Paul Ramsden is a key associate of PhillipsKPA, a company that specialises in services to the Australian and international education and training industries.
He was formerly Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Sydney. From August 2004 to December 2009 he was the founding chief executive of the UK’s Higher Education Academy. He is a visiting professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, and an adjunct professor at Macquarie University and at James Cook University.
He first wrote about the ‘student experience’ (or ‘student experience of learning’) as a solution to improving the quality of university outcomes in the early 1990s, focusing on the practical application of ideas from academic research on student learning. It has since become part of the vocabulary of higher education in the UK and Australia.
Paul Ramsden is an Australian and UK citizen. His career has combined an academic record in the field of teaching, learning and policy studies in higher education with experience in university management and leadership. As Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Sydney (1999-2004) he oversaw major strategic initiatives for improving teaching and learning in Australia’s oldest research-intensive university.
A graduate of Lancaster University, his influence on policies for enhancing the student learning experience has been particularly strong in the UK and Australia. Principles and practices derived from his academic research have been applied to improving university teaching throughout the world.
His best-selling books, Learning to Teach in Higher Education and Learning to Lead in Higher Education, are among the classic texts on higher education teaching and management. They have inspired thousands of academics to improve their students’ learning and their professional practice.
He was a member of subpanel 45 for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise in the UK.
He is the architect of the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), a central feature of quality assurance in Australian higher education since 1993 and the basis of the UK’s subsequent National Student Survey.
His university leadership career includes six years as the foundation Director of the Griffith Institute for Higher Education at Griffith University where he was concurrently Professor of Higher Education. After taking up his position at the University of Sydney, he introduced performance-based funding of undergraduate teaching, new promotions policies, and academic-led internal review processes. These resource allocation and audit systems led to increased demand from high-achieving students and improved levels of student satisfaction with teaching and services. They have been widely emulated elsewhere at institutional and national levels.
He also developed key agreements for educational quality assurance and the application of learning technologies between Sydney and the University of Oxford, University College London, and the Open University. Oxford now uses the same systems for evaluating student experiences as Sydney, which were themselves developed from his fundamental work.
At the University of Sydney, he directed the development and rapid expansion of the commercially and academically successful Sydney Summer School, which has provided opportunities for thousands of students to complete their degrees more quickly through intensive, full-fee paying study. The Summer School maintained a modest cost structure while increasing its income by over 100% to around $5.8m in three years.
Professor Ramsden has been a chief investigator in numerous Australian Research Council large grants in the field of teaching, learning, academic leadership and research performance in higher education. He maintained continuous ARC competitive funding from 1993 to 2004, leading a team of five for much of this time. A 2002-4 Discovery project explored fundamental mechanisms underlying the research-teaching nexus in higher education. The citation impact of his most significant publications is among the highest in the field of education. He was one of four international Associate Editors of the British Journal of Educational Psychology until 2004, and continues as an Advisory Editor.
Paul Ramsden succeeded Martin Trow as Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education in 2007. He has also been a member of the panel judging centres of educational excellence in Swedish higher education (2006-2009) and an honorary auditor for the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). In 2006 he was awarded the inaugural Higher Education Quality Award for his outstanding contributions to the practice of quality assurance and enhancement in Australian higher education.
He has advised the United Kingdom government on the future of teaching and the student experience, contributing at the request of the Secretary of State an influential essay on curriculum and teaching quality that has informed the framework for higher education in England. In 2010 he advised the government of the Irish Republic on the future strategy for higher education in Ireland. From 2010 to 2012 he was a governor at the University of Glamorgan (co-opted member of the Student Affairs Committee).
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