Academic Affairs Committee

This Committee is responsible for monitoring the University's performance against the key strategies of Teaching, Learning and Assessment, and Research. The Committee is also responsible for ensuring that high levels of academic standards and student experience are achieved and maintained.

 Academic Affairs Committee - Constitution and Terms of Reference (CTRs)

Marion Plant

Marion Plant, OBE


Marion Plant is Principal and Chief Executive of a large FE College; North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

She is also Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which sponsors four secondary schools. Marion has just completed a 3 year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education and in March 2018 she was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

She serves on several national/ regional bodies including the following: Board member for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Programme Board, Trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England), Deputy-Chair and Trustee of WorldSkills UK and Member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group.

Marion is also a member of Board of Governors and Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee.


Aderonke Ajibade

Student Governor

Aderonke is the Vice-President for Education at Coventry University Students’ Union and a member of the Union’s Board of Trustees.

As the Vice-President for Education Aderonke wil serve as the voice and support for students across the Coventry University group and will ensure that students are at the heart of every decision taken.

Aderonke has served as the postgraduate taught officer in 2018/19, and as a volunteer at the Academic Development Centre and Sustainability Committee.  She holds a Masters degree in sustainability and environment management from Coventry University.

Aderonke is also a member of Board of Governors.


Kevin Baughan

Co-opted Governor

Kevin is the former Deputy Chief Executive of Innovate UK where he focused on the development and delivery of Innovate UK’s investment portfolio regionally, nationally and globally. Progressing from roles as Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Chief Development Officer, Kevin championed and pioneered many new important initiatives such as the proposals which led to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the forging of closer working partnerships with Venture Capital funds leading to the Investment Acceleration programmes.

Kevin has an extensive track record in delivering transformative growth through leading edge innovations, in particular for the telecommunications industry, where he held leadership positions with BT, Nortel Networks and Virgin Media. Whilst Director of Technical Strategy at Virgin Media: Kevin pioneered Virgin’s rollout of the UK’s first mass-market superfast broadband in 2008; championed Virgin’s migration to a new generation digital entertainment service in 2010 and then as Director of Wireless, was responsible for the roll out of high-speed WiFi access across the London Underground in time for the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Aston University and an MBA with distinction from Imperial College.

In addition to his role as a Governor at Coventry University Group, Kevin is a Trustee on the Board of the City & Guilds Group and an industry advisor on innovation.

Kevin is also a member of Board of Governors.


Blessed Pepple

Student Governor

Blessed was elected as the Vice-President for Internationalisation and Culture, and is now the Acting President of the Students’ Union. As President, Blessed chairs the executive committee of the Union. He also works to enhance the international experience of students on campus by collaborating with key departments at the University, ensuring the involvement of students with activities leading up to the City of Culture 2021. Blessed was previously the Deputy Campus Officer and course representative for CU Coventry.

Blessed is also a member of Board of Governors.

Fiona Secondino

Fiona Secondino

Co-opted (Staff) Governor (Professional Services)

Fiona was appointed as Staff Governor in September 2016. Fiona joined Coventry University in 1988 as a secretarial assistant working for the University Secretary and Assistant Director, Administration. In 1990 she joined the Committee Services operating in committee and governance positions. In 2005 she became interested in project management and joined the Business Development Support Office as a project officer, before being promoted to the post of senior project manager.

In November 2014 Fiona became the Head of the Research Delivery Support Unit within the newly formed Research Office. During her employment at the University Fiona has also been a company secretary for the University’s spin-out companies and a director and company secretary for an out of school club at her local primary school for which she secured lottery funding to aid its establishment. Fiona is a Coventry University Coach and Mentor and a Mentor for the Association of University Administrators.

Fiona is also a member of Board of Governors.

Liz Watson

External Co-opted Member

Appointed in March 2016, Liz is in her second term as an External Co-opted Member of the Academic Affairs Committee.  Liz is a Chartered Engineer and worked at Rolls-Royce on aircraft engines until she retired in 2015. She has held various senior management posts during her long career designing and developing aircraft engines and supporting them in service.

Liz has also led extensive research programmes with universities and industry partners to develop the next generation low emissions technologies. She was the first woman to become Chief Engineer at Rolls-Royce. She has led the company product safety team reporting to the Rolls-Royce Board on product risk management. 

In 2015 Liz won the Women in Science and Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award for her years in industry. She is a keen supporter of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles.

Liz is only a member of Academic Affairs Committee.