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New VP for Largest Lecturers Union

Dennis Hayes, has been elected as the next vice president of NATFHE, the UK’s largest university and college lecturers union. Dennis is potentially the last VP of the NATFHE with the potential merger of the AUT and the NATFHE. Dennis is currently the Head of the Centre for Professional Learning at Canterbury Christ Church University College and will be taking up the VP role from the 31st May.

Dennis first became active in his NATFHE branch in 1983 at Thurrock Technical College where he worked as Head of Basic Education. In 1993, he became Head of Post Compulsory Education at Canterbury and since 1997, he has been a member of NATFHE’s National Executive Council representing branches in higher education institutions in the south east.

Dennis’s work in further education teacher training means he is in close contact with the FE sector and he views the potential merger of NATFHE and the Association of University Teachers (AUT) as the creation of a powerful force that would be highly advantageous to NATFHEs 42,000 FE members.

Dennis said: “To me, this vote shows the support of ordinary members of the union for the potential that exists in the NATFHE and AUT merger. While obviously in the interests of HE members, more importantly the new union will bring FE members into a truly post-compulsory union which will be a major force for change in the FE sector.”

On his priorities for both sectors, Dennis said: “Further education needs a visionary statement of its philosophy that sets out an agenda to give every college something like the status of the community colleges in the United States. You cant find this anywhere. Without it, colleges will be forever chasing opportunistic bits of funding and will be forever undervalued.

“It is an absolute necessity for research funding to be distributed equitably to all higher education institutions to undermine the disastrous split into research and teaching only universities.”

He added: “What I would encourage throughout the post-compulsory sector is a climate of open debate and discussion – real freedom of speech, which is the essence of education.”

Dennis will take up the office of Vice President 2005/6 on 31 May at the close of the unions national conference in Eastbourne. He will become NATFHE President a year later. Paul Mackney, NATFHE General Secretary, congratulated Dennis Hayes and passed on the unions debt of gratitude to the other candidate, Fawzi Ibrahim, who has been honorary treasurer at NATFHE since 1998. Jacqui Johnson, a lecturer at Bracknell and Wokingham College and NATFHE activist of 20 years, has been elected as Honorary Treasurer.

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