Dr Clare Saunders BA (Hons), MA, PhD, PFHEA

Associate Professor and Visiting Fellow

Key details

Dr Clare Saunders

Associate Professor and Visiting Fellow

Clare has over twenty years' experience in higher education, starting out as a junior lecturer in philosophy, and becoming increasingly focused on learning and teaching over the course of her career. She has over a decade's leadership experience in learning and teaching – initially in a UK-wide discipline-specific role with the Higher Education Academy's Subject Centre network, and then as the University of Birmingham's head of educational development. She was the University Director of Learning and Teaching at Greenwich from 2018-2021 and retains Visiting Fellow status.

Clare's teaching experience encompasses a wide range of subjects in both higher education and philosophy, as well as contributing to interdisciplinary programmes. She has taught at all levels of higher education from foundation year to postgraduate study.

She has been principal or co-investigator for learning and teaching development grants totalling more than £80,000; and was also part of the team behind the Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, which attracted £2.6m HEFCE funding (2005-2010) and is one of the few such Centres to have established a sustainable future beyond its funding term.

Clare also has a career-long commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), from her involvement as a postgraduate student in initiatives to diversify her 'home' discipline of philosophy; to her University roles on the EDI committee and BAME project steering group, and as Aurora champion. In 2016 Clare was recognised as Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy for her strategic impact in relation to UK HE teaching and learning.

Responsibilities within the university

Clare was responsible for leading the Greenwich Learning and Teaching directorate, achieving learning and teaching quality enhancement across the institution, and promoting a culture of placing the student experience at the heart of all learning and teaching activity.

Clare lead the quality assurance and education development remits of the University and coordinated learning, teaching and student experience activity across the University's four Faculties and three campuses as well as the University's extensive portfolio of collaborative provision UK-wide and internationally.

Clare worked with the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to lead the strategic development of learning and teaching, including the development and delivery of policy and projects to enhance student experience.

Clare was a member of various University committees including Academic Council, University Learning Quality and Standards Committee, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee; she chaired the Greenwich Opportunities in Learning and Development (GOLD) professional recognition panel, and co-chaired the Learning Technologies Strategy Group and Apprenticeships Quality Assurance Group.


2017 University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor's Award


Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy/AdvanceHE

Aurora Champion

External examiner for the Centre for Learning Innovation and Professional Practice, Aston University

British Postgraduate Philosophy Association Advisory Board member

Advance HE Quality Advisory Board member (2017-2019)

Heads of Educational Development Group executive committee member (2014-2018)

Research / Scholarly interests

Clare's 'home' discipline is philosophy, but she has an abiding interest in interdisciplinary research and scholarship, dating back to her doctoral studies exploring the territory between philosophy and cognitive psychology and what this might tell us about human rationality. She continues to apply this interdisciplinary approach to her work in higher education, most recently working with colleagues in education economics to analyse the impact of government policy on student demographics and academic practice.

Clare also has a long-standing interest in concepts of value in higher education, for example critically analysing how we judge the value of a degree; the changing purposes and values of higher education institutions; and the role of values in notions of academic identity.

Recent publications

Mossley, D & Saunders, C (2013). A revolution in philosophy teaching? The Philosophers' Magazine, 62, 40-45.

Saunders, C, Mossley, D, MacDonald Ross, G & Lamb, D (2012, 2007). Doing Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Students. London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic (2nd edition) / London: Continuum (1st edition).

Saunders, C & Addis, M (2010). What's the value of a humanities degree? Graduate Market Trends, autumn 2010.

Saunders, C & Closs, J (2010). Discipline perspectives: philosophical and religious studies. Academy Exchange 9: The Postgraduate Student Experience, 9, 18-20.
Saunders, C (2009). Developing researchers in the arts and humanities: lessons from a pilot programme. International Journal for Researcher Development, 1:1, 45-70.

Saunders, C & Over, D (2009). In two minds about rationality? In Evans, J & Frankish, K eds. In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cochrane, A & Saunders, C (2009). Philosophical and religious studies 'beyond boundaries'. Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies, 9:1, 77-92.

Lamb, D & Saunders, C (2007). What do our students really think? Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies, 6:2, 29-44.

Saunders, C (2002). Review of Mark D Jordan, The Ethics of Sex. Women's Philosophy Review, 29, 97-102.


'A new social segregation? The impact of tuition fees, student number controls and school leaving age on the composition of student cohorts, and hence academic practice and student experience, in UK universities' (with Prof D Hawkes et al.) - Society for Research into Higher Education international conference, 11-13 December 2019

'Caps and fees: the unintended impact of policy change on the composition of student cohorts and practice within UK universities' (with Prof D Hawkes et al.) – National Education Opportunities Network summer symposium, 13-14 July 2019.

'Making values work? Using values as a framework for understanding and navigating change in higher education' - Staff and Educational Development Association conference, 17 May 2013, Leeds, UK.

'Aspiring academics: supporting humanities postgraduate students and early career academics through changing times' - Higher Education Academy conference, 5-6 July 2011, Nottingham, UK.

'Working with the Other: interdisciplinarity and the role of philosophical and religious studies in 21st century higher education' (with Dr R O'Loughlin) - International Society of Religion, Literature and Culture conference, 23-26 September 2010, Oxford, UK.

'Diversity in Philosophy?' - Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, 9-12 July 2010, University College Dublin, Ireland.

'Academic values and academy values: de/re/constructing the good of higher education' - Academic Identities for the 21st Century, 16-18 June 2010, Strathclyde, UK.