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Alan Barker (University of Nottingham)

25 January 2024

Election address

Why I am standing  

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly concerned about a failure (perceived and actual) to follow the democratic processes and structures of our union and a disconnect between what is going on nationally and members' experiences at branch level.  

I believe my experience of working in both Further and Higher Education and my understanding of the decision-making processes of UCU, alongside a track record of working with people from various factions and independent members makes me suited to serve on the NEC and attempt to help fix these, and other, problems. 

Role of the NEC 

The NEC is there to carry out decisions made at national Congress and to make day to day decisions informed by policy. Members are not elected to follow their own opinions. If elected, I will always abide by the democratic processes of our union. Although I would be elected to a UK wide seat, I would routinely report back to and seek the views of members in the East Midlands and more widely. 

UCU Left 

I am a member of UCU Left because I believe in their core principles. These include a staunch defence of our basic terms and conditions but alongside a recognition that this is also a defence of the rights of students to a good quality education.   


As a teacher of mathematics at the University of Nottingham and formerly in two college of further education, I have tried to reflect these values in my teaching and in particular the steps I have taken to widen participation for students and the way I have tried to regard a sound mathematical education as a socially useful thing rather than simply a tool for personal or technical advancement. 

UCU Experience 

I have served on the Congress Business Committee (including as its chair) for many years. I have defended the sovereignty of Congress as the supreme policy making body of the union and have been critical of attempts to undermine that. I intend to uphold this standard as a member of the NEC. 

I have been chair and secretary respectively of two large college branches, chair of the Commission set up to re-write Rule 13 of UCU's rulebook and have been a Regional Secretary. I am also Secretary of my local Trades Council. 


As the principal union presence in Further and Higher Education, UCU has a unique responsibility in our society. That responsibility is rooted in our members' concerns but UCU has always had the ability to see a wider perspective and has acted in the interests of our whole society. Those principles will guide me if elected to the NEC.  

Last updated: 25 January 2024