Keynote Address: Professor Paul Kleiman

Professor Paul Kleiman, Higher Education Consultant with Ciel Associates and Visiting Middlesex University and Rose Bruford College

‘I am not a number!’: reassessing assessment

‘Designing something that’s new or different is relatively easy. Designing something that is genuinely better is really hard

(Jony Ive, former Chief Design Officer, Apple)

The tectonic plates that underpin higher education were already moving dramatically before Covid struck. The pandemic served to accelerate many of the trends that were already happening. Amidst the panic and the often extreme pressures we witnessed a veritable explosion of creativity and innovation. Things changed, and changed fast, because there was no alternative. Assessment protocols, processes and practices that were seemingly graven in stone suddenly became malleable. “Oh, we CAN do that!”. It took a pandemic to show us that genuine change was actually possible. The danger, now we are in the ‘new normality’, is that our institutions – and we ourselves – simply snap back to what was familiar and expected. Except that now we have another new and serious challenge – that of the generative AI e.g. ChatGPT and Bard! This provocation will explore how we might best rethink and reframe assessment and offers some ideas as how we might change, for the better, our own practices and those of our institutions. Evolution or revolution?


Paul is a Higher Education Consultant with Ciel Associates and a Visiting Professor. He has a national and international reputation as a consultant and speaker and his work and research on creativity and innovative assessment is cited widely in books and journals across a range of disciplines. He originally trained and worked as a theatre designer, and worked successfully – as a designer, director, performer and writer  – before ‘accidentally stumbling’ into teaching in higher education. He was a founding tutor of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts before becoming, from 2000-2011, Deputy Director of PALATINE, the LTSN (then HEA) UK Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music. To escape from work, he and his partner (plus the compulsory dog) spend time on an old narrowboat which they restored. 

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