Paul Rams­den, 1948-2017

THE (Times Higher Education) - - PEOPLE - Matthew.reisz@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

An ex­pert on im­prov­ing the qual­ity of uni­ver­sity teach­ing, who be­came the first chief ex­ec­u­tive of the UK’s Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Academy, has died.

Paul Rams­den was born in Leeds on 5 Au­gust 1948. He stud­ied as an un­der­grad­u­ate at the Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don (1970) and be­gan work as a re­search fel­low and tu­tor at the North East Lon­don Polytech­nic (1973-76). He moved to Lan­caster Uni­ver­sity’s In­sti­tute for Post-Com­pul­sory Ed­u­ca­tion as a se­nior re­search of­fi­cer (1976-81) while also re­search­ing a PhD (1981).

Of dual An­glo-Aus­tralian na­tion­al­ity, Pro­fes­sor Rams­den took up a po­si­tion as se­nior lec­turer in ed­u­ca­tional de­vel­op­ment at New­cas­tle Polytech­nic (1981-84) but then moved to Aus­tralia for two decades, ris­ing through the ranks from se­nior lec­turer at the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne (1984-93) to pro­fes­sor of higher ed­u­ca­tion and di­rec­tor of the Grif­fith In­sti­tute for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion at Grif­fith Uni­ver­sity (199399) and, fi­nally, pro-vice-chan­cel­lor (teach­ing and learn­ing) at the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney (1999-2004).

While work­ing in Aus­tralia, Pro­fes­sor Rams­den be­came the ar­chi­tect of the Course Ex­pe­ri­ence Ques­tion­naire (the model for the UK’s Na­tional Stu­dent Sur­vey). Craig McIn­nis, prin­ci­pal as­so­ciate at the Phillip­sKPA ed­u­ca­tional con­sul­tancy, where Pro­fes­sor Rams­den later worked as a key as­so­ciate, de­scribed the in­tro­duc­tion of the CEQ as “a les­son in how vi­sion and per­sis­tence in chang­ing pol­icy and prac­tice in higher ed­u­ca­tion can be achieved”. He added: “Paul en­coun­tered a great deal of re­sis­tance to the CEQ from those op­posed to per­for­mance mea­sures of any kind…[Yet it has now proved] a much-needed source of re­li­able and rel­a­tively ro­bust data that gives mea­sures of teach­ing cred­i­bil­ity com­pa­ra­ble to those used to as­sess re­search per­for­mance.”

After his years in Aus­tralia, Pro­fes­sor Rams­den re­turned to the UK to be­come the found­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of the HEA, the na­tional body for pro­mot­ing ef­fec­tive uni­ver­sity teach­ing (2004-09). In 2008, he served as an ex­pert ad­viser to the UK govern­ment on the fu­ture of teach­ing and the stu­dent ex­pe­ri­ence, con­tribut­ing a highly in­flu­en­tial es­say on the cur­ricu­lum and teach­ing qual­ity. Even after leav­ing the HEA, he con­tin­ued to act as chair of the In­ter­na­tional Ad­vi­sory Board for the Swedish Na­tional Agency for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, ad­vised the Ir­ish govern­ment on its strat­egy for higher ed­u­ca­tion and served as a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor at what is now the UCL In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion. He also shared his in­sights in two ac­claimed books, Learn­ing to Lead in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (1998) and Learn­ing to Teach in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (2003).

Pro­fes­sor Rams­den died of a pul­monary em­bolism on 2 Au­gust and is sur­vived by his sec­ond wife, Mar­i­lyn Tay­lor.

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