National Teaching Fellow 2008
Institute at the time of award: Institute of Education, University of London
Professor Sir David Watson is an historian and has been Principal of Green Templeton College and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford since October 2010. Previous to this, he was Director of the MBA in Higher Education Management at the Institute of Education. This pioneering course began in 2002 and takes a yearly cohort of 25 of what David calls “people at the beginning of the middle of their careers”. The MBA has gathered a national and international reputation in the field.
David has deep experience of the subject matter. Throughout the 1980s he was Dean of the Modular Course and then Deputy Director at Oxford Polytechnic, and from 1990 to 2005 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton. He chaired the Longer Term Strategy Group of Universities UK between 1998 and 2005.
David’s own academic interests are in the history of American ideas and in higher education policy. He has written extensively in both fields, including biographical studies of the philosophers Margaret Fuller and Hannah Arendt, and a series of influential books on higher education policy and practice. Among the latter are Managing the Modular Course (1988), Managing Strategy (2000), and Managing Civic and Community Engagement (2008). His book on The Question of Morale will be published in 2009, and his Teaching Fellowship award is being used to support a cross-national study of university engagement with the community.
He is President of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) and Co-Director of the Institute’s Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES). An overview of his work can be found on the Teaching and Learning Research Programme’s capacity-building website.
However, David’s prime commitment throughout his career has been to learning and teaching. He says that he entered the profession to teach and thereby to develop the scholarly conversation in his field of the history of ideas. He was one of the first members of the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT), and elected to its Council in 2000. He is chair of the national Inquiry into the future for lifelong learning, supported by NIACE.
David is a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation and a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management. He was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education.
Principal, Green Templeton College
University of Oxford