Professor Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education in London, where he was both Dean of Professional Development and subsequently Pro-Director for Longer Term Strategy. In his academic work, he advances a social philosophy of the university, in which he has been attempting to identify creative concepts and practical principles that offer ways of enhancing universities and higher education. Recently, he has begun to sketch out the idea of the 'ecological' university.
His twenty-one books include The Idea of Higher Education, The Limits of Competence, Realizing the University in an Age of Supercomplexity, and A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. He is currently writing a trilogy of books on comprehending the university, the first two volumes of which have recently been published: Being a University (2011) and Imagining the University (2013). The third volume is underway. His books have been translated into several languages. He is also the author of over one hundred papers and well over another one hundred pieces of writing.
Ronald Barnett is the inaugural recipient of the European EAIR Award for Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education Research, Policy and Practice, and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. He has had conferred upon him a higher doctorate of the University of London, and Fellowships both of the Society for Research into Higher Education and of the Higher Education Academy. He is a visiting professor in China and Australia, an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, and has been a Special Adviser to the UK’s Select Committee Inquiry into Universities and Students. He has been an invited speaker in around 35 countries. Ronald Barnett also acts as a consultant, and has worked with most of the major national bodies in UK higher education including the HEA.