Our Board of Trustees
Doug Nicholls (Chair)
I first came to Ruskin events when I was a part time youth worker in Oxford in the mid-seventies.
I have always seen it as a powerhouse of ideas and opportunities for the Labour and Trade Union Movement and sought to promote and support its activities.
As General Secretary of the Community and Youth Workers’ Union from 1987-2012, I was centrally involved in the support of these areas of work and the development of progressive policies for young people. I served on the National Youth Agency for over 20 years. I remain Chair of Choose Youth, the national campaign for youth services.
In 2012 I was elected General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) which has a long association with Ruskin.
I am passionate about the transformative and liberating effects of trade union and adult education and informal learning and have written widely on these topics as well as on working class history and literature.
Kevin Flanagan (Vice-Chair)
As a mature student in the mid-seventies, I have retained a passion for promoting education and learning for adults and young people, especially in the world of work. I returned to establish St Antony’s Centre in Manchester promoting economic development, social justice and wider community development across the North West.
I am the current Director of the St Antony’s Centre charity, and have retained a strong involvement in my Trade Union as a Branch Secretary and a National President of the GMB Union Commercial Services Section.
As Director of the Charity I have responsibility for 18 staff working across four regional centres and in Northern Ireland.
I work with our European partners through the European Centre for Workers’ Questions (EZA) having organised two European Conferences in recent years on Digital Work and Social Welfare issues.
I am a widower with three children and four grandchildren.
I have enjoyed a successful and varied 30 year career in adult education, starting as a part time tutor, progressing through management in a large Further Education College and culminating in the role of Deputy Principal, directing curriculum and student experience at Working Men’s College. My career highlight has to have been leading my team there to achieve the grade of outstanding in our OFSTED inspection.
I am now retired from paid work and am relishing the opportunity to maintain involvement in my chosen field through voluntary work and in particular as a governor at Ruskin College.
I am Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University. I have served as a member of the University’s senior management team since 2011 and lead on international student recruitment. I also lead a Faculty of sector-leading teaching, research and knowledge exchange in Fine Art, Film and Digital Media, Music, Publishing, Computing, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture and the Built Environment.
I led the initiative to establish a Confucius Institute in Oxford in 2016 and was the founding director of University Technical College Swindon. Previously, I was a board member of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and a director of 15 Cornwall, the restaurant and social enterprise set up by TV chef, Jamie Oliver. I was also the founding director of Source FM community radio station.
Prior to moving to Oxford, I was Director of the School of Media at Falmouth University and Head of Film and Television at Bournemouth University. I helped establish the UK’s only Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) at Bournemouth and Skillset Screen and Media Academies at both universities.
I have had a parallel career as a filmmaker and television producer. Alongside my broadcast work, I have produced cinema commercials, films and educational videos for clients including all of the leading mental health charities, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Home Office.
After graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, I qualified as a barrister and practised for two years before going “in-house” as a corporate legal advisor. As the Group Legal Advisor of the Automobile Association I held a wide range of responsibilities across many commercial enterprises. On leaving the AA after nearly 20 years I entered the field of local government, and became Manager Legal Services of Oxford City Council. I am thus experienced in both the private and public sectors. This post at Ruskin has allowed me to become more directly engaged in pursuing my interest in higher and further education, and my wish to see its benefits enjoyed by all sections of society. I will seek to bring my legal experience to ensure the sound governance of college affairs.
Bio coming soon.
I have been an activist in the labour and trade union movement for over 45 years and and involved in further and higher education in a number of capacities for 35 years. Until taking early retirement in January 2019, I was Deputy General Secretary of the National Education Union and, prior to that, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. I have been Chair of the Board of Governors for a large and successful FE college in London, a trustee of a training provider, a college Vice-Principal and Clerk to the Corporation. I was a Governor of a former polytechnic and for nine years was Chief Executive of the Association for College Management. I was a recipient of the NBM award for leadership for race equality in FE.
Currently I am an employment tribunal member in East London, a pension fund trustee and a board member for the National Education Museum charity. My education qualifications include an MBA from the Open University Business School.
Bio coming soon.
Bio coming soon.
Staff and Student Members
Paul Di Felice
I have a wealth of experience in teaching, leadership and management across FE and HE sectors. For over 20 years I have taught History in both higher and further education contexts and have focused particularly on making history accessible and meaningful to all.
I have a very strong background in post-16 adult education and the widening participation curriculum and have led the ‘inclusive’ provision for adults and young people in three Colleges.
Leadership and management are my key strengths; I have served at every level within a college structure and held the position of Vice Principal in three institutions. I have been an Open University Associate Lecturer in Arts and Humanities for the past decade, I hold a PGCE in Further Education and studied History and Politics at the University of Salford. I completed my MPhil on my Italian working class roots, looking at Italian migration into Manchester in my grandparents’ day.
I joined Ruskin at the end of August 2018 to co-ordinate the Access courses in my professional role as Access Programmes Leader. I have worked in a leadership position in Further Education for over thirty years. I am an experienced course manager and I worked with the local Open College Network to develop courses and also to validate submissions from colleagues working in Access. During my career I have represented staff in such roles at Union representative and Academic Board Member.
I have been specialising in adult education and in teaching learners whose first language is not English. I developed a bespoke Access course for multilingual learners and was privileged to teach refugees and other migrants who would progress to university in the UK. I drew on this to complete a Master’s in Education (Inclusive Education) with the Open University in 2018 and to develop the curriculum at Ruskin so it is more directly inclusive of refugee and migrant learners. I have also taught Functional Skills and GCSE English to adult native speakers and this aspect of Ruskin’s work is expanding. This gives me insight into the challenges that such learners face and I can use this expertise to support Ruskin’s commitment to the marginalised.
Ruskin College was a name that resonated with me as my father was a student here in the 1960s. My background in education gives me empathy with the learners here and I espouse the values that Ruskin represents.