 to 2016, an 11-18 institution of 1,200 students which was one of the first in Derbyshire to convert to Academy status, and took on the additional role of Executive Headteacher at King Edward VI School in Lichfield in 2014 to support the school through a change in leadership and a successful Ofsted inspection.
Neil is an employer representative on the Derbyshire LGPS Pension Board. He has held non-executive posts in several national not-for-profit organisations, and is currently a Trustee of the DHL UK Foundation which supports education and employability programmes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2013 he gave evidence in Parliament to a Commons Education Select Committee inquiry into the role of governing bodies in schools.
Andrew Chatten MBA
Andrew was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and an advisor to the Trust Board. He has been in post for four years previously having held the same position at the University Hospitals of Leicester. Andrew is a Chartered Builder, a Member of the British Institute of Facilities Management and has an MBA from Sheffield Hallam University.
In a career spanning 27 years, Andrew has worked in a number of NHS Trusts delivering estates and facilities services but also for John Laing’s as Chief Officer of Southern Derbyshire Local Investment Finance Trust and with Compass Group UK and Ireland as an Operations Director. He has a depth of experience in delivering support services and longer term estate master planning.
Olivia Dean BA Dip Ed Management, Chair of Further Education Governance Committee
Olivia Dean is an Independent Member of Governing Council and Chair of the Further Education Governance Committee. Olivia was Strategic Director at the Joseph Wright Centre and Clerk to the Corporation at Derby College from 2004 until her retirement in 2006. During 2006-7 she served as Acting Assistant Dean and Head of Further Education at the University of Derby Buxton.
Olivia gained a Teacher's Certificate at Homerton College of Education, Cambridge before taking a BA degree with the Open University and a Diploma in Education Management at Derbyshire College of Higher Education. She taught at local schools and held senior management positions in two secondary comprehensives between 1968 and 1989 before taking a series of Assistant Principal posts at Derby Tertiary College, Wilmorton.
In 1997 she became Clerk to the Corporation of Derby College and was also employed by Derby PRIDE Limited and Derby City Council. Olivia was a member of the Derbyshire Learning and Skills Council from 2001 to 2005 and has served as a representative on two national examination boards. Olivia has also worked for the voluntary sector as a board member, previously for Community Education and Training Association and the Padley Group and currently for the Royal Crown Derby Museum Trust. Additionally she is a governor of an inner city primary school in Derby.
James Eaglesfield is the non-teaching staff governor on the University’s Governing Council. He is the University’s head of governance and IT Portfolio within the IT department of the University of Derby. Since joining the University in 1998 he has held a series of roles within IT Services. He is currently responsible for information security, data protection, freedom of information and IT project management within the University. Prior to joining the University, James trained at the Queens Medical Centre to become an Audiology Technician. His outside interests include walking, photography and cycling and he regularly rides the infamous Paris – Roubaix cycle sportif.
Tony Edwards BA ACA
Tony was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is Vice President & General Manager of the aluminium gas cylinder business unit of Luxfer Holdings plc, headquartered in the East Midlands. Prior to joining Luxfer, Tony spent two years as Corporate Development Director for Renold plc and 15 years as a Managing Director in international B2B manufacturing groups headquartered in the East Midlands.
Tony is a chartered accountant, having qualified whilst at Price Waterhouse, then spending 14 years in a variety of increasingly senior group, divisional and operational financial roles with Rio Tinto plc, Norcros plc and the Filtrona division of Bunzl plc. Tony has a degree in Accounting & Finance from Nottingham Trent University and served as a Governor there for 11 years up to July 2016.
Lesley Giles MA, Vice-Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee
Lesley Giles is Director of Work Advance, where she undertakes analysis and evaluation, and provides policy advice around workplace innovation and the world of work. Until recently she was Director at the Work Foundation where she continues to work as an associate, offering insights to drive their work programme seeking to champion Good Work.
Prior to this, Lesley was Deputy Director and Company Secretary at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, where she provided guidance on skills and employment issues to Industry and Government, with a particular focus on supporting business-led action and innovation. In addition, Lesley has worked in a variety of other roles across government undertaking skills and/or employment research and policy advice including: Acting Director for Strategy and Research (2006-08), and Head of Research (2002-06), at the Sector Skills Development Agency (an umbrella organisation, set up in 2002 to license and performance manage the Sector Skills Councils); and a senior researcher for the Department for Education and Employment, the Employment Service, and the Cabinet Office. Prior to joining the government, Lesley was a researcher for the Institute for Employment Studies, the University of Portsmouth's Business School, and the University of Central England. She is a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Gill Howland BEd (Hons) MEd FRSA, Vice-Chair of Further Education Governance Committee
Gill was appointed as an Independent member of Governing Council in October 2015, having previously been a Co-opted member of the University’s Further Education Governance Committee of Buxton and Leek College.
Gill has extensive experience across a wide range of educational leadership roles. After beginning her career in industry, she moved onto teaching and leadership positions in schools and in further and higher education, focussing particularly on post 14 education and co directing a three year project on 14-19 progression. She was a member of the Government's Advisory Board on 14-19 education, and led the conception and development of the first 14-19 collegiate in the country.
Her senior leadership positions have included Local Authority Chief Education Adviser, Executive Director of Learning and Skills Councils in Stoke and Staffordshire, and Birmingham and Solihull, and Executive Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Staffordshire University.
Gill is currently immediate past Chair of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society. She recently retired as Chair of Governors of one of the most improved academies nationally. She is governor of a Derbyshire primary school. Gill was previously Deputy Chair of CILT, the National Centre for Languages, Deputy Chair of YMCA Training and Board Member of North Staffordshire YMCA. She has chaired a number of regional and sub regional collaborations focussing on regeneration through education.
Throughout her career Gill has championed education as the key means of opening opportunities to people. She has always chosen to work in disadvantaged areas and has a track record in educational improvement and widening opportunities.
Gordon Lammie MA (Cantab)
Gordon Lammie worked for the Open University from its inception in 1970 until 2010 in a number of different roles and locations including its headquarters in Milton Keynes and in the USA but predominantly as a senior member of the University's regionally-based staff. From 1986 onwards he was a Regional Director - initially in the North West and since 1992 in the East Midlands. He sat on a range of bodies external to the University. These included the Steering Committee of the East Midlands Universities Association (alongside the Vice-Chancellors of all the region's universities) and the East Midlands Regional Assembly (as the Higher Education representative).
He was Chairman of the Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust and has been a member of the Court of the University of Derby since 1999. Gordon was chair of the Board of Directors of the Nottingham Park Estate Ltd. From 2006 to 2010 he chaired the Strategic Management Board of the HEFCE-funded Lifelong Learning Network incorporating four universities, two of which were the Open University in the East Midlands and the University of Derby, and eight further education colleges in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He worked for three years as a part-time consultant on distance learning for the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester.
Gordon McKenzie BA (Hons)
Gordon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He has been Chief Executive Officer of GuildHE since 2015, a key representative and advocacy body in the higher education sector.
He joined GuildHE following a career in the Civil Service, most recently as Deputy Director for HE Strategy and Policy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Gordon has led the implementation of the Browne review on higher education funding and successive government spending reviews. He has also worked with a range of ministers on innovative policies including tackling an increase in graduate unemployment and encouraging the growth of a more competitive sector.
Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL BSc PhD CPsychol
Professor Kathryn Mitchell is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Derby.
Prior to joining the University in September 2015 she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of West London with special responsibility for academic provision and quality across the University. She has also held senior positions of Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Support Services and Dean of Students at West London.
Professor Mitchell was a Wellcome Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and has studied at the Universities of York and London. She has worked at the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Institute, New York and the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel.
Kath is a chartered Psychologist and played an active role within the Institute for Practice and Interdisciplinary Research (INSPIRE), supervising and directing a range of research programmes.
In April 2019, Kath was appointed one of five new Deputy Lieutenants of Derbyshire.
She is married with two children.
Louise Pigden BSc MRes SFHEA
Louise is the Academic Board representative on the Governing Council. Louise is the Deputy Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology where she is also the interim Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering and Built Environment. She has cross-college responsibility for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience.
Louise studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of Warwick, and as a postgraduate at the University of Leeds. She has held varied senior academic leadership and management roles that have provided a broad insight into higher education from differing perspectives. She was Principal Lecturer managing the Leeds Beckett University’s network of further education colleges; Head of Division of Digital Media and Entertainment Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, having departmental responsibility for third stream income generation, enterprise and student employability; Assistant Registrar - Assessment, Awards and Regulations at Sheffield Hallam University, having wide-ranging responsibilities that directly impacted on the student experience. At Derby she was initially Head of Joint Honours, a role that afforded a unique insight into the academic student experience across all colleges of the University.
Louise’s research interests have spanned computational physics with a focus on hyperbranched polymers, through to the pedagogy of web programming, and more recently the experience and employability of joint honours students. Louise is currently completing a PhD by published works.
Dr Joanna Poon BSc MSc MA PhD PGCE PGCHE SFHEA MCIOB LF Fellow
Joanna Poon is a teaching staff member of the Governing Council. She is an Associate Professor and Head of Built Environment within the College of Engineering and Technology. Prior to joining the University, Joanna held academic positions at the University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Nottingham Trent University and Deakin University in Australia where Joanna was the Acting Discipline Leader for the Property Team and Course Director for Postgraduate Programmes in Property and Real Estate.
Daniella Quill BA
Daniella is a Student Representative Governor, having been elected President of the Union of Students for the academic year 2019/20. She has a passion for the creative arts and graduated with a degree in Media Production in 2018. This is Daniella's second term as an Officer Trustee, as she was Vice President (Activities) during the 2018/19 academic year. She held a key role within the University of Derby Netball Club which led to her being involved with multiple community volunteering opportunities. Daniella's passion for sport and in particular, inclusivity within sport is what drives her. The focus for her Presidential year will be student mental health and employability.
Hilary Stables FCIPD
Hilary was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in February 2020. She had been co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee in April 2019. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in a variety of industries including retail, communications, and healthcare services. She is currently HR Director for NHS Property Services Ltd.
Previously, Hilary held the role of HR, Talent and Communications Director at McKesson UK, part of the McKesson Company which owns brands including Lloyds Pharmacy and AAH Pharmaceuticals. She joined McKesson in 2015 from BT Facilities Services, where she was HR Director. Earlier in her career, Hilary spent 15 years in a variety of increasingly senior HR positions at Asda Wal-Mart UK.
Stephen Smith BA FIOD, Chair of Governing Council
Stephen Smith has been an Independent Member of Governing Council since 2014 and was previously Chair of the Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee. He took the role of Pro Chancellor and Chair of Governing Council in August 2018.
Stephen is Chief Executive and founder of EMB Group, a leading, business services, risk management, cyber security and ISO certification company, trading across the UK and internationally.
His earlier career was in brand marketing with multinational corporations followed by general management roles in the greeting cards and logistics sectors, the latter as Managing Director of a high growth £134m pharmaceutical distribution business. Stephen also has significant experience as a non-executive director on a number of different bodies, in both the public and private sectors. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IOD) and an IOD Director of the Year category winner on two occasions, whilst EMB Group have been an Amazon Growing Business Awards finalist and recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of the 1000 Companies to Inspire. He is also a member of the CBI Regional Council, advising government on business policy issues.
Stephen Taylor BMus FCA, Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee
Stephen has a 30 year career helping companies across Europe and beyond, first with PwC and later with AlixPartners. He led the Continental European restructuring practice of the former and was a senior Managing Director at the second. He now runs his own advisory firm
Best known for his work on complex western European restructurings, Stephen’s roles have encompassed board roles on several high profile cases. He was chairman of the restructuring committee at SAAB Automobile in Sweden, Chief Restructuring Officer of Vion Food Group in the Netherlands and Chairman of Southern Cross Healthcare in UK.
Stephen is also an advisor to various governments and has been a guest lecturer at several European Universities.
Educated in Derbyshire and living in the county for many years, Stephen is a Chartered Accountant and also holds a degree in Music.
Melanie Welaratne BA
Melanie was elected the Union of Students' Vice President (Education) for the academic year 2019/20. During her time as an undergraduate student she studied Fine Art, developing her own practice over three years. Alongside her studies Melanie took on various projects within the University and the Union of Students, becoming a student trustee in 2017. During this time she enjoyed taking part in various sports, councils and committees. She was also the licence holder and lead organiser for the first ever TEDx University of Derby.
Her passion for education has been borne out of being educated in many countries, with varying approaches to education. This gave Melanie the opportunity to experience and embrace different cultures. Her key aims this year include student value for money and diversity in education.