Council is the governing body for the College. 

St John’s College Council meets four times a year in September, December, March and June. The September meeting is usually devoted largely to student matters. The December meeting is extended to include a strategy workshop with other members of College. The March meeting is largely Cranmer business and June is when draft budgets are agreed for the following year.

Meet College Council members

Ex Officio Members

  • The Principal, Rev Prof David Wilkinson (Outgoing)
  • The Director of Finance and Operations, Mr Chris Courtman
  • The Warden, Rev Dr Philip Plyming
  • The Vice Principal, Dr Rebecca Bouveng
  • The St John’s College John’s Common Room President, Thomas Jackson
  • The Cranmer Common Room President, Emily Bagg
  • The Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Karen O’Brien

Elected members


sarah judson
Sarah Judson

Bio to follow

john davison
John Davison

Bio to follow

Clare Curran
Clare Curran

Clare had a career in People Management spanning some 40 years, working in both public and private sector organisations, including B&Q, Automobile Association, National Government – National Care Standards Commission, NHS – Newcastle Hospitals and North Tees and Hartlepool, and Higher Education Institutions: Teesside, Northumbria and Durham.  Clare led many Regional and National activities and negotiations during her career.

Clare’s last role prior to retirement was that of Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Durham University.    Clare was a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Strategy Group, and was asked alongside two senior academics to lead on stakeholder presentations for the launch of the University’s new strategy.  Among her achievements in this role, she introduced the University’s first HR Strategy, and HR IT System, new methods for recruitment and selection, developed new pay structures including the living wage and led a review of the University local pension scheme.

Clare’s roles have seen her engage in a plethora People Management activities, including Strategy, Recruitment and Retention, negotiation with Trade Unions, Pay and Reward, and Employment Law. Since retiring in 2017, Clare continues to support organisations voluntarily with her HR expertise, also giving back to the local community by volunteering.

Dr Michael Gilmore

Michael was Academic Registrar at Durham University from 2009 to 2021. As Academic Registrar he was responsible for a very broad range of institutional-wide responsibilities and functions, which touch every stage in the student lifecycle from initial applicant inquiry to graduation, and include support for the development of academic strategy and policy. Michael has played national roles as chair of the Academic Registrars Council (ARC) and chair of the national Student Finance Operations Stakeholder Group at the Student Loan Company, which was responsible, on behalf of the sector, for overseeing the operational changes required to introduce the new student fee regime.

Prior to coming to Durham, Michael was Director of Governance, Planning and Registry at the University of Leicester. He progressed to this role having previously been the head of the Academic Secretariat and Quality Assurance Office at Leicester. Before that he taught philosophy at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome and served as the Vice-Rector of the Venerable English College there.

Dr Jamie Harrison

Vice-President of St John’s College Council and Visiting Fellow in Healthcare and Religion, Jamie is Chair the House of Laity of the Church of England General Synod, is an appointed member of the Clergy Discipline Commission and an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council. He is also a Lay Canon of Durham Cathedral.

For over 30 years Jamie worked as a GP, initially in Cambridgeshire but spent the majority of his career in Durham City. Here he combined clinical practice with medical education, notably as Deputy Director in the Postgraduate School of Primary Care for the region. During this time he was a GP Adviser to the English Department of Health, leading on GP recruitment and initiation for doctors arriving from Continental Europe, and was also a part-time medical officer at the high-secure Frankland Prison in Durham. He continues to work in teaching and consultancy for the NHS. He was until recently a GP Specialist Adviser to the English Care Quality Commission.

Jamie has published works on topics of vocation for doctors and clergy, governance, the nature of healthcare systems and trust between doctors and their patients. He received the Baxter Award from the European Health Management Association for the book Clinical Governance in Primary Care.

mike higton
Professor Mike Higton

Mike Higton is Professor of Theology and Ministry in Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion. His post was created in 2013 as part of the ‘Common Awards’ scheme, in which the University became the validating body for most of the institutions around the country offering ordination training (and some other kinds of training) for the Church of England and the Methodist Church, and various ecumenical partners. He provides academic leadership for the partnership, working closely with all the institutions involved and with the Church of England’s Ministry Division, while also teaching in the Department and pursuing his own research.

For the first year of the job, while Mike’s family continued to live in Cambridge, the College provided him with accommodation – so he has had the experience of ‘living in’, and seeing something of the College’s life. He was not the first in his family to do so: he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, who lived in College in the 1930s while training for ordination.

Rt Revd Robert Innes (President)
Rt Revd Robert Innes (President)

Bishop Robert was born in Wolverhampton. He studied engineering at Cambridge University and worked in the electric power industry until 1989 when he went to train for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall. Following his BA (in Theology) in 1991 he stayed to complete a PhD graduating in 1995.

Bishop Robert served in Durham for many years. He was made a deacon at Petertide in 1995 and ordained a priest the next year. He has been a lecturer in systematic theology at St John’s College, Durham while serving two titles/curacies: he was ordained to the title of St Cuthbert’s Church, Durham and then served a curacy at Sherburn, Pittington and Shadforth from 1997. He remained in these posts until 1999, when he was appointed as vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church in Belmont.

Bishop Robert moved to Brussels, taking his first Diocese in Europe post in 2005, as Chancellor and Senior Chaplain (i.e. the priest-in-charge) of Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Brussels; he was additionally appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (an honorary post) in 2012. He was appointed Bishop in Europe in 2014; he was consecrated as a bishop on 20 July 2014 and installed at Gibraltar Cathedral on 4 September 2014. As Bishop in Europe, his residence is in Waterloo, Belgium.

Bishop Libby Lane
Rt Revd Libby Lane

Libby is Bishop of Stockport in the Diocese of Chester. She sits on College Council as Chair of the Cranmer Committee.

Libby trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall from 1991-93, with her husband George, who currently serves as Coordinating Chaplain at Manchester Airport. She was engaged for a number of years after ordination in teaching modules, through Cranmer Hall, on gender and family life. Libby has been a Bishop’s Selection Advisor, and Assistant Director of Ordinands. She now serves on the national Church’s Vocations Working Group.

Libby has served in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester in parochial, sector and chaplaincy posts. She has been in part-time, full-time and self-supporting ministry. Libby chairs the Board of Education and the Development Group of Foxhill House and Woodlands in the Diocese of Chester. She is on General Synod as an elected Suffragan from the northern province, and is vice-chair of The Children’s Society.

Professor Geoff Moore

Geoff’s first contact with St John’s College was many years ago when his wedding reception was held there! His wife-to-be, Alison, was a member of the SCR and as a result they were able to use the old Haughton Dining Room (many years before its renovation and extension). Since then, Geoff and Alison have both been members of the SCR – meaning that Geoff’s association with the College has now lasted over 35 years. In 2004, Geoff was appointed as Durham University Business School’s first Professor of Business Ethics. This led to a closer association with the University in general and St John’s in particular, and in 2012 Geoff became President of the SCR. In addition to a general understanding of organisations from his academic work, Geoff has been a non-executive director of two organisations both in the Fair Trade movement – Shared Interest and Traidcraft – so he brings commercial and non-executive experience to his role on Council. He is also a member of the Finance Committee.

Cathrine Ngangira
Revd Cathrine Ngangira

Born and raised in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, Cathrine moved to the UK for a one-year experience of monastic life for young people in London. She moved to Durham to train for ministry at Cranmer Hall.  Cathrine has a background in purchasing and logistics, and administration.  Ordained a Priest in July 2021, Cathrine is serving her curacy in the North downs Team in the Diocese of Canterbury. She has contributed to the Modern Believing Journal (Autumn issue) on Ubuntu and Leadership. Cathrine is currently a member of the Lambeth Conference 2022 Design Group.


Kelly Pattinson
Kelly Pattinson

Kelly began working at St John’s College in 2007 as a part time administrator for the Catering Department. Thanks to the College’s commitment to encouraging staff development and progression she now works full time across three job roles in two departments, continuing the role as Catering Administrator and extending the role to Conference Administrator as well as becoming a Finance Assistant in the Finance Office in 2011.

This combination of roles gives a unique perspective of College life. As a member of the Catering Department Kelly is directly involved with how College works for our students from ‘the ground up’, whilst her Finance and Conference roles mean she is also concerned with how the College operates as a business as well as an educational institution.

Revd Canon Smitha Prasadam
Revd Canon Smitha Prasadam

Smitha is the chaplain of St Alban’s Church, Copenhagen. Equipped with a BA in English and Language Studies from Leeds and an MA in Applied Theological Studies from Birmingham, she began her career as a teacher in various London and Birmingham schools from 1988 until 2001. She then turned to ministry, serving as Assistant Curate and then Incumbent at St Paul Blackheath, Birmingham, before becoming chaplain at St Alban’s Church, Copenhagen in 2018.


Nigel Robson
Nigel Robson

Nigel is a former lawyer in an international law firm, and his positions included International Head of Engineering and Construction, Global Head of Energy, and Managing Partner. He was an accredited Mediator, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has been a trustee and Chair of many organisations, bringing legal support, governance expertise, financial awareness, HR and educational experience.

As Chair of the Chamber of Commerce in the North East he focussed upon the issue of historic underperformance of many of the regions LEA schools. In addition to the issue of social injustice, he believes that education is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of social and economic deprivation. In 2003 he first joined the Board of an Academy in the North East. His involvement grew as he became Chair of a small Multi Academy Trust. He then joined the Board of United Learning Trust in 2010, and was elected Chair. During this time the Trust grew from 16 Academies to over 60. The Trust concentrated upon taking over failing schools in areas suffering from the greatest disadvantage. After completing his terms in 2019, he continues as Chair of challenging secondary academies in the North. He is a Member of the Good Shepherd MAT and of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation MAT. He was recently appointed to the Board as Chair of the Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership in Cumbria.

Joint College-University appointments from among University staff

Sam Dale
Sam Dale, Director of Student Support and Wellbeing, Durham University

Bio to follow

Professor Amir Michael, Head of Department and Professor of Accounting, Durham University

Professor Amir Michael is a Professor of Accounting and Head of Accounting Department at Durham University Business School, Durham University, UK whose research and teaching interests have been fostered by several years of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and mentoring. Amir was the former Associate Dean for MBA/DBA and the Director of the Durham MBA (Full Time) programme. 

Professor Michael is the director of the Durham Rutgers Accounting Analytics Network (DRAAN). His resrearch interest and expertise is in the area of auditing and reporting using data analytics and artificial intelligence in improving audit and reporting quality and transperancy. He is also interested in accounting education digital and technology adoption research.

Amir has been instrumental in the development the BSc in Accounting (KPMG/ICAEW) School Leavers Programme. This innovative programme has been mentioned in the House of Commons and cited in the government education White paper as an example of good practice in higher education and the highly influential Wilson “Review of Business–University Collaboration” report to Government.

Amir’s teaching philosophy reflects his interests in collaborative authorship, preferring student-centred teaching that encourages learning by students and teachers rather than traditional teaching. Amir is interested in sharing his research with students which facilitates applying the research-led-education approach that is a cornerstone of Durham University.

Committees of Council

Finance Committee

Estates Committee

Cranmer Committee

College Life and Learning Committee

Remuneration Committee

Human Resources Committee

Search and Nominations Committee

Development Board

Research Centres Committee