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Durham University

University Committees


Please contact the election's returning officer: James Walsh

Voting guidance is available here.

The deadline for voting is Noon 18th June 2021.

Members of staff (Academic and related) at grade 7 and above (with the exception of ex-officio members of Senate) are eligible to vote.

The election is a Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. Further information is available here.

For further guidance please contact the election's returning officer: James Walsh


Members of the Academic Electoral Assembly are invited to elect six individuals to its Standing Committee and to serve as members of Senate.There are six seats to be elected to serve from 1 August 2021 for a period of three years.

Given Senate's responsibilities as the guardian of academic standards and a debating forum for matters of strategic academic importance, AEA members elected to serve on Senate are expected to demonstrate the following:

  1. A commitment to attend and participate in meetings of Senate and the Standing Committee of the AEA normally twice a term.
  2. Sufficient relevant experience of teaching and/or research to be able to contribute effectively to discussions on academic policy at Senate. This experience to be derived from playing a significant and direct role in these activities at an appropriate level.

Nominations have been received from the following (clicking on candidate names will take you to their supporting statement):

Beth Bromley Farzana Chowdhury Ahmed Elsayed Simon Gardiner Hannah King Hugo Kruiniger
Colin McFarlane Emma Milne Markian Prokopovych Jacquie Robson Mark Shaw Ross Wilkinson

Candidates Statements

Beth Bromley (Proposer: Becky Gowland, Seconder: Gretchen Larsen)

I am standing for re-election to Senate after serving a first three year term and having served as co-chair (with Dr. Fire Kovarovic) of the AEA standing committee for the last two years.

During my time on Senate I have taken on the role of advocate on two significant issues in particular. Firstly, I have been an advocate for increased consultation and for evidence based policy formation. I have worked, with Fire, to significantly increase the engagement of policy leads with staff groups including networks and groups with specific expertise. This has included consultation on issues from Lecture Capture Policy through to groups reviewing various employment and promotions policies. Secondly, I have been an advocate for equality, diversity, inclusion and respect, where I have consistently raised issues in Senate about the use of Equality Impact Assessments, and the need to assess all university data and processes for bias on the basis of characteristics protected under the Equalities Act, as well as socio-economic background.

If re-elected to Senate I will continue this work through the transitional period from the current, to the new Vice-Chancellor.

Farzana Chowdhury (Proposer: Saadat Saeed, Seconder: Benedetta Cappellini)

I am an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship. I am committed to high-quality research with the objective to publish in top management journals. I received my Ph.D. from Indiana University in the U.S. My research areas include strategic management, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior and focuses on how contextual elements influence strategic decisions entrepreneurs make for themselves and on behalf of their organizations. I have publications in Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice (ABS 4), Small Business Economics (ABS 3), and Journal of Technology Transfer (highly regarded). I have experience in teaching and supervising students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Currently, I teach an undergraduate module and an online MBA module. In addition to the research and teaching at the university, I am also a member of the British Academy of Management Peer Review College and a Fellow at the Institute of Development Strategies at Indiana University in the U.S.

Ahmed Elsayed (Proposer: Philippa Matthews, Seconder: Richard Harris)

I am an experienced member of staff with 23 years of teaching and research experience in higher education. I have had excellent opportunities to work at both national and international universities where my duties include chairing the Board of Examiners, programme leadership, supervision and teaching at undergraduate/postgraduate levels, and working with other faculty members to develop new programmes. Moreover, I have extensive experience in online teaching and distance learning. This allows me to acquire considerable experience in teaching and leadership. Further, I have several publications in top journals.

I have always prided myself on my commitment to teaching excellence and research-led teaching which supported by high levels of positive feedback from both colleagues and students. Consequently, I was awarded the Dean’s Award for Teaching and the Business School Awards for Enhancing Learning and Teaching in recognition of my high-quality teaching and learning activities. Furthermore, I obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and awarded a Senior Fellowship of the HEA. Recently, I have been recognised as a Certified Management & Business Educator (CMBE) by the Chartered ABS association.

Simon Gardiner (Proposer: Marek Szablewski, Seconder: Sarah Elton)

Since starting at Durham University as a lecturer in the Department of Physics I have been Head of Atomic and Molecular Physics, Director of Education in Physics, have served as academic representative on Van Mildert College Council, and am since 2017 Deputy Executive Dean (Undergraduate) in the Faculty of Science. I guided Physics to being among the first departments to participate in the Durham Supported Progression Scheme, coordinated the Durham application for University Research Centre status for the Joint Quantum Centre (JQC) Durham-Newcastle, and am serving as Project Director of the EPSRC Inclusion Matters project Northern Power: Making Engineering and Physical Sciences Research a Domain for All in the North of England. Throughout this time I have been an active teacher and researcher, in theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics and related areas, and in the past year coordinated the University response to supporting practical teaching, for example with essential enabling equipment, under the conditions of the pandemic.

Hannah King (Proposer: Jason Arday, Seconder: Emma Murphy)

I am standing for re-election after a term in office on Senate, in which I have contributed a strong voice as an ally championing equality, diversity and democratic governance. The need to create a truly diverse university space remains a challenge and our commitment to the wider Durham community also needs strengthening. I believe broad representation is essential for good governance. As a mother, having juggled my way through the last year, I see addressing structural inequalities as we move through the pandemic as more important than ever. I am Director of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Sociology, with over a decade of academic experience at several institutions, including precarious positions (a key challenge for HE) and a senior College position, which enhanced my understanding of student experience and support issues. I draw upon significant non-academic professional experience from senior former local government and voluntary sector roles. Working and researching with and for vulnerable young people has grounded in me a strong commitment to ensuring diverse voices are included and in effecting social change. This is reflected in my work ethic and I’m known for working in a collegial and supportive way, being empathetic in the face of conflict.

Hugo Kruiniger (Proposer: Angel Hernando-Veciana, Seconder: Tatiana Damjanovic)

I am an associate professor in economics at DU. I have been an academic for almost 30 years and have spent more than 20 years in British academia. I hold a Doctorandus degree (this is an old Dutch degree that is roughly equivalent to a rigorous BSc+MSc degree) in Econometrics and Operations Research from the Econometric Institute, which is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam (it is the oldest research institute in this field in the world and its academic degree programs were strongly research-led and very ambitious and world-renowned for their high academic standards, see also I also hold a PhD in Economics from Maastricht University, where I was a member of staff while I was working on my PhD research. I have been a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University, a visiting professor at INSEE-CREST (in Paris) and a post-doctoral researcher at the Dept. of Economics of UCL (London). All three institutions belong to the international top of my field. I have been a lecturer in economics at Queen Mary, U of London, before joining Durham University in 2010. I have taught both u/g and p/g courses in Econometrics and Statistics and published in top journals in my field.

Colin McFarlane (Proposer: Ben Anderson, Seconder: Harriet Bulkeley)

I am Professor of Urban Geography and joined the department in 2006. I have taught across all years of the undergraduate and postgraduate programme, have supervised postgraduate students, and been PI or Co-I on multiple research projects. I have held departmental administrative roles across teaching and research, including Co-Director of Research Postgraduates, Deputy Director of Research Postgraduates, Urban Worlds research cluster convenor, and REF group member. I have also chaired and/or sat on departmental committees, ran a review of Assessment and Examinations, and sat on Faculty Postgraduate committee. These roles have involved developing and contributing to policy and initiatives across department life. I currently lead an ERC consolidator project and, through that and other projects, have seen the impact of the pandemic on individual and collective research. Together, this experience has given me a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, including the impact of the pandemic, the question of social equality, possible tuition fee changes, or TEF and REF. I care about all realms of academic life and I am keen to learn more about how the University is run. I see the AEA as making an important contribution to a successful, rewarding and enjoyable University.

Emma Milne (Proposer: Clare McGlynn, Seconder: Aoife O’Donoghue)

As an Early Career Researcher whose teaching and research crosses social sciences and humanities, I am keenly aware of the possibilities and difficulties facing Durham University in the coming years.

With or without a pandemic, we will likely face challenges around delivery of teaching and learning that satisfies our students’ expectations. My experience of teaching across different disciplines (law, criminology, sociology) and different forms of institutions (post-92s, plate glass, Russell) allows me to reflect on how Durham should proceed. I have insight into the variety of teaching and learning needs of students across the sector. I am a Fellow of the HEA and hold a PGCert HE, so have developed good knowledge of different modes of teaching, specifically research-led and active-learning.

As we leave REF 2021, we have space to consider the development of Durham’s research environment. The interdisciplinary nature of my research means I value the role of the humanities and social sciences in creating a diverse research community, regardless of student numbers.

I have always been an active participant in citizenship roles (back to my time as Humanities Education Rep for University of Essex SU). I will be diligent in my role as representative of the University community.

Markian Prokopovych (Proposer: Len Scales, Seconder: Kay Schiller)

I joined the History Department at Durham in 2018 after more than a decade of research and teaching across Europe and the UK. I am the History Department’s EDI Lead and in this role take part in drafting the department’s strategic policies, for instance, regarding the decolonisation of the curriculum. I have also initiated and led broader discussions, involving both staff and students, on race, gender, and structural inequalities within universities. The current pandemic has highlighted some of the existing inequalities and revealed others; it has been a privilege to work with colleagues at my department and beyond at responding to these, but there is more to be done. If elected, I would rely on my research and teaching experience, international reputation as a historian of modern Europe, and understanding of EDI issues to ensure that Durham University remains a welcoming environment and offers equal treatment to everyone with respect to gender, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and career paths. As member of the AEA, I would aim to hold the executive to account on these matters, as well as other key issues such as academic freedom and integrity.

Jacquie Robson (Proposer: Marek Szablewski, Seconder: Beth Bromley)

As a teaching track Professor, I am hoping to be re-elected to represent the views of teaching-focused staff on Senate, bringing an education- and student-focused perspective to debate and discussion. Teaching is my passion and my specialty, but I also have worked with colleagues across the University in many different contexts. I was a Durham undergraduate and postgraduate student, and worked as a school teacher for some years before returning to Durham University in 2010. As DOUGS in my Department, my work focuses particularly on pastoral support of students, including induction and transition for first years. I run the lab courses for first years, and I am very involved in outreach, and ‘widening participation’ (WP). I set up the Durham ‘Levelling Up: Aspire Higher’ WP programme in the science faculty. I am involved in training postgraduate students to teach and I have mentored colleagues. I am on the steering committee of the University Learning and Teaching Network and I am currently Chair of the Teaching Track Academic Development Network. I have been University College mentor and worked on cross-institution working groups. This varied experience enables me to understand the roles and views of a wide range of colleagues and students.

Mark Shaw (Proposer: Tom Moore, Seconder: Karen Milek)

The University has recently survived an unprecedented crisis and this has emphasised we need to ensure our governance structures are fit to respond to the growing challenges facing HE. A strong Senate and staff voice is key to this. Post-Covid, we have an opportunity to change our working environment for the better, and I would champion good, robust governance and the voice of staff - academic and PS - as the keys to achieving that change. We also need to learn lessons from recent change projects that have gone wrong or made life harder for our colleagues, and instead seek transparency, open discussion and debate - surely what universities are for.

I have experienced Durham from many perspectives, currently as Department Manager and before that as a college Assistant Principal, a research institute manager, and a PhD student. Currently, there is just one PS staff AEA rep on Senate - out of twenty. I would like to make sure that PS staff, who play a vital role in supporting and enabling the teaching and research work of the university, are well represented in discussions and that we seek to build a better relationship between all staff groups in the University.

Ross Wilkinson (Proposer: Andrew Gray, Seconder: Simon Speight)

As the Learning and Engagement Manager of the ULC Learning and Engagement Team, we oversee the delivery of formal and informal learning programmes to support the Access and Participation Plan. Centred in the museum, archive, library and art collections of the university, working with pre and post-16 aged pupils in developing their independent research skills and inquiry based learning, we support these pupils from target backgrounds to access HE. This includes working with community groups (including multi faith groups), access for vulnerable users and students.

I support and deliver teaching in museum, heritage and educational practice in the vocational skills of collections engagement with schools, families and community groups. This is to support a range of modules, including the School of Education and Archaeology. Providing theoretical and practical experience. Including university placements in synchronous and a-synchronous collections engagement.

Working closely with local primary, secondary, FE institutions and Durham University departments, I bring a working knowledge of the challenges and successes to developing skills and confidence for academic success.
Utilising my expertise, I have worked internationally. For example, developing sustainable training programmes collaborating with private and public museums and universities in Jordan as part of the Archaeology Department's AHRC funded project.