It’s all change at Wonkhe Towers this month. Our brilliant editor Debbie McVitty is about to have another baby, and that means she’s heading off to look after it for the rest of 2022 and to try not to think about higher education policy.
Seriously, she’s really gone so don’t try emailing her your article ideas… It also means I’m to be a dad for the second time (or the third if you include Wonkhe as our first, and many do). Now while Debbie can’t ever be truly replaced, we’ve taken the opportunity to make some exciting changes to help us through this period. And while I’m here, I thought I’d let you know about some other plans and growth happening at the same time.
I am delighted to announce that Aaron is joining the team, for at least the period while Debbie is away, as Director of Partnerships. Most people in HE know Aaron, but if you don’t, he’s currently at Advance HE, IDP Connect, the Chair of BPP University and on the Council of Goldsmiths. He’s held a number of other roles over the years and has been a longstanding friend of the show. We first worked together when he was VP HE at NUS and I was a lowly policy researcher there. When we realised that we needed some extra help for our partnership work with Debbie away, he was always going to be our first call. I’m really excited to work with him again and he’s already making waves in the team. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know DK as our longstanding Associate Editor, famous for his work on HE data and his arcane areas of policy knowledge (not to mention his singing voice for the podcast fans). I am pleased to announce that as of now, he’s Acting Editor, keeping the editorial ship on the straight and narrow through the uncertain choppy waters of higher education [choose your own metaphor here – or don’t as per our style guide], taking responsibility for our blogs pipeline, daily briefings and everything else editorial. DK is the longest-serving member of the team apart from me, and asking him to stand in for Debbie this year was an absolute no-brainer. I am sure you’ll join me in wishing him all the best in the role. Do send ale. email@example.com.
James has been at the top of our “must hire” list for some time, having made real waves at the University of Liverpool on sustainability, policy and civic engagement from an HE angle. He even found time to write a book about it. And as he’s leaving the university for an interesting new phase in his career, we’ve found a way of annexing some of his time to be an Associate Editor for research and innovation. We’ve been looking ways for boost the depth of our analysis of research policy for some time, and with so much on the table right now for policy, James is on a mission to make sure we have some of the best coverage around and stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Not only from his own analysis on the site and in briefings but from voices in the wider research policy community. We’ve got some really exciting plans in this space for the next few months so watch this space.
Our Wonkhe SUs subscription service continues to grow beyond anything we might have imagined when set up just a few years ago, and so we’re expanding the team to match it. I am extremely pleased to welcome Livia Scott as our new Wonkhe SU’s Community and Policy Officer, joining Jim and the SUs this summer. A history student who has completed both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, Livia served as the full time elected Education Officer at Newcastle University Students’ Union in 2021/22. We can’t wait to welcome her to the team.
One more thing
That’s it for the personnel changes. There’s just more thing I wanted to let you know about. That is that I am currently deep into a huge project rebuilding Wonkhe from the ground up. That’s right – the website, email briefings, events and everything else we do are getting an amazingly sophisticated treatment on a level we’ve never been able to manage before, having strung together historic versions and patched over issues when we needed, Wonkhe has been in danger of falling into the digital sea for some time. A subscriber portal! Automatic billing! A search system that works! And so, so much more. It’s not only going to make Wonkhe the platform it’s always deserved to be, it will do everything you’ve been asking for and more. It also lays the groundwork for our future ambitions of which we have more than one or two…. If you don’t hear much from me for a little while, it’s because I’m either with the baby (launching imminently) or the new Wonkhe – launching later in 2022.
Thanks for reading and see you soon.
Mark Leach, Editor in Chief