Ann Bell's career in education began after qualifying as a teacher following her early career experience at Unilever Ltd in London. During her early teaching career she held posts in a further education college in Kent and secondary schools in Rotherham, Northumberland and Cambridgeshire. She gained further academic qualifications through part-time study with the Open University and Hatfield Polytechnic.
Ann was Principal of the Chelmsford Centre for Adult Education from 1982 to 1989, Principal of the Brentwood Centre for Adult Education from 1989 to 1993, and County Strategic Development Officer for Adult Education from 1993 to 1995. She went on to set up and direct her own consultancy, offering management development services to a wide range of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. In 1998 she joined the Institute of Management, which became the Chartered Management Institute in 2002, as London Regional Manager until 2010.
Since then, Ann has been transforming individuals, processes and organisations through improving the value of learning in education, government, business and society. She is a Chelmsford secondary school governor, a London further education college governor, and is involved in the governance of the Chartered Management Institute as Education Providers Champion and Higher Education Champion.
In 1998 Ann Bell was awarded the honorary degree of Master of Science.
"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of Honorary Master of Science to Ann Elizabeth Bell, Manager for Greater London of the Institute of Management.
This University, Vice Chancellor, has a very strong and traditional commitment to the adult learner, as evidenced by the fact that it has one of the highest proportions of part-time mature students of any British university, and a very flexible and student friendly range of delivery methods. It is therefore particularly appropriate that the University should honour one who has contributed immensely to the cause of the adult learner within this region, and especially within this county.
Ann Bell's career has largely been devoted to adult learning. Her first appointments in this field were in Kent, Rotherham, Northumberland and Cambridgeshire, and her academic qualifications with the Open University and Hatfield Polytechnic were gained through part-time study. It was, however, in Essex that her career as a manager of adult learning really took off. She became Principal of the Chelmsford Centre for Adult Education (1982-89) and Principal of the Brentwood Centre for Adult Education (1989-93). Those who know of the operation of such centres will realise the complexities of the leadership task given the number of students per annum (8,000+), the number of teachers (200+) and the range of curriculum offerings and delivery locations. When we add to this the pressures in the 1990s to become financially self-sufficient, the tensions are readily apparent. However, such was the success that in 1993-95 Ann Bell became County Strategic Development Officer for Adult Education at a time when the whole philosophy and financing of adult education was undergoing serious scrutiny by TECs, NCVQ, industry and business, quite apart from central and local government. The role was filled with considerable distinction.
Throughout this period Anne Bell was becoming increasingly involved in national debates and policy developments as a council member of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education; as a managing committee member of the Network of Women Managers in Further and Continuing Education; as a National Council Member of Women in Management; and as Regional Chair of a Royal Society of Arts initiative on 'Redefining Work'.
It thus seemed a natural development for her to set up and direct her own consultancy company, Ann Bell Associates, offering management development services to a wide range of organisations, including the Institute of Management; Northern Council for Further Education; Wolsey Hall; various universities; the Women Returners' Network; and a number of SME organisations.
The University is pleased to acknowledge her collaboration with the Anglia Business School in many domains. As Chair of the Chelmsford and Mid-Essex branch of the Institute of Management, and later as Area Manager for Greater London, notable co-operative activities developed, especially in the Management NVQ area. She has acted as a Visiting Programme Manager at the Anglia Business School, for instance in the national training initiative for Trinity House Lighthouse Services; and has been instrumental in establishing partnerships between the University and networks for educational guidance.
There is, one suspects, also a broader family aspect to this award, since her husband Gordon, as County Education Officer for Further and Higher Education, played a significant constructive and helpful role in the handover of this institution from LEA control to independent status at the turn of the decade. He is now Principal of Epping Forest College. He might, therefore, take some vicarious part in this award!
May I, therefore, invite you, Vice Chancellor, to confer on Ann Bell the Honorary Degree of Master of Science of the University, by virtue of her sustained and major contribution to the cause of continuing education and lifelong learning in this region, and her energetic work in promoting the interests of women managers."