Quality assurance

Professor John Grattan

Professor John Grattan

07 February 2014

Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and International at Aberystwyth University, has been appointed to the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

The QAA guides and reviews universities and colleges across the UK, judging academic standards and the quality of the learning experience.

Professor Grattan is keen to support QAA in its mission of protecting standards and improving quality, enabling higher education to transform the lives of today's students as it did his own.

Indeed, he was himself a late entrant to university, having previously worked as a motorcycle courier.

“I believe passionately that going to university is a privilege that can change people's lives,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to discover what I could be good at and encouraged me to aspire to excellence. I want every student to have the same life-changing opportunity.”

Professor Grattan believes that quality assurance helps universities and colleges constantly strive to improve what they offer to students. An important part of this is the willingness to develop and adapt teaching methods.

“Universities should leave no stone unturned to enhance the student experience,” he added.

In Professor Grattan's view, one of the main challenges for QAA is to manage a shift in emphasis from assurance to driving improvement ('enhancement'), with buy-in from across the UK higher education sector.

Welcoming the appointment, Douglas Blackstock Director of Resources at QAA said; “The Board sets the strategy for QAA, so it is important that we have the right people around the table, encompassing a variety of different perspectives, to ensure we are equipped to deal with the changing environment in higher education.

“John is a welcome addition to the Board, and we look forward to his input in shaping the direction of higher education quality assurance.”

An expert in geohazards and volcanoes, Professor Grattan is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an expert member of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Archaeological Science. His research features in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room A’s national risk register.

Prior to taking up his current post in January 2012, he was Dean of Science at Aberystwyth and was previously a lecturer within the University's Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences.