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New Chair and Vice Chair of Governors

Sarah Speck and Dr Diana Beech take on new roles

Sarah Speck has taken over as the new Chair of the Board of Governors. Meanwhile, Dr Diana Beech has taken over as the new Vice Chair.

Sarah Speck

Sarah, who joined the Board in 2013, takes over from John Bateman OBE who served as Chair for the past seven years.

“I am delighted and honoured to have been elected Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Worcester,” said Sarah. “I recognise the vital contribution that the University makes to society, working as a force for good, championing educational inclusion and encouraging students to become good citizens and make a positive difference in the world. Having previously served as an Independent Governor, I am now looking forward to the exciting opportunity I have been given to lead the Board and work with the Governors, Vice-Chancellor and Executive Team to build on the impressive achievements and successes of recent years.”

Sarah has worked in the NHS since 2012, her first role was as a member of the board of the Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups before moving to the NHS National Guardian’s Office and most recently, NHS England’s National Patient Safety Team. 

She is a plant biologist and holds an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. Having transitioned from plant science research to a corporate affairs career, she led communications, marketing and public relations programmes for Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency and global agribusiness, Syngenta. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Sarah is a board member of Mercian Educational Trust, a multi-academy trust responsible for the education of more than 1300 primary school aged children.

Dr Diana Beech

Diana is the Chief Executive of London Higher and was previously Policy Adviser for higher education to three separate UK Ministers for Universities and Science. This was a role she fulfilled after a stint as the first Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, where she published widely on topics including future demand for higher education, widening access to university and free speech.

Diana, who joined the Board of Governors in 2017, also previously had a key role in shaping the new regulatory landscape for higher education in England, having been Programme Manager in the Department for Education with specific responsibility for establishing the Office for Students (OfS). Diana holds a PhD in German Studies from the University of Cambridge and has held early-career academic appointments at universities in Canada, Germany and the UK.

“Having been an Independent Governor at the University of Worcester since 2017, I am thrilled to be stepping up to become Vice-Chair this year, working alongside Sarah in her new capacity as Chair,” she said. “With a worsening cost of living crisis ahead of us and the prospect of further HE reform, I am under no illusion that we are entering a particularly difficult period for higher education in England and hope to provide strategic direction to protect the financial sustainability of the University, as well as maintain the unique educational character for which Worcester is known.”

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