GSM chief exec joins HEFCE

Alison Wheaton has been appointed to the HEFCE committee for Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee

Alison Wheaton, Chief Executive of GSM London (formerly the Greenwich School of Management), has been appointed to the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) committee for Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee.

Alison Wheaton brings a wealth of experience to the HEFCE committee as a senior director having led finance, marketing, strategy, operations, property, IT, and business development in large complex consumer focussed organisations, including six years at PepsiCola International and thirteen years at Mitchells and Butlers (M&B) plc. Alison also served as Non-Executive Director for the London Development Agency, where she was a Member of the Olympic Delivery Committee.

She said: ‘New thinking will increasingly be important to the sector in both responding to, and pre-empting, the challenges presented by the global Higher Education market. Leaders across the spectrum of HE are under pressure to adapt their institutions to the fast-changing environment in terms of policy, technological change and international opportunities.

‘I’ll be able to bring a different perspective to the committee from my experience as a board member of large-scale international businesses, and from leading one of the new generation of ambitious alternative providers of HE.

‘The growing representation for alternative providers on HEFCE committees is a significant development, in terms of demonstrating inclusivity but also the contribution already being made by the private sector to choice and diversity.’

GSM London began as a family-run college in South East London in 1973. The institution has grown in recent years to become one of the UK’s largest independent HE providers which focusses on the social mobility of its diverse student body. It has over 5,000 students; 95% are from the UK and 90% are from ethnic minority groups. The majority are not traditional school leavers. Working closely with its validating partner, Plymouth University, GSM London focusses on academic excellence – it has achieved QAA Institutional Review status – and provides a unique delivery model – focussed on increasing accessibility – with three entry points a year, accelerated two year degrees and a foundation year alongside a traditional three year undergraduate degree. It charges less than traditional universities, but provides smaller class sizes and a high level of student support, including a curriculum and careers support focussed on increasing the employability of its graduates.

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