As part of efforts to strengthen its offer for further education (FE) members, Jisc has appointed Debra Gray, the principal of Grimsby Institute, as a trustee.
Nominated to the board by the Association of Colleges (AoC), Debs, as she prefers to be known, took up her post late in 2019 and says that she hopes to ensure that FE has strong representation on the board and is looking forward to supporting the sector in developing its edtech practice.
A native of Sheffield, Debs led an outstanding public services team at a college in South Yorkshire for many years before moving to a college in Derbyshire, where she took a struggling faculty and turned it into an “outstanding” department within 18 months, winning an AoC Beacon Award in the process.
Debs was appointed deputy principal of curriculum and quality for the Grimsby Institute Group in February 2014, and principal and deputy chief executive in November 2015, but adds that she will “always be a lecturer at heart” and still loves to get into a classroom when the opportunity affords itself.
“I love my job. I think college staff have the best job in the world because we get to make a difference every single day. Colleges are life changing and the incubators of the next great academics, entrepreneurs and industries.
“Part of my job as a college leader is to give learners snapshots of what their life and work might look like in 10, or 20 years’ time, and to show them how best to prepare for changes so they don’t get left behind. Technology is key to those developments, just as it has been throughout history.
“That’s why, at Grimsby Institute, we work closely with employers to develop future-focused programmes, initiatives and projects that give learners a taste of the world as it might be in the future.
“By exploring the principles behind emerging technology, we are preparing learners not just for jobs that may not yet exist, but for a life that will look very different in the future - and supporting them on that journey.
"Jisc is at the forefront of education technology and it’s something I am passionate about, so becoming a trustee seemed a great fit.”
Jisc chair David Maguire says:
“Debra is a well-known and respected leader in the FE sector and I am delighted that she has agreed to join Jisc as a trustee, where she will strengthen the FE membership of the board.
“Grimsby Institute in general and Debra in particular are innovators in the use of technology to improve the student experience and to reach business goals, and that experience and advocacy will be valuable to Jisc and inspirational to its members.”