Professor Robert Harris
Assistant Director, UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Governor of De Montfort University
Professor Robert Harris joined the Board in November 2011 and is Chair of the Ethics Committee, a member of the Finance and Human Resources Committee and a member of the Conferments Committee. He is also a Pro Chancellor of the university.
Robert was born and brought up in London, and attended Enfield Grammar School; he has degrees from the Universities of Leeds (BA), McMaster (MA) and Hull (PhD). While his main interest is naturally in his family, his hobbies range from travel, politics, sport (with particular reference to Tottenham Hotspur FC, Surrey County Cricket Club and the San Diego Padres), film and theatre to antiquarian book collecting (he has a particular interest in Arnold Bennett) and good food.
In 2004 Robert was appointed Assistant Director by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), where he is mainly responsible for coordinating institutional reviews and applications for degree-awarding powers/university title.
Prior to that he worked at the University of Hull, both in the Department of Politics and International Studies (his most recent research related to political corruption) and as (Senior) Pro Vice-Chancellor. He had previously held lectureships at Brunel and Leicester Universities.
Robert has also worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia; he has advised the UK Home Office and the Japanese Ministry of Justice on criminal policy; and he has held a number of public appointments. In the field of higher education he has undertaken validation and accreditation work in the UK, continental Europe and Hong Kong.
On the subject of higher education, Robert says:
“This is a pivotal moment for higher education, as political, economic and cultural forces demand that we redefine and re-operationalise such concepts as excellence, relevance, creativity and purpose.
"As members of De Montfort University it is our job to create an environment in which it is safe to stimulate, challenge, question, innovate and inspire, always in pursuit of the highest academic and professional standards.
"As I see both students and staff striving to close the gap between potential and achievement I am proud to play a small part in what I truly believe can and must be a transformational process, both for those students and staff themselves and for those individuals, organisations and communities with which they live and work.”