Professor Anant Agarwal is chief executive of the online learning destination edX. He taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He previously served as director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he is also professor of electrical engineering and computer science. Professor Agarwal is a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies, including Tilera Corporation and Virtual Machine Works. He is a recipient of the Maurice Wilkes award for computer architecture, and MIT’s Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He was also awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr Prize for Higher Education for his work in advancing the massive open online courses movement.
Páll Ásgeir Torfason works as head of a department that focuses on implementing and supporting e-learning at the University of Iceland. Before working in higher education, Mr Ásgeir Torfason worked in Secondary education assisting and supporting teachers in using technology in the classrooms. Outside the office, he enjoys cooking, outdoor activities and, of course, new technology.
Senior director of the office of teaching and learning
Utah Valley University
Wendy Athens serves as senior director of the office of teaching and learning at Utah Valley University (UVU), through which she oversees online learning, faculty development, and effective use of learning technologies. She previously led online operations at Florida SouthWestern State College. Her research in effective online course design, course quality, student success, and self-direction of learners has been bolstered by her adjunct teaching roles. She is passionate about effectively harnessing the power of technology for learning, advocates for continuous improvement in delivery of higher education, and leads the expansion of the Advance HE teaching fellowship program at UVU.
Paul Basken joined Times Higher Education as North America editor in September 2018. He was previously a government policy and science reporter with The Chronicle of Higher Education, where he won an annual National Press Club award for exclusives. He founded the State Department bureau at Bloomberg News, was a White House and international correspondent with United Press International, and serves on the editorial advisory board of ASEE's Prism Magazine.
Phil Baty is a leading international authority on university performance and strategy, with more than 22 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade as editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist, a sought-after speaker and commentator, and the creator of the THE World Academic Summits.
Douglas Belkin joined The Wall Street Journal in 2007 as a foreign correspondent. He covered politics and economic issues before moving to the higher education beat in 2013. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter and their new puppy.
Seeta Bhardwa has been the student content editor at Times Higher Education since February 2017. She manages a network of student bloggers from all over the world who write about their experiences of studying at university, while creating student-focused content based on the THE rankings portfolio and writing comment and advice pieces on student issues. She was previously the deputy editor of Independent Nurse magazine and has a BA in English from the University of Reading.
Bruno Botta is vice-rector of Sapienza University of Rome, and has been deputy provost of internationalisation since 2014 and professor of chemistry since 2011. His research focuses on the synthesis of biologically active compounds derived from living plants. In 2012, he co-founded Molecular Links Rome, a spin-off company of Sapienza University of Rome involved in the synthesis, extraction, and production of bioactive substances of natural origin and protein-based products. He is author of 173 publications, including 10 patents, is author and co-author of 10 books, and has edited 2 textbooks.
Senior adviser of professional learning and development
Sally Bradley has worked for Advance HE, formally the Higher Education Academy, for the last 6 years. She has worked in higher education for more than 22 years and holds an honorary professoriate from the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University. She is also a qualified executive coach. Previously, Ms Bradley has worked as an educational developer and pedagogic researcher. She sat on the Researcher Concordat and on the internal Research Excellence Framework (REF) reading panel and continues to publish in the field of teaching excellence.
As a trusted advisor to university presidents, Dr Bridget Burns is on a mission to transform the way institutions think about and act on behalf of low-income, first-generation, and students of colour. She serves as the founding executive director of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), the first consortium of public research universities. Her work has helped the UIA campuses accelerate student success innovation. Since 2013, the UIA campuses have increased their low-income graduates by 32%.
Bridget served on her first presidential hiring committee aged 22 and has spent the past two decades helping to hire, advise, and advocate on behalf of more than 30 presidents and chancellors.
Dr Byrom is a senior lecturer in psychology at King’s College London. Her research focuses on university student mental health, with a particular interest in peer support, informal networks of support and settings-based approaches to improving public mental health. She is currently directing SMaRteN, the UKRI funded Student Mental Health Research Network. Nicola’s research here is inspired by her personal experiences and her work in the charity sector. She founded the student mental health charity, Student Minds, in 2009 with the ambition for all students to feel confident talking about mental health. She has worked to build and support better formal and informal networks of peer support to normalise conversations around mental health.
Chris Cardona is senior director and head of partner management at edX. Mr Cardona has a background in teaching and learning and, after leaving the classroom, he spent the past 15 years in a variety of leadership and executive roles at Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill Education and Cengage Learning. His passion for teaching and learning and driving outcomes for learners and partners defines the way he and his team works closely with edX's partners.
Igor Chirikov is the director of SERU (Student Experience at the Research University Consortium) and senior researcher at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. As director of SERU, Igor has broad responsibilities for overall SERU Consortium coordination, research and development. This includes coordinating the North American and international divisions, directing research priorities and development projects, and exploring new approaches to the use of data to assess the student experience. Prior to joining Berkeley, Igor worked as a senior research fellow and vice-president at HSE University in Moscow.
Sara Custer is digital editor at THE. She has covered global higher education as a journalist for more than five years. Before joining THE in 2017, she was editor of international education website and magazine, The PIE News.
Mike Damiano has more than 20 years of experience working on some of the world’s largest e-learning initiatives. During that time, he has led edtech projects across the schools and higher education sectors, often to provide new and innovative learning opportunities to under-served groups.
Emma Deraze is a data scientist at Times Higher Education where she works on the teaching rankings, including the THE/WSJ US College Rankings and the Japan University Rankings. She is involved in the analysis and processing of the data used in those rankings as well as development of the various methodologies.
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
Miriam Feldblum is co-founder and executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. She previously served as vice-president of student affairs, dean of students, and professor of politics at Pomona College (2007-2018), and as special assistant to the president, senior director, and faculty research associate at California Institute of Technology (1995-2007). The author of Reconstructing Citizenship: The Politics of Nationality Reform and Immigration in Contemporary France, Miriam has written numerous articles and chapters and delivered presentations on immigrant and international students, immigration and higher education, and highly skilled labour in the United States.
National Association for College Admission Counselling
Jayne Fonash is currently serving as president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). She has previously served as president of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC), and has been a member of the NACAC Board of Directors, the NACAC Affiliates Presidents Council, the PCACAC Government Relations Committee, and the NACAC Government Relations Committee. She has also served on the counsellor advisory boards for the Common Application as well as for several college and universities.
Dr Wayne Frederick was appointed seventeenth president of Howard University in 2014. He previously served as provost and chief academic officer. Most recently, the Howard University Board of Trustees selected him to serve as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery. Dr Frederick has advanced Howard University's commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service, and fiscal stability. He has overseen a series of reform efforts, including the expansion of academic offerings, establishing innovative programs to support student success and the modernisation of university facilities.
Kostis Giannidis is president of the Erasmus Student Network, the leading organisation in the field of student mobility, representing more than 350,000 international students annually. Kostis is a passionate advocate of the Erasmus generation, and believes that learning mobility is the driving force for the creation of a better world, enriched with empowered young people. He strives to ensure that international students receive quality education abroad and are equipped with the skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Tomás Gómez-Acebo has been vice-president of students at the University of Navarra since 2012. Previously, he was director of student affairs (2004-2010) where he oversaw the transformation of the engineering curriculum due to the Bologna Process. He obtained a degree in chemical engineering at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1987, and a PhD at the University of Navarra in 1995. He is professor of thermodynamics and materials science, and his research fields are computational thermodynamics and energy efficiency.
Jack Grove covers careers in higher education for THE, with a particular interest in matters relating to early career academics and PhD students. He also writes about industrial relations, professional and support staff and European higher education. He was named Data Journalist of the Year at the 2016 CIPR Education Journalism Awards. He has a BA in English from the University of Bristol, and previously worked on newspapers including the Cambridge News and the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
Frank Haber is a psychologist specialised in student mental health and intercultural competence development. He is a counsellor at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, and psychological counsellor and intercultural education officer at Jacobs University Bremen. His responsibilities include providing counselling and crisis response, conducting awareness campaigns, and delivering training and advise to staff on student mental health. Frank is also chair of the Guidance and Counselling Expert Community Steering Group at the European Association for International Education. Since Covid-19, Frank has explored the psychological challenges of the pandemic, developed related psychoeducational content, and adapted traditional counselling to fit the emerging online world.
Dr Tasoulla Hadjiyanni is Northrop professor of interior design at the University of Minnesota. She holds a MSc in urban development and management from Carnegie Mellon University, and her doctoral work in housing studies at the University of Minnesota sheds light on how the physical, mental, economic, social, and cultural costs associated with displacement carry forward for generations. Dr Hadjiyanni advocates for built environments that pave the way for social and racial justice, and her latest book The right to home - Exploring how space, culture, and identity intersect with disparities (2019) explores how elements of interiors support or suppress meaning-making processes.
Dr Martino Harmon was appointed as The University of Michigan’s vice-president of student life in 2020. An advocate for student success, Dr Harmon previously served as senior vice-president of student affairs at Iowa State University, where he provided strategic oversight for the student affairs division with a budget of more than $300 million, 800 staff members and 36 departments.
Chris has been news editor since February 2017. Previously he was a reporter who covered areas including teaching and learning, access, and internationalisation. Chris started his career as local government correspondent at the Cambridge News and holds a BA in history and an MA in medieval studies from the University of York.
Ms Erin Hoffmann Harding began her tenure as vice-president of student affairs at the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Within this role, Ms Hoffmann Harding oversees five areas comprised of multiple departments related to health and wellness, residential life, student development, career and professional development, and campus ministry.
Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño is president of IE University and a recognised influencer in global higher education. He is professor of strategic management, and past chair of the board of AACSB, the global association of business schools. As former dean of IE Business School, he played a leading role in business education and was the first European awarded Dean of the Year by Poets & Quants (2017). Santiago is a regular speaker at international conferences and frequently contributes to different journals and media on higher education and executive development, was recognised in 2019 as the leading Spanish influencer in management by the Mexican magazine Entrepreneur.
Ms Shinyoung Jeon joined the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 2013 and is currently leading two projects: Teachers and Leaders in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Raising the Basic Skills of Workers in England. She has extensive experience in education and skills, focusing on vulnerable groups such as migrants, youths, women and low-skilled workers. Prior to joining the OECD, Ms Jeon worked at the International Labour Organization both in Geneva and Jakarta and co-authored Skills for Green Jobs(2011).
Founding director of the center for the study of race and democracy
University of Texas at Austin
Dr Peniel Joseph joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 as founding director of the center for the study of race and democracy. Prior to this, Dr Joseph was professor at Tufts University where he also founded the school’s center for the study of race and democracy to promote research focused on issues of race and democracy. Dr Joseph’s career focus has been on what he describes as “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science.
Jaakko Kurhila is chief digital officer at the University of Helsinki. Prior to this, he was the director of University of Helsinki Open University. From 2008 to 2015 he was the head of studies at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. His background is in adaptive educational systems and collaborative e-learning. In addition to the administrative position, he led the Agile Education Research Group (RAGE), concentrating on research-based computer science education development.
Director of changemaking education and social innovation
Miami Dade College
Sandra LaFleur is Miami Dade College's director of changemaking education and social innovation. In her role at the largest public institution of higher education, Sandra focuses on building and sustaining the College's social impact education ecosystem. She works with MDC’s eight campus teams to embed changemaking education into both curricular and co-curricular opportunities. Sandra's experience in the youth development and college success fields have focused on strategy setting, operational planning, organisational growth and change management, program/product design and execution, innovation and research, talent, and communications.
Dr Paul LeBlanc is president of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Under the 15 years of Paul’s direction, SNHU has grown from 2,800 students to over 135,000 and is the largest non-profit provider of online higher education in the country. Forbes has listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education.” Washington Monthly named him one of America’s ten most innovative university presidents. In 2018, Paul won the TIAA Institute Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education, joining some of the most respected presidents in American higher education.
Dr Caroline Levander is vice-president of global and digital strategy at Rice University. In this capacity, she is responsible for expanding the university's global impact through the development of new degrees, academic programs, partnerships, and research collaborations that increase the university’s global impact and innovate Rice's educational enterprise with new technologies.
Meghan Marzella is a junior writing student at Ithaca College. Her works of creative non-fiction can be found in literary magazines such as The Oakland Arts Review and Flees on the Dog. Ms Marzella has worked to advocate for higher education students amid the Covid-19 pandemic and strives to provide the voice of the student perspective in current institutional decision making.
As vice-provost of student life at Purdue University, Dr Beth McCuskey serves as the senior student affairs officer, overseeing a range of departments dedicated to supporting student success. In this role, she oversees 13 departments with over 40,000 students, and emphasises the lifelong benefit of an educational experience through environments, culture, people and programs. Dr McCuskey obtained her PhD from West Virginia University. Besides Purdue, she has worked at West Virginia University and the University of Wyoming, served as a faculty member at numerous institutes, co-authored a book and written several articles and chapters.
Wessel Meijer has been engaged in higher education for more than 25 years as an all-round manager with a special interest in internationalisation. Over the years, he has held various roles and positions in several Dutch universities, such as Utrecht University and Fontys University of Applied Sciences. He currently is director of academic affairs at Radboud University, leading a team of more than 160 dedicated professionals in the field of research, education, societal impact and student affairs. He is elected board member of the European Association of International Education.
Ajita Talwalker Menon is president and CEO of Calbright College. She has dedicated her career to supporting government agencies, higher education institutions and systems, and non-profit organisations to drive better and more equitable outcomes in higher education and workforce training. Prior to relocating to California, she served in the Obama Administration as special assistant to the president for higher education policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council where she led efforts to expand college opportunity, affordability, innovation, and completion, ensuring more Americans could access the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the nation’s growing economy.
Director of the educational technology leadership program
George Washington University
Natalie Milman is professor and director of the online, graduate Educational Technology Leadership Program at George Washington University, and a member of the interdisciplinary Human-Technology Collaborations PhD program and research lab. Dr Milman is a member of GW’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers and winner of the 2017 Bender Teaching Award. Her research focuses on the design of instruction and models for the effective leadership and integration of technology at all academic levels; online student support needs, engagement, and learning; issues of diversity, inclusion, and digital equity; and the use of digital portfolios for professional development.
Stefani Milovanska-Farrington has been a professor of instruction at the University of Tampa since 2018, after obtaining her PhD in economics from the University of South Florida. Her research interests include microeconomics, education, labour, family, and health economics, but her passion has always been teaching. She has published articles in academic journals including Economics and Human Biology, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Education Economics, and Research in Economics.
David Minahan is chief information officer at TEDI-London, a new startup university focused on delivering world-class design engineering education. He has worked in technology and transformation for over 20 years and he has held senior roles in local government and higher education.
Caroline Mol worked as a management consultant for over eight years for Deloitte in India, the Netherlands, the USA and Abu Dhabi in the field of human capital advisory services and specifically digital learning and leadership development. After Deloitte, she was an internal consultant for the World Food Programme in Rome, Italy and advised and digitised this UN organisation's learning catalogue. Since 2015, she has been with edX, building up the team in Europe and part of strategic partnerships where she finds strategic synergies between academic and corporate institutions and the edX consortium.
Ms Katherine Nicholls is director of research at Net Natives. She has been conducting market research in higher education for over 5 years, from identifying nationwide personas used across university marketing to working with government bodies on international student recruitment strategies. Ms Nicholls is the Market Research Societies Young Researcher of the Year and MediaTels Rising Researcher.
Dr Pablo Ortiz has been an educator for over 27 years, beginning his career as a teacher and school principal in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He was promoted to assistant superintendent in 2012 and to associate superintendent in 2013. He joined Florida International University in 2015 as associate vice-president of regional academic locations and institutional development. Most recently, Dr Ortiz became vice-president of regional and world locations where he provides administrative oversight to the university’s nine locations. Dr Ortiz also leads FIU Global, the university's central hub founded in 2019 for campus internationalisation and encompasses its commitment to advance the international agenda.
Doug Parkin is responsible for a range of Advance HE's national open programmes and works with universities both in the UK and around the world. Prior to this, he was head of staff and educational development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with responsibility for academic development, educational development, leadership development, EDI awareness and core workplace skills. Alongside his passion for leadership development, Mr Parkin has also demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of learning, teaching and assessment in HE.
Lynn Pasquerella was appointed president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2016, after serving as the eighteenth president of Mount Holyoke College. She has held positions as provost at the University of Hartford and vice-provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at the University of Rhode Island. A philosopher whose work has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, Pasquerella has written extensively on medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law.
Charlie Penrose is creative director of Net Natives. Since joining the agency 5 years ago he has delivered creative campaigns and brand strategies for some of the world’s most exciting universities and study brands, including NYU, Carnegie Mellon University, Study in Sweden and London South Bank University. The work he enjoys most is that which seeks to open up higher education to new audiences.
Ms Chastity Pratt is the inaugural education bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. She joined after studying education funding as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Ms Pratt has spent most of her career covering education at the Detroit Free Press, Newsday and The Oregonian. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is based in Detroit where she lives with her son and daughter.
Duncan Ross has been a data miner since the mid-1990s. As director of data and analytics at THE, he oversees a team that generates university rankings and related data products. Prior to this, he led Teradata’s data science team in Europe and Asia, where he was responsible for developing analytical solutions across a number of industries, including warranty and root-cause analysis in manufacturing and social network analysis in telecommunications.
Morton Schapiro became the 16th president of Northwestern University in 2009. He is among the nation’s leading authorities on the economics of higher education, with expertise in college financing and affordability and on trends in educational costs and student aid. Previously, Morton was a professor of economics and assistant provost (1980-1991), chair of the department of economics at the University of Southern California (1991-1994), dean of the college of letters, arts and sciences (1994-2000), and finally president of Williams College (2000-2009). Morton has written more than 100 articles, and written and edited nine books.
Murray Simpson is chief growth officer at Net Natives, with nine years of experience in the higher education sector. Mr Simpson specialises in the strategic direction and delivery for education clients and partners across the US, UK and Europe, supporting them to sustain and grow their student enrolments through research, creative, advertising and technology innovations. He is based in New York City, having moved from the UK in 2018, and specialises in domestic and international marketing and recruitment initiatives for both on-campus and online programs.
Becky Smith has worked at Advance HE since 2017, where she assists governments, national agencies, institutions and individuals on a global basis to enhance performance, and achieve their goals in developing higher education provision. Ms Smith spent 20 years in academic and administrative roles within universities on three continents. She is a member of the Universities UK International (UUKi) Strategic Advisory Board, a member of the International Advisory Committee at China’s prestigious Peking University and a Lead Technical Advisor on HE Leadership and Teaching Quality for the UK Government’s “Skills for Prosperity” Programme.
Ms Elizabeth Stovall is a higher education strategy leader for Microsoft Education, where she develops global digital transformation strategies and programs for colleges and universities. In a previous Microsoft role, Ms Stovall established early cloud adoption programs to engage university faculty and student developers in the use of Microsoft Azure. Prior to Microsoft, she led strategic technology collaborations at the Big Ten Academic Alliance, an academic consortium of large research universities in the Midwest United States, and the launch of new academic programs in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Director of education strategy, business applications and power platform
Kelly Sundberg is director of education strategy for business applications and power platform at Microsoft. She prides herself on focusing on the proper integration of technology in schools to drive student outcomes. She joined Microsoft in 2010 as an education account executive after spending three years in the education sector. Ms Sunberg received an MA in cultural and education policy studies at Loyola University Chicago, where her research focused on the alignment of learning competencies and entry-level workforce competencies in the global economy.
Dr Jan Wöpking is managing director of German U15, the association of fifteen large leading research universities in Germany. He studied philosophy as well as business and computer science, and received a PhD from The Free University of Berlin.
Dr Nancy Young has served as vice-president of student affairs at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 2007. Her responsibilities include oversight of assessment, behavioural risk, budget, campus life, and career services. She shares responsibility for the learning, success, and well-being of the nearly 15,000 students. Prior to this, Dr Young served as assistant vice-president of student affairs and director of housing. Under her leadership, UMBC’s residence community grew to 4,000 beds, transforming a commuter college to a Carnegie highly residential university.
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