Membership of Governing Council

Current membership

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. 

Mr 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. He was Headteacher at The Long Eaton School from 2008 to 2016, an 11-18 institution of 1,300 students which was one of the first in Derbyshire to convert to Academy status. In 2012 it became the only state school in the UK to open a purpose-built astronomical observatory, and it has gained national recognition for its work in environmental education and developing an international dimension to its curriculum. It also works extensively in initial teacher training with universities in the UK and overseas. 

Neil led the school’s successful application to become an Academy sponsor in the summer of 2016, which resulted in the formation of The Northworthy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust which is taking responsibility for a number of schools in Derby and Derbyshire. Having previously worked in senior leadership roles in two other local schools, Neil also served as Executive Headteacher at King Edward VI School in Lichfield in 2014, supporting the school through a change in leadership and a successful Ofsted inspection. In 2013 he gave evidence to a Commons Education Select Committee inquiry into the role of governing bodies in schools. 

Mrs 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. She is currently a governor of an inner city primary school.  Olivia has also worked for the voluntary sector as a board member, previously for Community Education and Training Association, and currently for the Padley Group and the Royal Crown Derby Museum Trust.  Additionally she is a governor of an inner city primary school in Derby.  

Mr James Eaglesfield

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.

Ms Lesley Giles, MA, Vice-Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee

Lesley is currently Director at the Work Foundation, which is a leading provider of analysis, evaluation, policy advice and know-how in the UK around workplace innovation and the world of work. In this role she leads a work programme seeking to champion Good Work and to improve policy and business practices to drive better outcomes for individuals and businesses and inclusive growth.

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.

Mrs 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 the Chair of the British Educational Leadership,  Management and Administration Society.  She is Chair of Governors of one of the most improved academies nationally, and 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.

Mr 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.

Ms Roohi Mehra MPharm PGDip PGCertEd FHEA MRPharmS

Roohi was appointed an Independent Member of Governing Council in October 2015.  She is the Officer Commanding (OC) the Department of Pharmacy and Medical Supply (DPMS) in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).  In this role she oversees the delivery of pharmacy training and education across the MoD.  Previously she worked at the University of Birmingham as an eLearning Manager and Teaching Associate for an NHS England project improving continuing professional development for prescribers.  Whilst working as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy Practice at the University of Hertfordshire, she completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).  She led modules in inter-professional education, held the School role of Fitness to Practise Officer, and also held the Departmental roles of Placements Lead and Graduate Attributes Champion.  After rotating through many clinical specialties in the NHS, Roohi specialised in Acute Care, Admissions and Accident & Emergency.

Roohi’s professional body, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, holds an annual awards ceremony to honour those pharmacists who have contributed greatly to their field; Roohi was fortunate enough to be shortlisted for, and subsequently become the winner of the Award for Excellence in Education in 2015.  In her spare time, Roohi volunteers as a STEM Ambassador for the STEMNET charity, which aims to encourage young people to enter careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  She visits schools to encourage children to pursue careers in these fields, and is particularly keen to inspire under-represented girls to enter these subject areas.  Roohi is a huge animal lover and has volunteered at local animal charities for many years.  

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, 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.

She is married with two children.

Miss Scarlet Moss BA (Hons)

Scarlet was elected into her role of Vice President (Education) within the University of Derby's Students Union in the academic year 2017/18 and graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Sociology with Education Studies in the same year. Prior to this she occupied a part-time officer position in the Union, as well as partaking in various sports such as badminton and cheerleading. She was the recipient of the Academic Rep of the Year award 16/17.

Her future plans consist of pursuing a career in teaching, although primarily she intends to take a year out after fulfilling this role to travel and is interested in teaching English to students overseas.

Ms Louise Pigden BSc MPhil 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 is Head of Joint Honours, a role that affords 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. During 2017 Louise has undertaken a secondment as Interim Head of Mechanical Engineering and Built Environment.

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. She is currently seconded to the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) to lead an ERDF funded Low Carbon project. 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.

Mr 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 economic development, business services, risk management and accreditation company which since 2006 has delivered a variety of high value programmes worth over £200m for both the public and private sectors. 

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, including RNN Group FE College, North Northants Development Company, British Chambers of Commerce, Princes Trust Regional Council, Royal Crown Derby Museum and the NEST Employers Panel for pension auto-enrolment. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IOD) and an IOD Director of the Year category winner, 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.

Mr 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.

Dr Ian Webster BSc PhD CPFA, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

After graduating from Bristol University, Ian qualified as an accountant. In 1981, he moved to Derbyshire, to work for the County Council. In the 1990s, Ian spent five years as a consultant with an international accounting firm. He then became the finance director of an east midlands police force, a role he held for five years. This was followed by a spell of freelance working with troubled local education authorities. In 2005, Ian became the chief financial officer of a large unitary council. During his time as CFO, the council improved its governance, and became a top six performer.

Ian retired in 2011 to undertake research in economic history at Sheffield Hallam University and was awarded his PhD in 2015.

Miss Abby Wilson BA MDes

Abby was elected President of the Union of Students at the University of Derby in the academic year 2017/18 following a successful term as Vice President (Welfare). She studied her BA in Illustration and progressed onto her MA in Design: Visual Communication. Although she is committed to the Arts, her involvement in the Union throughout her time studying has sparked a passion for student voice and representation. She hopes to increase the visibility and communication at the Union so more students can access it. She will also be using her position on the Governing Council to represent the views of students and improve their experience at the University.

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