Professor Ruth Whittaker

Director of Academic Quality and Development
Ruth's role is to lead and support the university areas of quality enhancement and assurance; academic and professional development and enhanced approaches to learning, teaching, assessment; and educational research and evaluation. Her role includes leading and engaging in policy and strategy development as well as institutional, national and international research and development, in relation to learning and teaching, quality enhancement and widening participation policy and practice. The Department’s aim is to support a continually enhanced student learning experience through collaborative working across the University. This activity is underpinned by GCU’s Common Good mission, Strategy 2020, the Strategy for Learning and our commitment to staff and student engagement.
Ruth’s research and development interests include recognising prior informal learning (RPL); articulation; transition and progression and student engagement . She has led university-wide strategic developments in these fields, such as GCU’s Widening Participation Strategy; RPL Policy and Guidelines; the university-wide Moving Forward initiative (Transition and Progression) and the SFC-funded Greater Glasgow Articulation Partnership (articulation from college to university) and subsequent College Connect Strategy; and the Strategy for Learning. Her most recent learning and teaching development at GCU has been leading and supporting the development of the GCU Common Good Curriculum as part the GCU 2020 Strategy, Strategy for Learning and the University’s Ashoka U accreditation. She has also directed research and development projects at a national and European level at the policy/practice interface. This included the development of the national SCQF RPL Guidelines (2003-05); models and resources to support RPL in the Community Learning and Development (2005-06) and Social Services sectors (2006-08) and SCQF Partnership and Skills Development Scotland within the context of Careers Guidance (2009-12); the Flexible Delivery Quality Enhancement Theme project on Supporting Flexible Entry to University (2006); the First Year Experience Quality Enhancement Theme project on Transition into and through Higher Education (2007) and was a member of the Project Management Group for the Scottish Government funded scoping study on support and recognition mechanisms for refugees and migrant workers (2009-10).
The most recent research and development work in relation to RPL has been the QAA-funded activity, Streamlining RPL Processes: facilitating the award of credit for prior informal learning which has resulted in sector guidelines to enhance practice ) and the National Framework for RPL in HE (), as well as the SCQF Partnership/SDS–funded My Skills, My Future RPL profiling toolkit for use by a wide range of learners in community contexts as well as by young people in schools. Ruth has also led a number of EU funded projects, including the Socrates Grundtvig project Valuing Learning from Experience (VaLEx) (2003-05). She is on the Board of Directors for the Prior Learning International Research Centre , based in Canada and has been working with other international RPL scholars to develop an international RPL research agenda and lead collaborative research activities in this field.


Ruth is located in Room B113 in the Britannia Building