Network of affiliates

Professor Cliff Allan

Cliff brings nearly thirty years of experience in the HE sector following a successful career of university leadership roles and key positions in sector bodies. Most recently he was Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University leading a successful transformational institutional strategy based on major estates, curricula and organisational changes.

Cliff has significant experience of strategic planning and institutional positioning. His HE leadership experience offers extensive expertise in transformational change, leadership development, and internationalisation. He has led major academic portfolio reviews and quality improvements in learning and teaching. Moreover, he has initiated vertical and horizontal collaborations with other institutions and key stakeholder organisations. He has a very strong understanding of the policy and regulatory landscape having been a UUK Board member, Chair of the UUK’s Student Policy Network and participated in many Government and sector agency advisory groups and committees over many years.

Previously he held Deputy Vice-Chancellor positions at Sheffield Hallam and Teesside Universities where his portfolios included strategic planning, academic development, UK and international student recruitment strategy, education partnerships, and oversight of a wide range of professional services.

He was Deputy CEO of the Higher Education Academy having been Director of the innovative Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) and its 24 subject centres, and before that worked for a long period in HEFCE, primarily as Head of Learning and Teaching Policy, leading many national initiatives and policy developments.

In addition to undergraduate and post graduate degrees in Politics and International Relations he has professional qualifications (CIM) in Marketing and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Carol Burns

After a successful career in the private sector, including the Financial Times and KPMG, Carol joined the higher education sector fifteen years ago, initially at Royal Holloway, University of London and then as Registrar & Secretary at the University of Brighton where, over a seven year period she had strategic and budgetary responsibility for Administration and Student Affairs, HR, Marketing and Communications, Equality and Diversity, Governance, Legal Services and Internal Audit.

She was elected a member of the Executive of the Association of Heads of University Administration for six years and represented the sector on the co-working group with the Home Office on Tier 4 Student Visas; the UUK working group on Campus Harassment; the UCEA working group on Equal Pay and co-wrote a Guide for Clerks and Secretaries for the Leadership Foundation.

She has delivered turnaround in failing business units, reversed negative trends in student performance and led culture change in student and staff services and has extensive experience of governance in HE, the Offender Management Service and the Charities Sector.

As a consultant, Carol has conducted strategic appraisals; benchmarking and maturity assessments, and supported senior management and staff teams through merger.

John Rushforth

John brings over thirty years of experience in the HE sector following a successful career at the Funding Council and as a Deputy Vice Chancellor at a large post 92 university. He currently works as Executive Secretary for the Committee of University Chairs, where amongst other things he is responsible for developing the guidance that underpins the governance of all publicly-funded UK HE institutions namely the CUC HE Code of Governance, a range of illustrative practice notes e.g. on Remuneration Committees, Academic Assurance, etc and a recent Leadership Foundation publication on the relationship between Vice Chancellors and Chairs. He is currently developing the UK Remuneration Code and has been working with colleagues in both the DfE and OfS advising on the possible framework for the regulation of governance in the future. He also has practical experience of governance as a member of a governing body both within HE and in the NHS. 


As a university leader, John has considerable experience of transformational change, estates and IT investment, academic restructuring, partnership strategy, branding, development of academic workload model and the regional engagement of HE institutions. He has a very strong understanding of the policy and regulatory landscape from both his time at HEFCE, his role as Deputy Director of the Office for Fair Access, and his subsequent work on governance Codes.
He has a comprehensive knowledge of Audit have been an internal and external auditor, an audit regulator and has served as an Audit Committee Chair.

In addition to a B Sc. in Computer Science & Mathematics and a B.A. Humanities he has a professional accountancy qualification (CIPFA).

Alice Hynes

Alice Hynes is an experienced professional services leader, strategist and company secretary; successfully delivering for over 20 years within senior teams across a range of Universities and at national level in the HE Sector. Alice has carried responsibility for educational governance, funding, financing & HR; estates & development; academic quality & student experience, communications & PR as well as HE policy. She has worked at Northampton, Bedfordshire, Liverpool, Dartington, Kingston, Roehampton and London as well as being CEO at GuildHE and Assistant Director at the QAA. Most recently she was Interim Chief Operating Officer at the Leadership Foundation in 2016.

Alice is a Fellow of the ICSA, the RSA, and the AUA; a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators, Freeman of the City of London and a member of both the Association for Project Managers and the ILM. She holds an undergraduate degree from Exeter and her Masters is from Birkbeck, with a PG Dip in Coaching and Mentoring from the ILM.

John Ryan

John worked in higher education management and administration for 36 years, holding a variety of positions at four institutions – Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Worcester. He headed the administration at the University of Worcester from 2000 until his retirement in July 2015, and for the last three years of this period John held the position of University Secretary and Pro Vice Chancellor (Students).
John is a Fellow and past Chair of the Association of University Administrators (AUA). He remains active in the Association.

John served on the UCAS Board for eight years and chaired the Board’s Audit Committee for six. He also completed a two year term as a Guild HE nominated trustee on the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit. He is a Trustee of the Royal National College, a residential college of further education for the visually impaired based in Hereford.

John maintains a connection with the sector through his work with the AUA, and as a key associate of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE).
John was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to higher education, a lifetime achievement by the Association of University Administrators in 2015, and an honorary doctorate (of Letters) of the University of Worcester in November 2015.

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