Our Lead Members

We create & shape policy that supports our higher education institutions to be successful

As well as convening policy committees, Principals also lead on other important sector-wide issues. They drive policy development and engage with a variety of stakeholders, representing the sector.

The term of office for Lead Members is 2 years, with the possibility of serving a second term. For AY 2018/19, Universities Scotland Lead Members cover Health, Mental Health and Gender-based violence.

Lead Member for Gender-Based Violence

This role is held jointly by Dr Sandra Cairncross, Assistant Principal Widening Participation & Community at Edinburgh Napier University and our Convener, Professor Andrea Nolan. This is a relatively new role, created in early 2018, to lead the sector’s work to prevent and tackle the issue of gender based violence (GBV). The first project Universities Scotland delivered in our work against GBV in 2018 was to create and distribute 150,000 wallet-sized support cards containing helpline numbers to support staff in every college and university should they need to respond to a disclosure of GBV. Other priorities include revision of the UUK/Pinsent Mason Guidelines for student misconduct to reflect Scottish policy and legislation in gender-based based violence and work with Universities UK to develop guidance for institutions where there are cases of staff-to-student sexual misconduct. Universities Scotland is represented on the Scottish Government’s Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities Working Group.

Lead Member for Health

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, is the Lead Member for Health. Peter is responsible for taking the strategic lead  on issues relating to controlled subjects in health (medicine, dentistry and nursing and midwifery). Current priorities including engaging closely with the development of Outcome Agreements in this space and the numbers (and processes around determining) student places.

Lead Member for Mental Health

Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, is the Lead Member for Mental Health. As Lead Member, Pamela will develop and advocate for Universities Scotland’s positions in the area of student mental health. A new role for AY 2018/19, our early focus has been on advocating mandatory strategic partnerships between the NHS and higher education institutions to tackle a number of challenges around referral pathways and information sharing. We’re also leading a new cross-sector group which is developing a research proposal with an aim of building an evidence base of mental health best practice and students’ views on the support currently provided by universities.