My friend and colleague John Richardson, who died at the age of 73 from bowel cancer, had a distinguished career, first in cognitive psychology and lately as a student-centered higher education researcher. . He was a key contributor to the development of the UK National Student Survey and to a better understanding of students from traditionally underrepresented groups.
Born in Overseal, Derbyshire, John grew up with his mother, Mavis (née Watts), in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, after his separation from his father, Edwin Evans, a miner and lay Baptist preacher. In 1956, Mavis, then a civil servant, married Denis Richardson, a clerk she had met when they both worked in different branches of GCHQ.
At a time when access to higher education in the UK was limited, John won an open scholarship in mathematics at St John’s College, Oxford, having excelled at Cheltenham High School and benefited from a role model at his home. uncle, Cedric Watts (the first in the family to pursue higher education).
He transferred to Oxford’s joint degree program in philosophy and psychology before completing a doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of Sussex. In 1975, he took a position as a lecturer in psychology at the young Brunel University, where he was appointed head of the humanities department in 1989 and was promoted to professor in 1991. His early research focused on human memory and cognition in healthy individuals, but he also studied the effect of brain injury in human patients (particularly after minor head trauma).
John encouraged the use of qualitative methods such as interviews, diaries, and focus groups by researchers and their students. During the 1990s, he organized training funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which resulted in a widely used textbook on qualitative methods in psychology and the social sciences.
In 2001, John left Brunel to Open University where he had been appointed to a new chair in student learning and assessment, based at his Institute of Educational Technology. Her work began with the experiences of deaf or hard of hearing students, and then examined the role of gender, social class and ethnicity in participation and achievement in UK higher education.
He contributed to a 2003 report on the collection and use of student feedback for the Higher Education Funding Council of England (Hefce) and was part of a team that carried out a pilot study to Hefce which led to the introduction of the National Student Survey in 2005. – now a highly influential source of annual information on the experiences of almost half a million higher education students in the Kingdom -United.
John was a Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education and of the Academy of Social Sciences. He retired from OU in 2017 and was named Professor Emeritus. He continues to supervise student researchers and to publish. His latest work was a research literature review comparing the readability of serif and sans serif fonts, published in February 2022.
In 1984 John married Hilary Robertson, who was working at OU when they met. Hilary survives him, as do their daughters, Kat and Annie.
John Richardson obituary | Higher Education
Source link John Richardson obituary | Higher Education