Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud

Co-Director of Deakin University’s Centre for Digital Assessment and Learning (CRADLE)

About Professor Boud

Available for PhD supervision

  • Named the top Australian researcher in higher education research five years in a row in The Australian’s Research Magazine.
  • Winner of the 2022 Career Achievement Award, Australian Awards for University Teaching, Universities Australia.
  • Served as president of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) from 1988 to 1991, was a member of the Executive from 1978 to 1992. He was awarded as an honorary life member in 2005.
  • Recognised as a Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education in 1986.
  • Awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Linköping University in Sweden in 2004.
  • Authored or edited more than 23 monographs. Author of 176 international refereed journal papers in a wide variety of international journals and 132 book chapters.
  • Chief Investigator on three Australian Research Council (Discovery) grants.
  • Sought after conference expert on topics ranging from developing evaluative judgement to the purposes of assessment.
  • Featured in the top 1% of the most highly cited researchers in the world for research in the social sciences by Clarivate™.

As Australia’s leading higher education researcher, Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud co-leads a globally recognised research group on higher education, assessment and digital learning.

A non-traditional pathway into higher education

From studying physics at the University of Surrey, Professor Boud took an ambitious leap to undertake a PhD at a newly established centre focusing on educational technology in higher education. He was one of the few researchers in higher education who hadn’t previously been a teacher and seen the world through a teacher’s eyes, instead describing himself as ‘an investigator of learning’.

Professor Boud’s research degree led him to a career studying and supporting teaching and learning in higher education, in the UK and Australia. He became a Professor and Director at the University of New South Wales’s Professional Development Centre from 1988 to 1991. He then worked in adult education as Professor of Adult Education and Head of the School of Adult and Language Education at the University of Technology Sydney becoming an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education and Dean of the University Graduate School.

Now the nation’s most cited higher education researcher, Professor Boud’s research on innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment over the last 40 years have shaped the practice of higher education globally.

Professor Boud is a pioneer of learning-centred approaches to assessment. Since the 1970s, he has co-designed and co-assessed course units with students, inspired by his own ‘dissatisfaction with my experiences as a student at school and university’.

Before Zoom existed, he designed and taught a Masters involving cross-continental learning where students from different countries worked together on assignments.

Powering student-centred learning

At Deakin, Professor Boud was appointed as the Founding Director of the Centre for Research on Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) in 2014 and is a member of Deakin’s Centre for Research for Educational Impact (REDI). He continues to co-lead CRADLE’s globally recognised research group on higher education, assessment and digital learning.

CRADLE’s collaborative team of higher and professional education researchers undertake studies with Deakin’s faculties and schools, as well as professional education bodies and universities internationally. These include effective feedback and feedback literacy, developing students’ evaluative judgement and how achievements can be portrayed and learning in workplaces.

Professor Boud sees research as needing to be applied to real problems, which means enabling learners to have a better education experience is always his priority.

‘My aim has always been to do research that will ultimately have a positive impact on teaching and learning, and improve the quality of a learners’ experience,

‘I’m in the business of learning, and so I believe we need to be more focused on what learners do, than what teachers do,’ he says.

‘I want to ensure students feel supported to take a more active and meaningful role in teaching and learning and that a course or assessment responds to what learners need and can use. I’m particularly interested in how we can develop students’ capacity to judge their own work and that of others.’

Professor Boud has presented his work in 85 universities in 20 countries overseas and in 32 Australian universities. He has led or participated in 13 national collaborative projects to advance higher education practice in Australia, changing on-the-ground teaching and institutional policies.

‘For me what counts is the value of what I do and the impact of it. I have been pleased to find that my work, which I thought at the time was very speculative, has now been taken up and innovative teachers and educational researchers are using it.’

Never too late

After completing school, it can be easy to forget that ‘learning never stops’, no matter what stage of your life you’re in. Professor Boud experience tells him that ‘it is never too late to learn’.

‘We have an extraordinary capacity to take on new challenges no matter which stage of life we have reached,

‘Our continuing strive for learning drives us to research,’ he says.

Professor Boud has some keen advice for teachers as well as budding education experts hoping to follow in his educational footsteps.

‘As teachers, we should continue to innovate to benefit our students. They might not like some of the things we do, but if we can show it will lead to enhanced outcomes, then we should always persist and seek to make it work and be accepted,’ he says.

For those interested in doing a PhD in higher education, Professor Boud believes ‘research can feel like a calling’.

‘If you’re a prospective student, only choose this, or any other field, if you have a passion for it that extends over and beyond any particular project you may be involved in when you start. Research is a vocation which some of us need to pursue.’

‘Being supervised by the renowned Professor David Boud, a leading figure in higher education research, was incredibly inspiring. The pivotal moment came when Dave visited my office and took an interest in how I taught. Although I was already dedicated to teaching and enhancing student learning, it was his engagement that opened my eyes to the transformative potential of higher education research.

That interaction set me on a path to pursuing a second PhD in education under Dave's mentorship. His influence perfectly exemplifies the concept of 'standing on the shoulders of giants'. I am deeply appreciative of the knowledge and experiences he has shared.’

Associate Professor Jacyln Broadbent
Deputy Head of School of Psychology

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