Pen profiles of nominees for the Board of Trustees

The following people are standing for election to the Board of Trustees

Office holders

head shot of Dean Phillips smiling


Dean Phillips - nominated for the position of Treasurer

Assistant Director,
Digital and Information Services
University of Aberdeen

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Dean is Trustee Treasurer of ucisa, Director of USL Ltd. and Assistant Director of Digital and Information Services at the University of Aberdeen.  With a career spanning over 30 years he is highly experienced leader of strategy, vision and change.  Has held a number of senior roles within the University and NHS managing relationships with and between key stakeholders, recent focus has been on business growth and shared services across the city.  A chartered IT professional, he was awarded a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors (IoD) in 2009.  Currently Director and Chair of Garthdee Alpine Sports, Trustee Director of Sport Aberdeen, Director of Medical Illustration at NHS Grampian and committee member of IoD Aberdeen branch.  Dean participates in many sports and enjoys all aspects of keeping active outdoors; he has also gained professional qualifications in fitness training.

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

I have experience of strategy setting at many levels within the sector and was responsible for developing a framework for strategy development at the University. I have also worked with local HE/FE partners to develop a regional ICT strategy and with the local councils around a strategy for digital transformation of the city, engaging complex partnerships.

I also have experience of delivering business strategies for other membership organisations through the IoD and charitable strategy development for a similar financially sized sports charity. This experience along with my extensive financial planning and management expertise will ensure I am able to support ucisa deliver its strategic plan and provide a sound financial future for the organisation

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

I have extensive sector level experience, combined with a broad range of business and charitable knowledge that ensures I can deliver for ucisa and USL. I believe my skill set in some respects is unique and along with my passion for the sector, ucisa offers me a unique opportunity to apply my skills and expertise to benefit the membership and my sector as whole. Personally I find my charitable and other outside business interests to be extremely rewarding, providing me with an extensive network of likeminded professionals.

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Paul Butler - nominated for the position of Secretary

Director of Information and Library Services
University of Greenwich

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Paul has been the Director of the converged IT & Library service at the University of Greenwich since 2013. Previously he held Assistant Director roles in IT and Corporate Systems, consultancy roles within higher education, housing and financial services and has held several visiting lecturer positions. Paul has been involved with ucisa for approaching ten years.

In 2013 he developed the university’s first IT Strategy and over the following five years transformed the IT organisation and every aspect of the services it provides. He led on the opening of a new £80 million library and the consolidation of the central IT service into the newly refurbished student hub at the heart of the Greenwich campus. More recently Paul led on the development of a Digital Strategy for Greenwich which aims to further embed technology into every aspect of university life.

In addition to his roles at the University of Greenwich and ucisa Paul is a member of the Ellucian Global Executive Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Ellucian European Ellucian Advisory Council and a Trustee and Director of the Greenwich Students’ Union.

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

Having been in the Higher Education sector for 27 years and in the CIO level role at the University of Greenwich for seven years I am well positioned to help ucisa further develop its strategy. I was a member of the ucisa CISG committee for four years after which I joined the Executive Committee as a Trustee before being elected Secretary two years ago. During my time on the Trustee Board I have contributed directly on the development and implementation of our strategy, including working closely with the marketing agency to communicate the strategy and develop the ucisa branding and imaging. I also provided direct support for the implementation of the new web site (which was very challenging) and with two other trustees I appointed the new Chief Executive Officer.

My experience outside ucisa and my core role also helps bring insight into the organisation, including; being a Trustee of the Greenwich Students’ Union, Advisory Board membership of two suppliers, Chair of the Board of GOETEC (successor organisation to the Kent MAN) and several years teaching computing science and information strategy.

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

Noting my previous contribution above, using my experience with ucisa I am keen to help provide continuity for the organisation over the next two years as we continue to implement our strategy and take ucisa to the next level. Myself and the other Trustees have worked hard to reshape and revitalise ucisa, and whilst the time commitment for my work with ucisa is significant, I am keen to help for one more term before handing over the responsibility to others.


Nominees to the Board of Trustees

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Garod Barker

Director of IT and Estates
Richmond upon Thames College

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Garod has worked in IT for about 25 years, with about 20 years in FE and HE education sectors at director/board level

He is a proficient and pragmatic Director of IT and Estates with substantial experience and an excellent record of accomplishment in senior level strategic technology planning, leadership and service operations, supporting large complex computerised systems

Throughout his years of IT in education, he has specialised in transforming outdated and failing architecture and infrastructure. Whether it is network, Wi-Fi, server environments, enterprise storage, telephony, or cloud services I have extensive experience and knowledge.

Garod has held the most senior IT posts in two of London’s leading colleges.  Previously College of North West London and currently Richmond upon Thames College. In both of these roles, he has led on the development, design and implementation of the IT strategies, digital transformation and operational change.

Garod is experienced in leading multi million-pound capital build projects with new emerging technologies alongside Estates and facilities management

Garod specialises in Building and IT transformation business strategies, taking responsibility for the full life cycle. Including taking ownership for business process alignment, resource planning, governance and compliance

He is also an experienced focal technical point and very commercially aware

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

Throughout my 20 years of IT in education I have been leading on as well as implementing and supporting digital transformations in various colleges and universities.

I’m aware of current trends and wherever possible I will always try integrate emerging technologies into those transformations. Often taking that risk on behalf of the sector

Through this I like to pass on any knowledge and experience to help other education organisations succeed with their digital journeys

Having worked in both HE and FE it gives me a unique perspective to cover both sectors and allows me to fully utilise my network of contacts

I have been a member of ucisa for several years and a regular attendee at the London group meetings. Often giving talks and presentation to fellow colleagues 

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

I believe in trying to make a difference and want to help achieve expanding our membership more into the FE sector Tapping into an already large connected resource through the HE sector, I feel there is a huge amount of benefit that FE can learn and gain from this
Being the London group FE representative and utilising my numerous contacts I would like to help UCISA grow into being the number one professional expertise community for all of FE and HE education


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Arthur Clune

Director of Infrastructure and Faculty IT
University of York

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Arthur is passionate about the ability and potential of IT to revolutionise how Universities work. In his career, Arthur has worked as a researcher, a technical specialist in Cyber Security and more recently in a variety of management roles leading to his current position as Director of Infrastructure and Faculty and the University of York and this varied background means that he is heavily focused on the front line needs of teaching, research and administration rather than IT for its own.

It’s a truism to say that “every organisation is digital now”, but that is not yet reflected in the ways we work. Making this change in a University environment is hard, but this is where ucisa can help its members as with the recent inspirational study day at Teeside which highlighted the excellent work being done there.

In Arthur’s day job, he is an advocate for change, and have been leading the ongoing cloud transformation project at York which aims to change the way they run our infrastructure and develop software. Arthur hopes to bring to ucisa that experience and passion, combined with a wealth of experience in managing teams and change.

Arthur has been a trustee of ucisa for the past year and have been honoured to work with the team as ucisa has made substantial changes to the way it operates. He would very much like to continue helping, working with the CEO, staff and other trustees as ucisa goes forward building on these new foundations to expand and improve the services ucisa provides to members.

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

I bring experience both as a senior manager in HE with a wide and varied knowledge of the sector and as a trustee in two different organisations (ucisa and The Bike Rescue Project). My experience as Chair of Trustees of the Bike Rescue project gives me knowledge of how charities and the Charity Commission work, along with the experience of running a small business with payroll to meet.

I have extensive knowledge of the sector and the particular issues faced by IT teams in an academic environment, which are not always the same as those of a commercial organisation. Recognising and building on those areas of commonality within the sector is where ucisa adds enormous value to its members through events (I’ve been on the organising committee for IG in the past), groups and ad-hoc collaborations.

The challenge for ucisa is to ensure that the content of our events continues to challenge our members to change and to adopt best practice from outside as well as looking in. My experiences in delivering change in organisations, and as a regular speaker at events leaves me well placed to help ucisa ensure the expert knowledge it curates in its group delivers a compelling value proposition to its members.

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my last year as a ucisa trustee. There’s been some very big changes this year, and the ucisa staff and trustees have worked together to deliver them, resulting in an organisation on a sound basis to continue and grow into the future.

I hope that my contributions over the last year have helped this process along, and that I can continue to add value of the next year. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still more to be done.


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Sarah Cockrill

Head of Strategic Engagement and Business Analysis
Coventry University

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Sarah has worked in the HE sector for the last fifteen years at a number of institutions across central England, currently working at Coventry University as Head of Strategic Engagement and Business Analysis. As part of the ITS Executive Team at Coventry Sarah has led the strategic engagement, business analysis and strategy development function within the department. Her team are working closely with Deans and Directors across the university group to build a strategic roadmap for digital products that will reduce technical debt and help drive forward innovation to enable Coventry University to place itself at the leading edge of the sector.

Sarah has been an active member of the ucisa Project and Change Management Committee for over six years most recently holding the position of Co-Chair before stepping down in 2019. Through her time on the committee Sarah has been involved in authoring best practice guides, delivering webinars and events and arranging the annual CISG-PCMG conference. 

Sarah is an active mentor to early career Business Analysts and women working in the IT sector and works as an Examiner and Courseware reviewer for the British Computer Society. Sarah is also Chair of Governors at a Primary School in Coventry. Sarah was the winner of Computing magazines ‘Women in IT’ - Team Leader of the Year 2019 award for her achievements leading and developing her Team at Coventry.

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

I have worked in the HE sector for fifteen years at a number of institutions and during that time and through my ucisa role I have built an extensive network across the HE sector. During my role as Co-Chair of PCMG I have helped organised the conference, webinars, papers, working groups and many other activities to support the sector. I understand the challenge of working in the sector and the challenges that ucisa face supporting the sector as a member-led professional body. I feel this knowledge and experience will enable me to support ucisa in all areas of its values.

I have extensive experience working at a strategic level, setting strategy, reviewing performance against objectives, managing budgets and budgetary control. All of which will enable me to support ucisa in my role as a Trustee.

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

I am passionate about ucisa and its ethos. I have been a customer of ucisa since joining the HE sector fifteen years ago and for the last six years a member of ucisa’s PCMG committee, most recently as Co-Chair. As a sector we are very lucky to have this member-led professional body and I am keen to ensure the future of ucisa and to give back to the organisation. I have been Chair of Governors at a Primary school for the last six years during that time I have had to make some tough decisions to ensure that teaching remains at the highest quality in difficult financial conditions. I feel the time is right for me to hand over the reins to a new Chair and I would like to use my governance skills and expertise to support ucisa moving forward in the role of trustee.
Having spent the majority of my career in HE, I am passionate about the sector and ethos of ucisa. Offering a platform for members to build strong networks across institutions, ucisa enables sharing of knowledge and experience that can drive forward the use of digital technologies in education. ucisa also enables personal development through access to resources, mentoring, and knowledge sharing.

As Co-Chair of the PCMG committee I have seen demand for ucisa increase bringing with it a change in demand for people wanting easier access to digital resources and interaction platforms accessible from their own institutions and which complement the traditional offerings of conferences and events. I have also seen the challenge that committee members face gaining support from their institutions to fund travel and time away from their day job to work with ucisa increase.

ucisa is a resource the HE sector should be very proud of and I am eager to ensure the longevity of ucisa in these challenging times for the sector.


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Paul Harness

Director of Information Systems Services
Lancaster University

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Dr Paul Harness has been Director of Information Systems Services at Lancaster University since 2013. Paul is a digital leader with extensive experience of strategy, planning, organisational change and transformation in large and complex organisations. He is particularly interested in digital innovation and creating an entrepreneurial spirit within IT. Paul has led on the Digital Lancaster strategy which has recently resulted in an exciting partnership with Amazon Web Services and the #askLU project (

Prior to Lancaster, Paul was Director of IT Services at the University of Manchester (8 years) where he led the unification of two IT organisations during the merger with UMIST. This included at £30M business systems programme which at the time was by far the largest in the sector. Paul started his IT career at UMIST after a period as a post doc researcher in Glasgow. Paul progressed to become Director of IT at UMIST, a post he held for 3 years prior to the Manchester merger.

Paul is a Director of Lancaster University Network Services Ltd and a former Chair of the Russell Group IT Directors (RUGIT).

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

I have worked in HE CIO roles for the last 18 years with extensive experience across all areas of the sector. For the last 6 years I have been IT Director at Lancaster leading on Digital Strategy with an interest in innovation. Prior to Lancaster, I was Director of IT Services at the University of Manchester (8 years) where I led the unification of two IT organisations during the merger with UMIST. This included at £30M business systems programme which at the time was by far the largest in the sector.

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

I feel I have significant experience that I can contribute to UCISA as described above, and at the same time am keen to learn from others. I have been a co-opted member for the last 12 months and am keen to continue this work.


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Darren Tysoe

Chief Information Officer
Regent's University

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Darren Tysoe was appointed as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Regents University, in Regents Park, central London in July 2015. His responsibilities include oversight for IT, Management Information and Planning.

Prior to 20165, Darren spent over 20 years working in Further Education Colleges in London and the South East/East Midlands, including both academic and professional services roles, from teaching to senior management positions.

Previous roles have included Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Head of Key Skills, Assistant Director for e-learning, and Director of ILT. In his previous role in at Havering College of Further and Higher Education, Darren had oversight for IT, Learning Resources, Media Resources, and E-Learning.

Darren has been the Chairman of ucisa London for the past two years and a co-opted Trustee if ucisa for the past year. The group includes professional staff working in IT and related services in further education and higher education. Five to six meetings per year are held in London to share ideas and best practice.

Please describe how your experience will support ucisa delivering the strategic plan

For the past year, I have been privileged to have been a co-opted Trustee of ucisa during a period of considerable change and transition. With 25 years of working in further and higher education IT, I have extensive experience of supporting the adoption of technology to support teaching and learning and improving organisational effectiveness.

Along with the Chairman and other Trustees, I feel I have made a significant contribution with supporting our CEO with delivering changes including a new operating model for staff, moving to new offices, and the delivery of a new website.

In my role as Chairman of the ucisa London Group, I have helped to deliver a sustainable and well supported series of events throughout the year with growing attendance and strong feedback from delegates. This group formed three years ago to continue the work carried out by the London Metropolitan Group. Over the past three years, six events per year have been held, with representation from further education, sixth form colleges, adult education, as well as Universities. Membership has included senior managers such as IT Directors and CIOs, as well as middle managers and technicians.

Please describe your motivation for applying to be a ucisa Trustee or USL Director:

ucisa occupies a unique space of being a trusted advocate for the higher education IT sector and is growing its influence to include further education. In my day job as a CIO, I value the impact that ucisa can provide to my professional practice through its events, networking, surveys and other key outputs.

For the past year I have been a co-opted Trustee, working alongside other trustees, the Chairman and the new CEO to support the Board with delivering the strategic aims. I have the support of my university to continue to work with ucisa at a national level to help ensure that it continues to meet the needs of its members; enlarges its membership and delivers on its strategic objectives.