Sara is an advocate for high quality learning and teaching, research and industry-academic engagement in the higher education sector, where she has worked for twenty years. She is focused upon ways to improve the student experience, levels of engagement and retention. Sara has published seven books and over 100 journal articles, conference papers and reports. Sara has an H index of 37 and has had 5,069 citations. She currently sits on over 60 programme committees and advisory boards and has undertaken over 120 international keynotes, presentations and public lectures in four continents.
Sara has raised over $10 million in research and development funding and undertaken consultancy work with government departments and agencies in the UK. She has experience of working with manufacturing, ICT, education, health and risk and resilience sectors. Sara is a passionate advocate of pedagogy-led blended learning, accelerated learning and activity-led learning. Her current research focuses upon learning analytics, online learning and higher education policy.
Sara has held several roles in the education portfolio. In senior management she has held several leadership roles in cross-university initiatives, including significant change management agency in the Transforming Learning programme at Curtin University, the renewal programme in Changing Minds and Lives strategy and the Transforming Transnational Education Delivery programme at Murdoch University. Her work has involved: curriculum review and development, learning infrastructure renewal programmes, implementation of university-wide blended learning, academic development and mentoring programmes, access and enabling programmes, quality improvement, benchmarking and evaluation and research on learning efficacy, analytics, student retention and engagement.
Before going to Australia, Sara was Director of Research at Coventry University, UK. Her work to bring commercial and academic partnerships together to fuel regional economic growth has given her a unique expertise. As a result, she has founded and developed the Serious Games Institute, led a successful consultation firm and attracted millions in research income from the British Council, UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, European Union and European Regional Development Fund. The Institute hybrid model has been replicated amongst a network of affiliated organizations in four continents and the business side of operations has successful commercial spin offs in the UK and Singapore.
Her most recent book, Education in Computer Generated Environments (2014) has been published in hardback by Routledge, in their Research in Education Series, and outlines a vision for future learning in higher education. Her awards include a teaching award at Birkbeck College, Most Influential Woman in Technology 2009 and 2010 by the US Fast Company and a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts. She was recently awarded the Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
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