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Questions + Answers

Frequently asked questions about the Advance HE formed in March 2018 by the merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education:

Name and background

How did the merger come about?

The merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education followed the recommendations of the Bell Review for a single sector agency for equality and diversity, learning and teaching, and leadership and governance in higher education.

All three agencies which have formed Advance HE have great track records in their respective fields. They are stronger together – enriched by their combined commitment and expertise in Advance HE’s more rounded and complete offer.

How did the name Advance HE come about?

The name ‘Advance HE’  followed consultation between the three agency boards and reflects Advance HE’s mission to champion the continuous enhancement of teaching and learning, equality and diversity, and leadership and governance in higher education, both within the UK and globally.

Does Advance HE have charitable status?

Like its forerunners, Advance HE is a charity committed to the public good. The Charities Commission for England and Wales, and the Scottish Charity Regulator have approved Advance HE’s charitable status.

What’s Advance HE’s position in the sector?

Advance HE is ‘of and for the sector’, with a board that is representative of the broad cross-section of organisations engaged with Advance HE, including representatives from UUK and GuildHE who originally formed the respective agencies and have supported the merger from the outset.

Leadership, organisation and structure

Who leads Advance HE?

Alison Johns is the chief executive of Advance HE. She was previously the chief executive of the Leadership Foundation.

Advance HE’s Chief Executives Group has been appointed. More details can be found here.

What governance arrangements are in place?

The board currently consists of nine members, including Nigel Carrington, who is chair of the board. One board member was nominated by each of the three legacy agency boards. UUK and GuildHE nominated a board member each. An open recruitment process was then undertaken, from which four more members were recruited. A further recruitment process is currently underway to ensure the board has the right collective skills and experience.

Current work, consultation and continuity

What are the arrangements for transition to a new membership model?

During 2018-19 we will deliver a transitional range of products and services. There will be a further consultation later this year to determine our integrated membership model and offer for the academic year 2019-20.

When will the sector be consulted?

An independent consultation agency has undertaken one-to-one qualitative interviews with a cross-section of vice-chancellors representative of the widest extent of the members of the three organisations.

The consultation is an iterative process, ensuring the insight from each stage feeds into the development of the next stage. It includes a quantitative survey that will be open to a wide range of stakeholders.

The outcomes will inform Advance HE’s membership offer, range of associated products and services and structure for the academic year 2019-20.

How will the core work of ECU, HEA and LFHE continue under Advance HE?

Advance HE will continue the ECU’s work on equality, diversity and inclusion across all four nations of the UK, including colleges in Scotland, as well as its international partnerships. The Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters will remain a key focus of these efforts.

The HEA Fellowship scheme, aligned to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF), will be retained. HEA Fellowship post-nominals, will also be unaffected by the merger. Institutions with HEA Accredited programmes will continue to confer HEA Fellowship on successful participants on those programmes.

Advance HE will continue the Leadership Foundation’s work on leadership, governance and management, including delivery of flagship programmes such as Aurora and the Top Management Programme.

Is the ECU’s work and partnership with Scottish colleges continuing in Advance HE

Yes, Scottish colleges are key stakeholders for Advance HE and we recognise the differences in the college context in Scotland and the necessity and value of our partnership with the college sector.

We will build on ECU’s relationships and commitments to Scottish colleges.

Institutional membership 2018-19

What are the arrangements for a transition to a new membership model?

The chief executive has contacted institutions with the details of Advance HE’s membership for 2018-19. This will be a transitional year and Advance HE has undertaken to give a price reduction on current membership fees. Advance HE will be consulting on a new membership model for 2019-20 later this year.

August 2018