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Personal profile

General

Professor Helen Higson is Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Aston University where she leads on the implementation and delivery of the University’s academic strategy, including academic resourcing and developing and supporting academic departments.  As the chief academic officer, Helen provides strategic leadership to ensure the University meets its education and research objectives.

Helen graduated from Newnham College Cambridge, and subsequently gained an MA from the Open University and a PhD from Birkbeck College, London University.  She has worked in the university sector since 1983 and a major part of that was spent in Aston Business School where she held senior management positions including Director of Quality, Associate Dean Undergraduate Programmes and Head of Learning and Teaching.

Helen is Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management and a member of Aston Business School’s Operations and Information Management Group.  In 2003 she founded the Centre for Higher Education Learning and Management (HELM) and has undertaken extensive research in the areas of employability and work-based learning, intercultural competences and strategic issues in HE management.  Helen wrote a chapter on skills for the Wilson Review of Business-University collaboration on behalf of the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2012.

Helen is Deputy Chair of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Subject Level Main Panel and is a member of the Universities UK Outward Mobility Strategy Board.  She has also been a Subject Reviewer for Quality Assurance Agency (QAA); a member of the HEFCE Quality Assurance Learning and Teaching Strategic Committee; and a member of the Quality Assurance Framework Review Group.  Helen is a Governor of Ravensbourne University, London, a Trustee of Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), and the IKON Gallery, Birmingham, and is a Director of the AdvanceHE Board.  Helen is on the Board of University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) and a member of the Midlands Engine Skills Group and the GBSLEP Employment and Skills Board.

Helen is a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators (FAUA).  Helen was awarded the OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to Higher Education and in 2017 was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands.

Research Interests

Research work in: intercultural learning, management of higher education, academic load models, quality procedures, reflective learning, links between theory and practice, pedagogy and research

Currently working on research projects on widening participation, BAME attainment gap and interculture learning and employability

Teaching Activity

Designed and taught on the following modules: Business Game, Foundations of Management and International Foundations of Management, Policy and Strategy in Higher Education

Supervision of MSc and MBA dissertations

Successful supervisor of DBA and PhD students

Guest sessions at undergraduate level on information management, career development, project management, reflective learning

Student mentor and placement tutor

Contributor to Aston University Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Have been involved in a range of professional development training for university administrators at Aston and other midland universities

Qualifications

1996                   PhD, Birkbeck College, London

1989                   MA in Literature and Criticism, Open University

1982                   MA in English Literature, Newnham College, Cambridge

1978                   3 A-levels at grade A, Peter Symonds College, Winchester

1975-6               10 O-levels, Winchester County High School for Girls

Membership of Professional Bodies

National Teaching Fellow (NTF)

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PHEA)

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)

Fellow of Association of University Administrators (FAUA)

Administrative Roles

Chief academic officer leading on the implementation and delivery of the University's academic strategy, providing strategic leadership to ensure the University meets its education and research objectives.

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Research Output

Determinants of university students’ attendance

Moores, E., Birdi, G. & Higson, H. E., 2 Oct 2019, In : Educational Research. 61, 4, p. 371-387 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • Open Access
  • Using strength-based approaches to fulfil academic potential in degree apprenticeships

    Saville, K-M., Birdi, G., Hayes, S., Higson, H. E. & Eperjesi, F., 6 Jun 2019, In : Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File
  • Birmingham: Lozells and East Handsworth and Bordesley Green

    Higson, H. E., Hussain, A. & Robinson, J., 2018, Local Matters: How neighbourhoods and services affect the social inclusion and exclusion of young people in European cities. Guntner, S., Seukwa, L. H., Gehrke, A-M. & Robinson, J. (eds.). Germany: Peter Lang, p. 79-105 26 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • A large-scale examination of the effectiveness of anonymous marking in reducing group performance differences in higher education assessment

    Hinton, D. P. & Higson, H., 15 Aug 2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 8, 16 p., e0182711.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File
  • Thesis

    Does studying taught postgraduate management education increase students’ perceptions of their employability?

    Author: Jones, C., 6 Jul 2016

    Supervisor: Higson, H. E. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    File

    Evaluating authentic behaviour change in leadership development programmes

    Author: Bernal, E., 19 Jun 2013

    Supervisor: Higson, H. E. (Supervisor) & Thomas, G. M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business Administration

    File

    Examining the group-level effects of corporate identity cues on organisational identification and role behaviours

    Author: Daniels-Gombert, G., 2017

    Supervisor: Higson, H. E. (Supervisor), Glanfield, K. (Supervisor) & Leeflang, P. S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    File

    How do public private partnerships influence business school performance in English-speaking Caribbean?

    Author: Mungal, K., 1 Jun 2012

    Supervisor: Higson, H. E. (Supervisor) & Combe, I. A. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business Administration

    File

    Influence of parents on first year undergraduate student adjustment and academic achievement at university

    Author: Foster, C., 12 Jun 2018

    Supervisor: Davis, A. J. (Supervisor) & Higson, H. E. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    File

    Prizes

    Deputy Lieutenant (DL)

    Helen Higson (Recipient), 2017

    Prize: National/international honour

    National Teaching Fellow (NTF)

    Helen Higson (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: National/international honour

    Order of the British Empire (OBE)

    Helen Higson (Recipient), 2011

    Prize: National/international honour

    Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)

    Helen Higson (Recipient), 2010

    Prize: Election to learned society

  • Activities

    Data Matters Conference

    Helen Higson (Speaker)
    16 Jan 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) (External organisation)

    Helen Higson (Member)
    2019

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    Society for Research into Higher Education (External organisation)

    Helen Higson (Member)
    2018

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    AdvanceHE (External organisation)

    Helen Higson (Member)
    2018

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) (External organisation)

    Helen Higson (Member)
    2016

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    Press / Media

    Government's Post-18 Education and Funding Review

    Helen Higson

    27/06/19

    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

    Getting on, not just getting in, is what matters

    Helen Higson

    18/08/18

    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research

    Blind marking does little to reduce student attainment gaps

    Helen Higson

    29/08/17

    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

    An interview with Professor Helen Higson

    Helen Higson

    29/03/14

    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Other