Mark of Excellence Team

Programme team

John Ryan MBE, FAUA | Programme Lead

Read John’s biography



Amanda Shilton Godwin FAUA | Head of Professional Development, AUA and Programme Lead (staff)

Read Amanda’s biography


Advisers and assessors

Our whole team acts as both advisers and assessors so they are all experts, but your assessor will be operating entirely independently of your adviser. The role of your adviser is to offer support as you progress through the Mark, they are your key support, trusted expert and critical friend and are completely independent of the assessor. The assessor’s role is to review your self-assessment and conduct a one day visit to your institution before writing a report with an outcome recommendation to the independent assessment panel.


Jan Shine FAUA

Read Jan’s biography



Sabiha Patel

Read Sabiha’s biography



Pam Aspden

Read Pam’s biography



Steph O’Halloran

Read Steph’s biography



Jacquelyn Bownes

 Read Jacquelyn’s biography


Terms of reference

Purpose of the panel

There will be a three member Mark of Excellence assessment panel, drawn from members of the HE community. This panel will be responsible for making the final decision on the conferment of the Mark of Excellence for organisations that have completed the assessment process. 


  • One panel member will be a member of the AUA Board – the Chair of the Board of Studies
  • One panel member will be a staff development professional
  • The third panel member will be nominated by AHUA.
  • There will be a nominated deputy panel member, drawn from the Board of Studies who will substitute for any panel member unable to attend any panel
  • The panel will be chaired by the Chair of the Board of Studies
  • Ex officio – Minutes of meetings will be taken by the Programme Lead (AUA Head of Professional Development)

Assessment panel dates

Assessment panel dates

Next assessment panel TBC


Mark of Excellence

John worked in higher education management and administration for 36 years, holding a variety of positions at four institutions – Wolverhampton, Birmingham, BCU and Worcester.  He headed the administration at the University of Worcester from 2000 until his retirement in July 2015, and for the last three years of this period John held the position of University Secretary and Pro Vice Chancellor (Students).

John is a Fellow and past Chair of the Association of University Administrators (AUA), and remains active in the Association. He is currently vice chair of the Board of Studies for its NTU-validated PgCert in Higher Education Leadership and Management, and Programme Lead for the Association’s Mark of Excellence in the application of the AUA CPD framework.

John served on the UCAS Board for eight years and chaired the Board’s Audit Committee for six. He also completed a two year term as a Guild HE nominated trustee on the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit. He is a Trustee of the Royal National College, a residential college of further education for the visually impaired based in Hereford.

John maintains a connection with the sector through his work with the AUA, and as a key associate of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE). His work for the Foundation has included his role as Project Lead for the HEFCE-commissioned work supporting the sector in implementing the Prevent statutory duty. John currently chairs the DoE/HEFCE Prevent Reference Group. He is also part of the LFHE governance team.

John was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to higher education, a lifetime achievement award by the Association of University Administrators in 2015, and an honorary doctorate (of Letters) of the University of Worcester in November 2015.

Amanda is the Head of Professional Development for the AUA where she has worked since April 2014. Prior to that she was the Director of Community Services for Henshaws Society for Blind People (2010-2013). From 2003-2007 she was Deputy Chief Executive of NUS Services, the commercial arm of NUS, and General Manager of University of Central Lancashire Students’ Union (1996-2003). She has also worked as an independent consultant, in Students’ Unions and more widely.  She began her career with ten years working for Oxfam, primarily in the North of England including a spell overseas in Rwanda and Zaire.

Amanda has extensive experience of managing organisational change and of achieving organisational and staff developmental systems, such as the EFQM Excellence Model, IiP, and the Information Standard.

Amanda has wide experience of public and voluntary service. She is a local Councillor in Manchester, and was a school governor for many years.  When working in Students’ Unions she served on the national board of AMSU, the Association of Managers in Students’ Unions, and chaired a national group which investigated and reported on equality and diversity in Students’ Unions.

Amanda has a MBA with Distinction from Manchester Business School, an MA and a BA from Coventry Polytechnic.

Jan Shine is an experienced trainer, manager, coach and HR specialist with a background in HE who worked with the AUA throughout the two-year LGM project to develop the CPD framework.

Jan’s HE career spanned 25 years during which time she held a variety of roles gaining broad experience in HE administration and management including generalist roles as well as specialist roles in HR and staff development. Jan was instrumental in developing mentoring, competency frameworks, 360° feedback and other management development and professional services staff initiatives at the Open University.

Since becoming self-employed in 2007, Jan runs her own business, Paullus People Development, and works throughout the UK providing a range of bespoke workshops and programmes, coaching and organisational development consultancy.  During this time, Jan has contributed to professional services staff development through working with many HE institutions and professional bodies, including The AUA, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education on the Professional Careers in HE project, and with AMOSSHE on its Value and Impact project.  Jan is a qualified coach, holds a PG Diploma in Management and is a Fellow of the AUA, a licensed Springboard trainer, an Associate with Programmes for Life and works with Adoption Services for Adults as a trainer and intermediary.

Sabiha is an experienced university manager with over 20 years’ experience in the HE sector.  After a breadth of roles at the University of Central Lancashire, she joined the University of Leeds to strengthen her post-92 institutional knowledge with Russell Group university experience.  She currently serves as an Equality and Inclusion Manager leading the work of the Equality Policy Unit which supports colleagues at all levels to deliver the University’s Equality and Inclusion Strategy.  She works in collaboration with colleagues to mainstream and embed the University’s values of inclusiveness and the demonstration of such behaviours to strive towards achieving equality of opportunities and outcomes for staff and students from all types of backgrounds.

Sabiha is also Joint Institutional Champion for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education Women in HE Leadership programme, entitled ‘Aurora’.

She is a peer reviewer and assessor for the sector’s Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters.  In addition, she acts as a mentor to colleagues committed to developing their HE administrative careers.

Pam is an experienced HE manager, specialising in leadership, administration, change management, staff development and student support.  In her current role as Academic Governance Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, Pam specialises in Committee administration and is responsible for Academic Board and its Committees, leading and advising on Committee servicing standards across the University.  She also continues to manage and develop staff.

Pam previously worked at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for 25 years until July 2016, in leadership roles as Deputy Director of the Student and Academic Support Service (SASS) and Head of Faculty Services.  At UCLan, Pam led a number of change initiatives, including the establishment of the Student Support and Wellbeing Service.

A graduate linguist, Pam has continued her professional development throughout her working life.  Prior to her career in Higher Education professional, she worked as a manager in international road haulage, covering the Middle East, the Balkans and Europe.  Pam’s interest in education also includes twenty years as a primary school governor, currently as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Curriculum and Standards Committee.

Steph O’Halloran is a Learning and Development Consultant at the Open University, where she has worked for over 20 years.  During that time, she has led a number of key institutional development projects, including the design and implementation of a new Leadership Competency Framework and associated 360 degree feedback questionnaire, and the redesign and delivery of the in-house ILM Team Leader programme.

In addition to project work, Steph works closely with departmental leadership teams across the University to understand their issues, and design and deliver bespoke development activities to achieve strategic priorities.  These have included change management programmes and team development events, as well as tailored management development programmes.

Steph is a qualified coach and has experience of coaching at all levels, including senior managers and academic colleagues.  She is also an ILM Accredited Action Learning Set facilitator, and has facilitated many learning sets developing leadership and management skills through peer support.  She is CIPD qualified and has a Masters in Human Resources.

With over 20 years’ leadership development experience, Jacquelyn Bownes has held a number of executive positions heading up learning and development functions. For the past 10 years, Jacquelyn has worked as an OD consultant with an impressive track record working with organisations from within the NHS, higher education, manufacturing, financial services, professional services and retail. Her higher education clients include; University of Sheffield, Edge Hill University and Portsmouth University, and she is proud to be one of the original consultants supporting The AUA roll out of the behavioural framework across the sector.

As an OD consultant and facilitator, her areas of experience include: coaching for performance, leadership development, team development, change and transition, career development, talent management, and managing performance.   In addition, she has a wealth of experience of coaching high potential groups and executives, creating development materials, designing and introducing performance management approaches, competency frameworks, behavioural/values frameworks and 360 degree feedback systems.

Jacquelyn is a fully Accredited Executive Coach and Coach Supervisor and a former winner of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Management ‘Executive Coach of the Year’ Industry Award. She is also a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and qualified Myers Briggs and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner.

Jacquelyn’s particular success is in developing strong, collaborative relationships with her clients, who consistently describe her as a highly skilled practitioner, pragmatic, insightful, challenging, honest, and passionate about the work she does.  These qualities and approach, together with her sense of humour and ability to keep the big picture in mind, have been instrumental in helping her clients to achieve real results.