Professor Barbara Allan
“We are a leading business school and my aim is that we continue to improve our quality, reputation and financial sustainability, and bring the business world closer.”
I am proud to be Dean of Westminster Business School, which is a leading professionally focused and research-engaged business school. We are located in the heart of London opposite Baker Street station and close to Regent’s Park. We are an international school with a diverse community of undergraduate and postgraduate students representing more than 140 countries. It is exciting and stimulating to be part of this international community.
As Dean, I provide leadership for our courses and programmes. We enable students to achieve high-quality degrees and we provide them with many opportunities both within their courses and as part of our student enrichment activities. This includes professional accreditations and experiences as well as international experiences. We also provide an extensive range of enhancement activities including internships, professional placements, study abroad, business competitions, entrepreneurship activities, professional networking and voluntary work. We have many societies and these enable our students to practice their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Overall, we enable our students to establish themselves in careers in business and management around the world. Our diverse community of students and staff means that they also start off with a very strong global network.
I want to ensure that all of our students have a great experience and move on to professional careers. Our staff use their expertise and experience in research and their professional careers to enhance the student experience – many of them are actively engaged with applied research and this informs our business development activities. We provide an interesting and distinctive range of short courses on management and leadership to participants from around the world. This means that, as a business school, we have developed a vibrant community of students, practitioners and academics.
My own research is in the area of e-learning and e-mentoring, and also women and leadership. I have a personal commitment to women in leadership, having been mentored by brilliant men and women who have enabled me to move into the position I am in now. At Westminster Business School we now have a new programme called Women for the Board, which is about helping women to develop skills, confidence and networks for leadership and career development.
I have previously worked in a variety of roles at the universities of Birmingham, Hull, Lincoln and Leeds Metropolitan, as well as many years with the Open University. For a number of years, I ran a successful professional development business with clients across the UK and Europe. This business was one of the early innovators in providing e-learning and e-mentoring support for a diverse range of organisations.
I am very interested in different approaches to enhancing the student experience and this has involved initiating and establishing projects such as the alumni e-mentoring project and the student buddy project, an initiative to support the integration of international and home/EU students. My work on learning innovations, and particularly e-learning, was recognised at a national level when I was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship in 2008 and I became a Principal Fellow in 2014. I am currently leading the innovative Curriculum and Assessment Project which is part of the University’s Learning Futures initiative. This project is focusing on developing the University’s academic framework, assessment for learning, and also revising the academic regulations. I have also written a number of books that focus on my experiences in the field of learning and teaching.