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Senate External Review

External Review Page

Senate Review

As part of our commitment to good governance practice, the University of Exeter commissioned an external consultancy to undertake an independent review of its Senate arrangements.

Following an open and competitive tender process, Halpin Partnership (Halpin) was appointed to conduct an independent review of the effectiveness of the University’s Senate arrangements.

Halpin is a specialist higher education consultancy and their assigned consulting team for the Senate Review has extensive governance expertise across the higher education, public and corporate sectors. The biographies of the Halpin team that undertook the review are provided below.


The Review Process

Between June and September 2021, the Halpin review team, led by Professor Wyn Morgan undertook an open and inclusive consultation process giving all members of Senate and University of Exeter staff the opportunity to participate via either a survey, one-to-one interviews or group discussions.

Upon completion of the review, the Halpin review team presented the final report to a specially convened Senate Review Steering Group, who took the findings and recommendations to Senate, then Council.


Senate Review Steering Group

Halpin’s point of contact during the review was through an assigned Steering Group represented by the following members University of Exeter staff.

  • Professor Mark Goodwin - Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), Chair
  • Mike Shore-Nye - Registrar and Secretary 
  • Professor Chrissie Thirlwell, College of Medicine and Health (elected)
  • Professor Helen Berry, College of Humanities (ex-officio)
  • Penny Dinh - Vice President Education, Student’s Guild 
  • Charlotte Agnew - President of Welfare and Inclusivity, Falmouth Students’ Union 
  • Chris Lindsay- Director of Compliance, Governance and Risk
  • Totty Brobyn - Senate Coordinator

The remit of the Steering Group was to oversee the Senate Review process. In practice that included commissioning, setting the review scope, agreeing the key lines of enquiry and monitoring progress in relation to the project deliverables against the timeline set out.


Scope of the Senate Review

The scope of the review was agreed with the Senate Review Steering Group and included;

  • The general operation of the Senate, including the management of business.
  • The effectiveness and quality of Senate’s decision-making set against its powers and constitution as defined by the relevant University ordinances.
  • How the Senate functions within the wider institutional governance arrangements, particularly the alignment of academic and corporate governance.
  • How the Senate and the Council work together, and how the Council seeks assurance with regard to the effectiveness of the work of Senate.
  • The awareness of the work of Senate within the institution – its “visibility”.
  • How Senate engages with and promotes the interests of the academic community.
  • How Senate engages with and promotes the interests of the student body.
  • The membership of the Senate, with regard to inclusivity and diversity, training, culture and behaviours.
  • How the Exeter Senate compares with sector best practice in a rapidly changing HE environment.


Following the successful completion of the External Review of Senate, the report was completed and formally submitted to Senate for discussion on 19th November 2021. Use this link to view the Halpin - University of Exeter Senate Review Final Report


Senate Review Implementation Group

The membership of the Senate Review Implementation Group can be found below and the Terms of Reference were approved at the first meeting in January 2022.

  • Professor Neil Gow - Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), Ex-Officio Senate Member, Chair
  • Totty Brobyn - Senate Coordinator
  • Professor Joao Florencio - Elected HUMS Senate Member
  • Bevelery Hawkins - Academic Non-Senate Member and Taught Faculty Board Member
  • Chris Lindsay - Director of Compliance, Governance and Risk
  • Ellie Ricks - Ex-Officio Student Senate Member
  • Professor Nick Stone - Elected CEMPS Senate Member
  • Jo Thompson-Coon - Elected CMH Senate Member

The remit of the Review Implementation Group is to oversee the implementation process, including but not limited to, the prioritisation of recommendations, agreeing the timetable for implementation and reporting to Senate on its progress. 

The group will be using a tracking document to keep up to date on actions, decisions and overall progress of the implementation plan. You can view this tracker by clicking on the link below:

Implementation Tracker


Halpin Review Team

Susie Hills, Joint CEO (Project Director)

Susie has worked in the charity, corporate and HE sectors, and brings her cross-sector perspective to Halpin’s clients. She has worked with a number of institutions on highly customised governance reviews including Universities UK (UUK), The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), Cardiff Metropolitan University, the Universities of Kent and Westminster, UCL and the Royal College of Art.

Previously as CSR Manager for Tesco plc., Susie was responsible for the governance of CSR policy and practice, setting and reporting on KPIs for environmental and social impact across the international business and working with the plc Board.

Susie is a Trustee of the Halpin Trust, and until recently was a member of the Board of Governors at Plymouth College of Art.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Consulting Fellow

Until 2020, Wyn served as the Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield leading strategic development of learning and teaching and agendas for student engagement, mental health, curriculum design and digital teaching.

He led the consultation, creation and subsequent implementation of the University of Sheffield’s Learning and Teaching Strategy (2016 - 2021) and in April 2020, oversaw the successful University-wide pivot to online learning as a result of Covid-19, including the adoption of a “safety net” policy for student outcomes and redesign of assessment to be wholly online.

Wyn has a track record of leading university-wide initiatives including those designed to empower departments to deal with long-standing challenges around assessment burden, feedback, staff workload, student well-being and recruitment.

Prior to Sheffield, he was Assistant Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Nottingham where he designed and led the (QAA and TEF commended) University-wide Teaching Transformation Programme.

He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Osaro Otobo, Consulting Fellow

Osaro is currently Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council and is a member of multiple education and non-profit Boards. Her areas of expertise include the student voice and student democracy in governance and EDI.

A former student at the University of Hull, Osaro was elected for three successive years to work in the best interest of students at Hull, was a postgraduate student trustee and two-term President at Hull’s Students’ Union.

From lived experiences, Osaro created the Make Diversity Count campaign, calling for all UK organisations to have a robust discrimination policy, setting out how they deal with complaints of discrimination in a more effective and transparent way. 

She believes in ensuring all students, especially those from liberation and widening participation groups, are supported effectively throughout their education journey. She also believes that student voices should be at the heart of an evidence-based approach to implementing change and getting meaningful, long-lasting results in the higher education sector. 


If you have any questions, please contact the Senate team via


Declaration of Interest

Halpin Partnership CEO Susie Hills is acting as Project Director for the Senate Review, a supervisory role that oversees and supports the review team. Susie is a Trustee of the Halpin Trust which has awarded grants to the University of Exeter. The Halpin Trust is a separate entity to Halpin Partnership Limited and we foresee no conflict of interest related to Susie Hills participation in the Senate Review.