Dame Sandra (Alexandra) Burslem was Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University from 1997 – 2005, having graduated from Manchester University in 1971 with a First in Politics and Modern History. She was appointed to the then Manchester Polytechnic in 1973, and undertook a number of academic roles, from Lecturer, through SL/PL/ Head of the Department of Applied Community Studies, Dean of the Faculty of Community Studies and Education, Academic Director, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, before taking up the Vice-Chancellor role.
She was an elected Member of the UUK Board, and Chaired the Quality and Standards Group, and subsequently the Teaching and Learning Strategy Group, chairing three successive Reviews into Quality Assurance, published jointly by UUK/Hefce/ QAA/ and DfE. She sat on a number of national bodies, Chairing UKCOSA, and involved closely with the developments which led to the HEA and the Leadership Foundation. She was on the Council and Executive of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
She became a member of the Further Education Funding Council, and then a member of the subsequent body, the National Learning and Skills Council when it was set up in 2000. She Chaired the Capital Committee, and the post-16 Re-organisation Committee, and was Deputy Chair of the National LSC, until 2006. Subsequently she was appointed to Ofqual, the national body for examinations and assessments for all non-University qualifications, and was Deputy Chair and Acting Chair until 2012.
On leaving the University in 2005, she was appointed a Civil Service Commissioner, a 5 year term of office, and also Chaired the British Council’s Education –UK Partnership until 2012. She was also appointed in 2005 to Chair the Education Honours Committee, a post she relinquished in 2011. She has served on the Board of Cumbria University, is a Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Chairs the Strategic Development Committee; currently is on the Board of the Royal Northern College of Music, and Chairs the Audit Committee; and also Chairs the Governors of Chetham’s School of Music.
She received an OBE in 1993, and a DBE in 2004. She was appointed a DL for Greater Manchester in 2004, and was High Sheriff in 2006/7.