HEIR Network

Higher Education Institutional Research Network

About HEIR

HEIR Planning Group

Rachel Bowden (Co-Chair) is Head of the Evaluation and Policy Department at the University of Brighton (2020 conference host). She joined the University a long time ago as a Research Assistant in the University’s Education Research Centre, supporting the then Vice-Chancellor, the late Professor Sir David Watson with his research in higher education policy and practice.  She has worked in a number of roles in strategy and planning and was Deputy Director of the Strategic Planning Office for over 10 years.  She has also led the University’s engagement in a number of national institutional research projects, including What Works? Student Retention and Success Programme (with Advance HE) and the HEFCE-funded collaborative Postgraduate Support Scheme – Postgraduate Experience Project. She is a member of a number of sector groups, including the AGCAS Data Insights (Graduate Data) Group.

Matt Hiely-Rayner (Co-Chair) Director of Strategic Planning & Change, Buckinghamshire New University Matt is Director of Strategic Planning & Change at Buckinghamshire New University where he is developing a more data-driven approach to strategic change, including the introduction of predictive analytics to increase student prospects of success. With a particular interest in HE metrics that approximate the student experience, Matt previously worked on using value added scores to illustrate the unexplained gaps in degree classifications between student groups and was previously at Kingston University, overseeing the University’s institutional research function that evaluated the success of the University’s efforts to address its attainment gaps. The value added metrics derive from Matt’s other occupation, which is compiling the rankings for the Guardian’s University Guide.

Matt’s first attendance at the HEIR annual conference was the 2014 conference at Oxford Brookes and has enjoyed increasing involvement with the network ever since.

Marthie Cronje, Head of Data Analytics & Insight, University of Southampton, UK
Marthie is the current Chair of the HEIR Network Planning Group. She joined the University of Southampton  in September 2016, and currently heads up the Institutional Research team there. She has worked in Higher Education almost continuously since 1999, both in South Africa and the UK, with a stint at Jisc from 2014 to 2016. At Kingston University she was involved in student number planning and monitoring as well as data analysis relating to institutional performance and benchmarking. In South Africa, she was on the Executive Committee of the Southern African Association of Institutional Research (SAAIR), while working at the University of Johannesburg as Institutional Researcher. Marthie especially enjoys the technical aspects of building datasets and developing data visualisations

Steve Woodfield, International education policy and research specialist at the British Council
Steve is Associate Professor in Higher Education Policy and Management, and Head of Research, in the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre (LTEC) at Kingston University. Steve undertakes externally-funded research projects and consultancy, and institutional research projects, on a range of higher education topics, but particularly related to management and leadership and internationalisation. His work is focused on assisting policy makers, higher education practitioners, and university leaders to understand and assess the implications of strategic change in tertiary education and to design and implement strategies that can assist agencies and institutions to engage with changing political, economic, social and technological contexts. He is also the author the chapter on institutional research in in the UK and Ireland in the 2015 book ‘Institutional Research and Planning in Higher Education: Global Contexts and Themes’ 

Aisling McKenna, Director of Quality Promotion and Institutional Research, Dublin City University
Aisling is the DCU Director of Quality Promotion and Institutional Research at Dublin City University.  Her work is focused on promoting, supporting and facilitating continuous quality improvement activities across academic and administrative units throughout the University.  Her office also leads the university’s approach to applying an evidence informed approach to institutional planning, strategy development, and quality enhancement at Dublin City University.   She has worked within the higher education sector since 2007, and previous to her current role, was Institutional Research and Analysis Officer for Dublin City University.

Dr. Phil Gravestock, Dean, College of Learning & Teaching at University of Wolverhampton (2019 conference host)
Bio coming soon…

Gráinne McDonagh, Head of Insights & Planning, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (2018 conference host)
Gráinne joined the Insights & Planning team at RCSI in August 2017. The RCSI Office of Insights and Planning (IPO) works collaboratively across the institution to provide strategically relevant information and analysis to enable senior management decision-making that aligns institutional strategy with opportunities to further the academic and research reputation, performance and capability of the organisation. Gráinne joined RCSI in November 2000 and has held various management and project executive roles in professional (surgical) training, higher education (university) and transnational education related activities. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience managing projects relating to the strategic and operational development of the university.

Dr. Gerald Prescott, University of St. Andrews (2021 conference host)
Bio coming soon…

Ian Scott, Associate Dean for Student Experience, Oxford Brookes University
Ian has been Associate Dean for Student Experience within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences since March 2013. Ian’s first degree was in Applied Biology before progressing onto gaining his Ph.D. in Avian Ecology and Physiology from Durham University. Ian’s first teaching post at was at Suffolk College, where he taught Physiology, before moving on to lecture Ecology at De Montfort University. Research interests in aspects of Pedagogy and work based learning led to a position at City University. Ian is particularly interested in mentorship, and learning in non-formal environments.

Past/founding members:
Aoife Flanagan
Helena Lim
Steve May
Clare Milsom