Prof. Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education, London (where he was both Dean of Professional Development and (subsequently) Pro-Director for Longer Term Strategy). In his academic work, he has been trying to advance a social philosophy of the university, in which he has been attempting to identify creative concepts and practical principles that offer ways of enhancing universities and higher education. Recently, he has begun to sketch out an idea of the ecological university.
His (26) books include The Idea of Higher Education, The Limits of Competence, Realizing the University in an age of supercomplexity, and A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. He has just completed a trilogy on comprehending the university, the first two volumes of which were Being a University (2011) and Imagining the University (2013). Most recently published (December 2015) is the third volume, Understanding the University. His books have been translated into several languages and several have won prizes. He is also the author of over one hundred papers and well over another one hundred pieces of writing.
He is the inaugural recipient of the EAIR Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education Research, Policy and Practice’ and has had a higher doctorate of the University of London conferred upon him (unique in the UK) and holds Fellowships of the Academy of the Social Sciences, the Society for Research into Higher Education and the Higher Education Academy. He is a visiting professor in China and Australia (as well as universities in the UK), and was a Special Adviser to the UK’s Select Committee Inquiry into Universities and Students. He has been an invited speaker in around 40 countries.
Ronald Barnett has chaired several major committees, including Chair of Governing Council of the Society for Research into Higher Education and the Research Degrees Committee of the University of London (working across all of its colleges and all of its disciplines).
Ronald Barnett also acts as a consultant, and has worked with most of the major national bodies in UK higher education, and many universities including several in other countries. He is currently an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and has recently been working as the lead academic for its ‘Flexible Pedagogies’ project.