Name the new sector agency: we have a winner

If we learned one thing from Wonkfest, it’s that we can never underestimate the creativity and talent of our community. A month ago, we asked you for your suggestions for a name for the Alison Johns helmed mega-agency that will take on the roles and responsibilities of the Equality Challenge Unit, Leadership Foundation and Higher Education Academy. And you did not disappoint!

With more than 30 responses, our inbox and comment queue were stuffed with the hilarious, cynical and occasionally disturbing fruits of your imagination. We sent the entire list to Alison, who suggested we reused some of the AI analytics technology that supported the 2017 Wonkhe Awards process to reach a final ranking.

Although the new mega-agency naming decision has not yet been made, and we need hardly add that we expect that this will use very different criteria, we are delighted to bring you (in reverse order) the top five suggestions.

The Openly Picked Five Interesting and Valuable Efforts

At 5: Norm Kemp suggestions of the “Bureau for Equality, Leadership and Teaching”, and, if not, the “Bureau for Research into Academic Careers and Equality Standards”. We are always impressed by a BELT and BRACES approach to these things.

At 4: Continuing the trouser-related theme, Luke Myer’s suggestion of the Higher Education Research, Policy & Equality Service seemed a little too painful (and the enclosed logo far too pathophysiologically urogenital for publication)

At 3: Andy Coultard’s essentialist suggestion of the “Higher Education Agency for things not in other Agencies”. There’s not really much we can add to that. Thanks Andy.

At 2: The ridiculously good-looking Zoolander fan Paul Ashby suggested The Andrew Adonis Institute for Universities That Can’t Teach Good And Want To Do Other Stuff Good Too.

But there can be only one winner, and the data pointed to Julie Walkling (Anglia Ruskin University) for the magnificent “Higher Education Leadership with Strategic Brief for Excellence in Lifelong Learning for Staff” – HELS BELLS.

Most sector acronym dynamos save their best work for Jisc funded projects, and Julie is no exception – she contributed to the wonderfully named “Students FIRST” (Financial Interventions to assist Retention and Student Transitions) project.

She exclusively told Wonkhe “I am honoured to receive this accolade and be part of the genesis of an office offering New Opportunities for Great University Furtherance and Futures (NO GUFF)

Julie will be receiving her commemorative copy of the Higher Education and Research Act, signed in felt-tip by Jo Johnson, in the post.

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