Associate Professor William Ashraf


Macquaire University, Sydney

Job Title

Office of the Dean Higher Degree Research 


Currently, I am the Macquarie University's institutional strategic lead (Office: Dean Higher Degree Research (HDR)) leading on (i) HDR Supervision policy and procedures renewal, (ii) development of HDR enrichment programs for supervisors, (iii) MQ HDR Supervision Fellowship programmes (via training and evidence pathways) and (iii) HDR Blended Learning ensuring their alignment with MQ Strategic Framework 2016 2024. For 2018 I am leading on the Early Career Researcher (ECR) HDR Supervision Associate Fellowship Program which has adopted the principals which underpin (i) UK Higher Education Academy's Professional Standards Framework , (ii) the Vitae Research Development Framework (RDF) and (iii) alignment with MQ Academic promotion criteria for HDR supervision. The new HDR Supervision policy means that recognition and reward can be achieved following a successful claim for Fellowship status. MQ HDR Supervision Fellow and Senior Fellow programs will operate from 2019. I am also implementing a blended learning and digital literacies strategy for HDR Supervision Enhancement and building a conversation at MQ on HDR Supervision in a Digital Age.

Before returning to Australia, I was Head of Learning Technology at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), UK. During this time, I developed the shared vision and acted as the strategic lead in the development and implementation of the University's Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) strategy and Digital Learning Platform agenda. Regarding concrete action, I lead the University in the visioning; planning, designing and developing TEL to support the goals of the University's Strategic Framework.

Before this role, I acted as a Strategic Consultant, generating $250,000 of new business, for Blackboard International and worked across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Region. My work included designing and planning strategies to help institutions translate their vision into a reality and creating actionable plans for successful implementation of technology-enhanced learning.

I also held the post at the University of Wollongong (UOW) as Head of TEL. During this time I led an international benchmarking exercise to ascertain our current strengths and areas for TEL development in comparison with twenty-six other universities, delivered an Open Learning strategy to the Academic Senate (first month), operationalised and implemented the University's Digital Learning Thresholds (fourth month), presented a strategic discussion paper for TEL (fifth month) to the University Education Committee which now paved the way for a full strategy, implementation and resourcing paper for approval by Senate February 2015. I led UOW's engagement and new partnership agreement with an international Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) provider FutureLearn to advance UOW's education footprint through open learning and showcase its world-class expertise.

I migrated to Australia to take up the post of Senior Manager: Learning and Teaching Assurance September 2011, in the Learning and Teaching Unit (LTU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). My work was directly aligned to UNSW strategic learning and teaching to leverage opportunities created by innovative educational technologies to integrate an outstanding campus-based experience with high quality online learning, teaching and digital resource provision.

At UNSW I headed up the Student Voice project and helped establish the Learning Analytics Service team whose goal is to provide the university with the capacity and agility necessary to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive international higher education landscape.

Before moving to Australia, I was the Director of TEL (2008-2012) at the University of Sussex, UK. I fulfilled and exceeded the strategic objectives of my appointment; by eliciting a sustainable overarching cultural change in the way that technology-enhanced learning underpinned the quality of teaching, learning and the student experience. I liaised with the UK's Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) at a strategic level, on behalf of the PVC, on matters relevant to our online and blended learning provision.

At the University of Bradford (1992-2008) I became recognised as an international leader in online/blended learning and the application of Web 2.0 technology in Higher Education. I attracted considerable media attention for my work with online learning and have been invited to speak at national and international conferences for online learning and digital futures in higher education.

In 2006 I became the first UK academic to replace first-year lectures with podcasts accessible via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and iTunes. I achieved considerable national and international recognition and media coverage (e.g. BBC TV and Radio, HBO, web coverage and newspapers The Guardian and The Independent. In recognition of my innovation, I was a Finalist in the Times Higher 2006 Awards for the 'Most imaginative use of technology in distance learning'.