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CDN appoints three new Board Members

Three new members have been appointed to the College Development Network (CDN) Board: Judith Neill, Julia Belgutay and Professor Ken Thomson OBE. Their term began on Monday 19 September.

Paul Houlden, Chair of the CDN Board said:

“We are delighted to welcome three such experienced and high calibre new Board Members to CDN. Judith, Julia and Ken bring a wealth of knowledge to their role. The CDN Board and team very much look forward to working with them as we continue to support the college sector.”

Judith Neill is General Manager at Pinnacle Growth Group and has over 20 years’ national and international experience that has seen her successfully support the development and commercial growth of numerous multi-sector organisations. Having operated across various private and public sector organisations, including those governed by international regulatory bodies, Judith has experience in various levels of governance and the implementation of processes to support adherence. Judith has successfully helped steer and drive a variety of organisations forward utilising quantitative and qualitative analysis to support key decision making, whist also investing significantly in her relationship and people engagement skills, thereby developing an extensive national and international network.

Judith said:

“I am delighted to be appointed to the CDN Board and look forward to working alongside the Board members and the extended CDN team to support the organisation’s vision and goals.”

Julia Belgutay is a senior policy manager, research and evidence, at the Association of Colleges. Prior to taking up that post in 2021, Julia was a journalist for over 20 years, starting off in general news and specialising in further education and skills for the last decade at the Tes and Tes Scotland. In her time, she won a number of education journalism awards for her investigations around the work of colleges and training providers. Born and raised in Germany, Julia came to Scotland to attend St Andrews University in 2003, before gaining a Masters in Journalism Studies at the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies in 2008 and then moving into a junior reporter role at the Sunday Times, Scotland.

Julia said:

“CDN plays a crucial role in supporting the college sector and adding to the evidence base that will help colleges and their staff in Scotland, and beyond, work more effectively for students. I look forward to contributing to that work as a member of the board.”

Professor Ken Thomson OBE, is Principal and Chief Executive, at Forth Valley College. He became Principal and Chief Executive of Forth Valley College in 2013 having previously held posts of Depute Principal, Director of Learning and prior to that, Head of Science. Ken is a member of the Colleges Scotland Principals Group (CPG) with lead responsibility for the sector’s Digital Ambition and School College Partnerships. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum and Assessment Board as the Scottish Colleges representative. He is a Board member of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Chairs the SQA Qualifications Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee and Advisory Council. Ken has been a Board member of HES and on the Board of Trustees for Jisc, both roles held from 2014 to January 2021. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and was awarded Regional IoD Director of the Year in 2020 and in 2021 was delighted to receive a special IoD honorary award for Leadership in Learning in recognition of his work in the education, learning and skills sector. In 2019 Ken was awarded the OBE for services to education, economic development and the communities of the Forth Valley area. 

Ken said:

“I am delighted to take on this role on the Board of CDN and excited about how we can help enhance Scotland’s college sector for the future. Obviously the College has worked very closely with CDN over the years and I know first-hand the great work that they do. I am looking forward to working with them and helping them to make the college sector even better for the people of Scotland.”

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