Published: 15 April 2019

Spotlight on Professor Ben Brabon

Professor Ben Brabon joined Surrey in April 2019 as Director of Undergraduate Programmes, bringing over 17 years of experience as an academic, manager and consultant. Prior to joining Surrey, he worked for Advance HE and the Higher Education Academy as Senior Adviser and Academic Lead for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – with responsibility for 32 subject areas, including Business and Education.

Ben has led over 20 national and international projects, working with over 40 Universities globally, as well as government and sector agencies – including the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency, British Academy, British Council, the UK’s Department for Education, Swedish Ministry of Education, and Flemish Ministry of Education in Brussels. Employability and skills development are at the core of Ben’s work and he led Advance HE’s national research project on Building Higher Education Curricula Fit for the Future (2018) which examined the connections between the UK’s Industrial Strategy, 4IR (Forth Industrial Revolution) and curriculum development in higher education institutions across the UK.

With 5 books and over 40 papers to his name, Ben is recognised internationally as a pioneer of open online learning – as the convenor of the UK’s first undergraduate credit-bearing MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). His most recent research is focused on the ongoing impact of neoliberalism and the experience economy on who we are and how we learn. His latest publications look at the ways in which the experience economy will transform approaches to curriculum design and delivery as HE providers evolve beyond traditional models of production/consumption to become the “stager” of memorable educational experiences and the student a “guest” who is welcomed into “an educational theatre of experiences” (2018).

Ben’s pedagogic research has been cited by the former UK Universities Minister, David Willetts – most recently in his 2017 OUP publication A University Education where he acknowledges Ben’s pioneering work as an “entrepreneurial educator.”

Professor Brabon commented: SBS is a thriving Business School that is about to enter the next phase of its development – with a new strategy and a revised portfolio. While there are challenges for the HE sector in the UK, SBS is well placed to meet these challenges and provide creative responses that will transform the student experience and set the School apart from its competitors. I am looking forward to working with colleagues to develop our UG offer; shape new learning and teaching methods; forge new international partnerships; secure triple accreditation; and transform our approach to digital education.

I was drawn to SBS as it has such a compelling blend of educational excellence and world-leading research, combined with truly committed and inspiring colleagues. The School has so much potential to continue to innovate in the learning and teaching space through projects like SurreyIDEA and the development of degree apprenticeships, as well as exploring new short courses and blended/online options.

In my role as Executive Director of UG Programmes, I want to support cross-School learning and teaching initiatives that tap into the great strengths that we have within the individual Departments – fostering a ‘connected curriculum’ and creating a signature pedagogy for SBS that will be recognised globally for its approach to sustainable innovation.

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