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SPA comprises a small team who have extensive experience of working in admissions, recruitment and widening participation within the HE sector. The team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01242 544891.
Janet Graham, Director
Janet was appointed as Director in 2006 to set up SPA, and has led the Programme since then. It is now the UK's leading independent and objective voice on good practice and fair admissions to higher education. Janet has spent her working life in higher education. Prior to joining SPA she was Head of the University of Cambridge Admissions Office, managing teams in admissions and data services, widening participation, and publications. She was Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment at the University of Leicester and Director of one of the first HEFCE Widening Participation to HE projects. As a Fulbright Fellow at Western Michigan University, USA, in 1994 she developed an interest in Strategic Enrolment Management, which has fed through to SPA's Applicant Experience Strategy. Earlier she worked at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) in roles including Head of Admissions. Janet was a member of the national Schwartz Admissions Review Group on Fair Admissions to Higher Education (2004), the Delivery Partnership on Improving Applications to HE and is a member of the UCAS Council.
Janet is responsible for SPA's stakeholder engagement round the UK, media enquiries and planning and managing SPA strategic objectives and the SPA team. Her current work includes leading on fair admissions with HE providers and stakeholders and research on and the application of contextualised admissions within the applicant experience. Please contact Janet if you are interested in discussing any of aspect of SPA's work.
Direct dial: 01242 544919
Mobile: 07733 335580
Dan Shaffer, Head of Professionalism in Admissions
Prior to joining SPA in December 2008, Dan held the post of Assistant Registrar at Aston University, responsible for admissions, enrolment, examinations and teaching facilities. Before Aston University, Dan developed his career in admissions across a range of roles at the University of Central England (now BCU), and additionally worked as a part-time visiting lecturer in Psychology alongside his admissions duties. Whilst at both institutions Dan was responsible for developing policy and good practice in higher education recruitment and welfare activities, as well as gaining practical knowledge of the student experience beyond admissions and contributing to national discussions on good practice.
Since joining SPA, Dan has researched and developed a wide range of SPA's good practice guidance, including: applicant experience; complaints and appeals; equality; and planning and managing admissions. His current work includes: raising unconscious and implicit bias awareness; using admissions to bridge the gap for care leavers; and considerations for positive action in admissions. Dan also leads on SPA’s co-ordination of the College HE Admissions Community of Practice.
Direct dial: 01242 544895
Mobile: 07880 623364
Jeni Clack, Admissions Support Manager
Jeni joined SPA in March 2014 and has supported the development of good practice across a range of SPA's objectives. Most recently, this has included reviewing SPA's good practice on interviews and on entry requirements, and developing an online toolkit module on applicant complaints and appeals. Jeni led the redevelopment of the SPA website and is responsible for overseeing SPA’s online good practice toolkit for HE providers. She has contributed to several of SPA’s National Expert Think Tanks (on admissions decision-making; engaging with qualification reforms; fair admissions) and is a member of SPA’s College HE Admissions Community of Practice Executive.
Jeni is currently exploring how HE providers can support estranged students throughout the applicant experience and would be keen to hear from anyone who already has support in place, in admissions, for estranged students.
Before joining SPA, Jeni held the post of Access and Admissions Officer at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. The role combined overall operational responsibility for the College's undergraduate admissions process and the design and delivery of its outreach programme. Prior to working at Corpus Christi College, she coordinated admissions at Mansfield College, Oxford. Jeni has a degree in English and American Studies from Keele University.
Direct dial: 01242 545733
Mobile: 07717 488061
Amy Smith, Admissions Support Manager
Before joining the SPA team in 2017, Amy was Admissions Officer (Qualifications) at The University of Sheffield, responsible for providing advice and policy information across the University on qualifications and related developments within the pre-HE sector. In this role, Amy advised both internally and externally on numerous qualifications related topics and presented at several conferences and events. She also represented the University on external committees and groups, including the UCAS Qualifications Advisory Group / Qualifications Information Group, the Arty Admissions Group and the Russell Group Qualifications Network, to which she was Secretary. Amy has a particular interest in UK benchmark qualifications and qualification reform, qualifications equivalencies in entry criteria and offer making and the role of contextual information in admissions decision making.
Before working at the University of Sheffield, Amy coordinated undergraduate admissions and enquiries at Nottingham Trent University and held roles in compliance and postgraduate admissions at the University of Nottingham. Amy has a degree in modern languages from the University of Nottingham.
Direct dial: 01242 544705
Mobile: 07810 052713