Dr Alex Ryan is Director of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire, with responsibilities for academic development and organisational change in sustainability. She is dedicated to socially-relevant, globally-conscious and future-oriented higher education experiences and is known for her leadership and innovation in Education for Sustainability.
Alex has a multi-disciplinary background, having trained first in Linguistics and then in Religious Studies, which she taught for 12 years through the Open University. Her expertise ranges across comparative world religions, religious history and the inter-disciplinary study of spirituality.
Alex leads the University’s sustainability strategy and LIFT: Learning Innovation for Tomorrow programme, to embed transformative pedagogy into the institutional portfolio, academic practice of staff and learning experiences for students. She has led and collaborated on large scale innovation projects with a range of sector agencies and university partners, shaping pedagogical thinking and practice for sustainability across the UK and internationally.
Impact of work
Alex has carried out commissions and evaluation roles for the Higher Education Academy since 2004, worked with the QAA, HEFCE and SFC, and delivered training and development for public sector organisations. Her work has been recognised by UK and international awards, including the United Nations University, Times Higher Education and Green Gown Awards. She is a Senior Fellow of the HEA, and was an invited member of the QAA-HEA expert group that developed national guidance on Education for Sustainability in 2014.
She has influenced pedagogical innovation at her University and in the sector through change projects and key publications, such as the HEA Flexible Pedagogy initiative in 2013. From 2013-2016, she was Academic Co-ordinator for a European Commission-funded academic professional development project with 53 partners across 33 countries. From 2012-2016, she led the University’s Learning for Sustainable Futures scheme, recognised as good practice in its 2015 QAA institutional review. From 2010-2012, she managed a HEFCE LGM-funded change project bridging sustainability, pedagogy and quality enhancement.
Plans for the future
Alex’s ongoing work seeks to connect Education for Sustainability discourse and practice with critical HE agendas such as internationalisation and graduate development. She focuses on pedagogies that are transformative for students and staff, via the curriculum and broader university experience.
Director of Sustainability
University of Gloucestershire