New trustees to join Jisc’s board

Jisc is pleased to announce two new representatives on our board of trustees, who will help determine our strategic direction and priorities to reflect the present and future needs of UK education and research.

Vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, Professor Mark E. Smith, and Dr Ken Thomson, the principal of Forth Valley College in Scotland, are to join our board of senior leaders and managers from across UK further and higher education.

Professor Martin Hall, chair of Jisc’s board of trustees, says,

“I am delighted to welcome Mark and Ken to the board as both of them have an enormous amount of experience in education and their expertise will be very welcome.  New perspectives like theirs help us to ensure that Jisc is guided by the communities we serve and that we consistently deliver against their priorities.”

Professor Mark Smith studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, before completing a PhD in physics at the University of Warwick. After time developing his research in Germany and Australia, he returned to the UK first at the University of Kent and then re-joined Warwick as reader in 1998.

He held roles within the physics department before being appointed chair of the faculty of science in 2005, pro-vice chancellor for research in 2007, and subsequently deputy vice-chancellor.

In his current role as vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, his responsibilities include chairing the main resourcing committee of the university.

He says,

“Jisc plays a very important role in its support of higher and further education providing world class infrastructure and other services. It is also one of the real success stories of a shared service. As Jisc in its new form continues to develop there are many interesting challenges which I hope to contribute to as a board member.”

With 21 years’ experience in the further education sector Dr Ken Thomson took up his role as principal of Forth Valley College in August 2013. He has a degree in zoology from Nottingham University and a PhD in veterinary entomology from Edinburgh University.

As a senior lecturer in life sciences he led a four college consortium in developing a £1.5m technical training project for biotechnology.

He became head of science (2001), then director of learning services (2003) before becoming associate principal (2005) at Forth Valley College and deputy principal from 2007 with strategic responsibility for the college’s future curriculum, school/college partnership, quality assurance and learning innovation.

Ken is a member of the Colleges Scotland Principals Group, a member of the Colleges Scotland Learning, Skills and Quality Committee and is a former board member of Learning & Teaching Scotland. Ken is a fellow of the Institute of Directors.

In November 2014, Forth Valley College were awarded the prestigious Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Innovation in FE as a result of their whole college approach to an exciting vision to ‘Making Learning Work’.

He says,

“I am really looking forward to working with the board of Jisc.  Jisc has a reputation for innovation, for being at the forefront of learning technologies and I am particularly keen to promote the obvious opportunities and added value for the end users, our teaching staff, students and customers”.

The new trustees take up their roles in December 2014.Read more about the role of the Jisc board.