Sally Dixon has been recruited to the role, which will see her take the reins of all HE at the college, as well as building on the facility’s impressive links within the business community.
As former HE manager for The Manchester College, one of the largest in Europe, Sally established her credentials enhancing the organisation and academic standards for HE provision, overseeing the development and implementation of a host of policies and strategies to deliver the highest possible standards.
Based at Washington Campus, Sally will have responsibility for HE education provision for between 650 and 700 students across Sunderland College’s three campuses, which includes Bede and City.
“It has been quite the introduction to life in Sunderland,” said Sally, whose full title is director of higher education, participation and skills. “The opening of City Campus, the creation of the Sunderland Sixth Form and the general positive changes we are seeing across the whole of Sunderland College.
“You can feel a sense of excitement around the college. From the students to the staff, I think most would agree that there is a buzz about the place and a feeling that we are evolving into exciting new areas. It is something that I am delighted to be a part of.”
Sally has spent a large portion of her career spearheading change management, working for the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education before her spell in Manchester.
During her time in Grimsby, Sally was part of a team that worked on the successful application and scrutiny for Foundation Degree Awarding Powers.
“I am incredibly passionate about my work and what I saw when I first came to Sunderland College was a genuine opportunity to progress the good work that has already been accomplished and build on the college’s desire to be the best it can be for the communities it serves.
“Sunderland is already performing at such a high level and I want to use my role to make sure that the College’s higher education develops in line with the skills needed in Sunderland and across the NE”
Sally will see HND and HNC qualifications fall into her remit, as well as the college’s foundation degree courses.
“We want to make education as accessible to everyone as we possibly can,” Sally added. “We can tailor courses to meet individual student need; or work alongside businesses to develop skilled professional and technical employees. We are also improving our offer for people who want part time, flexible routes and can only study out of normal college hours or from their own homes.
“As well as academic achievement, we want to help students develop their soft skills and and increase their employability. We are working to ensure we meet and exceed the needs of our students and fulfil the requirements of regional business.”
A former student of the University of Huddersfield, Sally has a Masters in Business Administration and also has a level seven qualification in Strategic Management from the Chartered Management Institute.
Sunderland College principal and chief executive, Ellen Thinnesen, said: “Sally brings with her a wealth of experience, in-depth and applied knowledge of HE and change management, as well as a great deal of enthusiasm for her new role.
“I’m delighted with her appointment and feel she is already making a genuinely positive impact on Sunderland College’s excellent HE provision.”
Photograph caption: Sunderland College director of higher education, participation and skills, Sally Dixon at Washington Campus.