23 June 2011

The higher education representative body, GuildHE, today announced the outcome of the Elections for Chair, Vice-Chair and members of the Executive Group.

Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire New University, was re-elected as GuildHE Chair for a further two year term.

Ruth also serves on the HEFCE Board and is chair of the Board of the South-East region Open College Network. Ruth will begin her second term as Chair in November 2011.

Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, and Professor Christopher Gaskell were elected as Vice-Chairs. Professor Carter has served on the GuildHE Executive since September 2009 and is also a member of the UUK Board. Professor Gaskell is also Chair of CREST and continues as Vice-Chair of GuildHE having completed two years in the position.

Professor John Last, Principal of Norwich University College of the Arts, and Professor Margaret Noble, Principal and Chief Executive of University College Plymouth St. Mark & St. John (Marjon), were elected to the GuildHE Executive Group.

The official handover for the Executive positions will take place at the GuildHE Annual General Meeting on 7 November 2011.

GuildHE CEO, Andy Westwood, said:

“I am delighted that Ruth will be continuing as Chair of GuildHE, she has been an excellent Chair and shares the inclusive values of GuildHE members. We are grateful to her for promoting the diverse contribution of GuildHE member institutions.

“I would like to thank Professor Carter and Professor Gaskell for agreeing to serve as Vice-Chairs for the next two years and I would like to welcome Professor Last and Professor Noble to the GuildHE Executive Group. Their input will be a valuable asset during the challenging times ahead.”

Professor Farwell said:

“I am very pleased to have a second term as Chair of GuildHE and thank members for their support in electing me. I look forward to continuing to work with GuildHE members over the next two years and building on GuildHE’s recent successes.”



For more information and comment, please contact:


Andy Westwood

Tel: 020 7387 7711

Mobile: 07970007142

Email: andy.westwood@guildhe.ac.uk


Notes to editors

1. GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in the sector. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit: https://www.guildhe.ac.uk/en/members-list/

2. Professor Ruth Farwell has been Vice Chancellor at Buckinghamshire New University since January 2006, having previously been Pro Vice Chancellor at London South Bank University with a portfolio covering academic planning and quality. Ruth has a PhD in applied mathematics. She has published on higher education policy and her research is at the boundary between applied mathematics and theoretical physics, using the algebras of Victorian mathematician W.K. Clifford.

Ruth is Chair of GuildHE representing them on the Board of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and serves on the Quality in Higher Education group. In 2009 she was appointed to the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and has recently taken over as Chair of the HEFCE Teaching, Quality and Student Experience Committee. She is also chair of the Board of the South-East region Open College Network, and a member of the Board of Buckinghamshire Business First.

3. Professor Joy Carter was appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester in 2006. Prior to joining the University of Winchester, Professor Carter was a Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Glamorgan. Professor Carter is a Fellow of the Geological Society and a Chartered Geologist and has just stepped down from her role as International President of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health. She is a Board member of UUK and she is Vice Chair of the Cathedrals Group. National roles include membership of the Ministerial Advisory Group in FE and Skills and Chair of the University Vocational Awards Council.

4. Professor Chris Gaskell is Principal of The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, a position he took up in 2007.

A veterinary surgeon by profession, he was previously at the University of Liverpool, latterly as a PVC. He is currently a vice chairman of GuildHE, a member of the Chief Scientist for Wales’ Science Advisory Council; and chairman of BBSRC’s Sustainable Agriculture Strategy Panel and of the Food Research Partnerships’ Translation Sub Group. He is a member of the Boards of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), Defra’s Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency’s Advisory group, the Animal Health Trust, and the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI). He is a member of the BBC’s Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, and was until recently chairman of Defra’s Science Advisory Council.

5. Professor John Last, FRSA, joined Norwich University College of the Arts in January 2009 as Principal, having previously been Deputy Principal at the Arts University College Bournemouth.  John’s educational background is in English and Philosophy with postgraduate awards in Education and Film Theory.  He was awarded a Chair in Higher Education Management from Bournemouth and subsequently received a Chair in Art, Design & Media Education form Norwich University College of the Arts in 2010.

His academic work includes external examining for c15 universities and a range of conference papers over the past 20 years. John’s most recent research has been into student satisfaction and the National Student Survey, upon which he has delivered conference papers and seminars over the past two years, as well as being a member of the HEFCE National Steering Group for the National Student Survey from 2007 to 2010.

External consultancies include work for the Open University on Institutional Audit in the UK and overseas and as a Quality Assurance Agency Institutional Auditor from 2003 – 2008. He was a member of the UUK/GuildHE group that reviewed the UK External Examining system (the Fitch Report, spring 2011).  He was elected as a member of the Council for GuildHE in summer 2011 and is Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee for the United Kingdom Arts and Design Institutions Association (ukadia).

National roles within the higher education sector include Board membership of the Higher Education Statistical Agency, the Art, Design and Media Higher Education Academy Subject Centre, membership of the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design Executive Committee, Chair of the National Arts Learning Network Executive Committee and Chair of the Group for Learning in Art and Design.

Prior to moving to Norwich, John was Deputy Chair of a School Governing Body in Bournemouth and Chair and Director of an Arts Council funded arts centre in Dorset.  He was also a member of the South West Regional Assembly and Chair of the Deputy Vice Chancellors’ Group for the Universities of the South West.

Since arriving in Norwich, John has been a Director of the Board of the Association of Universities in the East of England, joined the Board of the Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust (HEART), and the Board of the Forum Trust. He is also member of the Norwich Design Quality Panel and the East Anglia Art Fund Executive Committee.

Interests outside of the arts include listening to music (especially opera and jazz) and watching cricket, having accepted he was not a good player!  He is a member of the MCC and the Athenaeum.

6. Margaret Noble gained a BA(Hons) degree in Geography and History from the University of Wales and then went on to complete a PhD in Geography at the University of Hull.

She joined the University College Plymouth St Mark & St John as Principal in September 2009 and has previously worked at the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside as Head of Humanities and Head of Educational Development; at the University of Teesside as Director of Lifelong Learning and at the University of Greenwich as Director of External and Combined Studies. She was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor at Greenwich in 2005 with responsibility for academic development and collaborative UK and international activity. Her research interests include widening participation; work-based learning and partnership and collaboration. Margaret is a member of a number of national committees including the Teacher Education Advisory Group and the Access Recognition and Licensing Committee.