The Future of Higher Education

Room G06, Elisabeth Murdoch Building


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Professor Sophie Arkoudis

T: 03 8344 7434

Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at University College London Institute of Education, where he was Dean of Professional Development, and subsequently Pro-Director, responsible for the Institute’s longer-term strategy.  He was also active in the federal University of London, being a member of its Senate and chairing for several years its Research Degrees Committee, its members drawn from all the Colleges and Institutes of the whole University.

He is a past-Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), was awarded the inaugural prize by the European Association for Educational Research for his ‘outstanding contribution to Higher Education Research, Policy and Practice’, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the SRHE and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).  He is a Visiting Professor at several universities in the UK and across the world and, as a guest speaker, has given 150 talks in 40 countries.

For over thirty years, he has been advancing a social philosophy of the university, and more widely to establish the field of the philosophy of higher education.  He has characterised his position as that of a social philosophy of the university, at once realist, critical, imaginative, and practical and, in that work, he has been attempting to identify creative concepts and practical principles that might enhance universities and higher education.

His (31) books include - just published – The Ecological University: A Feasible Utopia (2018), which follows a trilogy on understanding the university, Being a University (2011), Imagining the University (2013), and Understanding the University (2016). His books have been translated into several languages and several have won prizes, including both his very first book and his very latest book. He has also authored 150 papers and over 150 other writings.  He has been described as ‘one of the most eloquent defenders of the university of reason’ (Michael Peters, 2014).

For nearly thirty years, he has acted as a consultant, both to national bodies and to individual universities in the UK and abroad.  He was involved in the Dearing Inquiry into Higher Education and is currently offering advisory services to St Mary’s University, Twickenham and Liverpool Hope University.