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Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management, Aston University

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 and is directly responsible for learning and teaching; employability; and student planning.

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, 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 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.


  • –present
    Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management, Aston University