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Green Templeton College | Oxford

Professor Sir David WatsonMA (Cantab), PhD (Pennsylvania)


David Watson took office as the second Principal of Green Templeton College in October 2010. He was appointed Professor of Higher Education in the University from the same date. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London and Adjunct Professor at James Cook University, Queensland.

He was previously Professor of Higher Education Management at the Institute of Education, University of London (2005-2010), Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton (1990-2005), and Dean and Deputy Director of Oxford Polytechnic (1981-90). He read history at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Exhibitioner and Open Scholar. He was a Thouron Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded his doctorate in intellectual history in 1975.

Watson's academic interests are in the history of ideas and in higher education policy. His publications include Margaret Fuller: an American romantic (1988), Managing the modular course (1989), Developing professional education (with Hazel Bines, 1992), Arendt (1992), Managing the university curriculum (with Jean Bocock, 1994), Lifelong learning and the university (with Richard Taylor, 1998), Managing Strategy (2000), New Directions in Professional Higher Education (with Tim Katz and Tom Bourner, 2000), Higher education and the lifecourse (with Maria Slowey, 2003), Managing Institutional Self-Study (with Elizabeth Maddison, 2005), Managing Civic and Community Engagement (2007), The Dearing Report: ten years on (edited with Michael Amoah, 2007), Learning Through Life (with Tom Schuller, 2009), The Question of Morale (2009), The Engaged University (with Robert Hollister, Susan Stroud and Elizabeth Babcock, 2011),Learning Transitions in Higher Education (with David Scott, Gwyneth Hughes, Penny-Jane Burke, Carol Evans, and Catherine Walter, 2013), The Question of Conscience: higher education and personal responsibility (forthcoming, 2013), as well as over 400 articles, chapters in books, and reviews.

He has contributed widely to developments in UK higher education, including as a member of the Council for National Academic Awards (1977-1993), the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (1988-92), and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (1992-96).

He was a member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's National Commission on Education (whose report Learning to Succeed was published in 1993), and the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education chaired by Sir Ron Dearing (whose report Higher Education in the Learning Society was published in 1997). He chaired the national Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning, and co-authored its report Learning Through Life (2009).

He was the elected chair of the Universities Association for Continuing Education between 1994 and 1998, chaired the Longer Term Strategy Group of Universities UK between 1999 and 2005, and was President of the Society for Research into Higher Education between 2005 and 2012. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2008 and the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

He was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education. He has Honorary Doctorates from the Open University, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Southampton, the University of Sussex, the University of Bath, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Brighton, and Keele University, Honorary Fellowships of Queen Mary University of London and the City and Guilds Institute London, and Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music.

He has been a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation since 2005 and a Companion of the Institute of Management since 2000.

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