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University appoints new members to Board of Governors

1st December 2023

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has appointed three exciting new members to its Board of Governors.   Professor Dame Janet Beer, Alison Fellows and Jan Thompson took up their appointments on 1 December 2023.

A former Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of both the University of Liverpool and Oxford Brookes University, Professor Dame Janet Beer offers considerable experience within the higher education sector. She was awarded a Damehood for services to higher education and equality and diversity in the New Year’s Honours list 2017 and was formerly the President of Universities UK. Dame Janet is also a Trustee of the British Council, a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council  and the National Leadership Advisory Board. She has an established record of research and scholarship in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and culture.

Alison Fellows is a senior executive with extensive public and private sector commercial experience. Among her current roles, she is a Non-Executive Director with both North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust and housing association Gentoo Group Sunderland. She has been a governor at Sunderland College and a trustee of Tyneside Cinema. Alison is a former Commercial Director at Teesside International Airport, Group Commercial Director for Tees Valley Combined Authority and Director of Commercial Development with Sunderland City Council. She is also a previous Partner and Head of the Commercial team with leading North East law firm Dickinson Dees – now part of Womble Bond Dickinson.

Jan Thompson is a senior executive in journalism, publishing and digital media. She is Executive Managing Editor of Guardian News and Media where she has played a key role in its digital first strategy over the past decade. She joined the media group in 2005 as Managing Editor of the Observer, and before that was Managing Editor of the Independent. She began her journalistic career on the East Anglian Daily Times before moving to the Sheffield Morning Telegraph.

Commenting on the appointments, Chair of the Board of Governors at Northumbria University, Roberta Blackman-Woods, said: “Our three new members are highly accomplished individuals, and their calibre and expertise will be greatly welcomed by an already deeply knowledgeable Board. I look forward to working with them in our role as Governors to support the University’s senior team in taking Northumbria forward as an anchor institution in the region and a major player in the UK and global higher education sector.  As a Board we work together  to help deliver our strategic goals as a research-intensive university with highly skilled graduates and a clear social mobility mission to unlock potential for all.” 


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