The Honorary Degree was conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education at Bristol Cathedral and was in recognition of his academic contributions to the University.
Professor Ron Ritchie began his working life as an apprentice in the aircraft industry and completed a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton. He was the first in his family to go to university. Whilst there, however, he decided to change direction and become a teacher.
After qualifying at the University of Sussex he has had a 40-year career locally. He has taught in primary and secondary schools, worked as an advisory teacher in science and technology in the local authority and had a number of roles in higher education, initially at Bath Spa University and, since 2001, at UWE. He was dean of the then Faculty of Education from 2003-10. He retired from UWE in August of this year having spent the last few years as Pro Vice-Chancellor with a portfolio covering partnerships, diversity and civic engagement. He has been the University’s diversity champion and helped embed equality, diversity and inclusivity in the University’s strategy and practices and raised UWE’s profile as an inclusive organisation locally and nationally, including supporting UWE to become the leading university in the Stonewall Workplace Index.
Ron has been a well-regarded teacher, researcher and leader. During his career he has published eight books and many articles, and gained a PhD from the University of Bath. He has been involved in international projects across four continents. He has led initiatives and professional development for school leaders over many years and has contributed to a variety of national bodies and policy fora.
UWE’s partnership work with academies and trust schools has been led by Ron. He is currently the chairman of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust sponsored by UWE and Rolls Royce (since 2009) that is responsible for 13 local schools, many in disadvantaged areas. He was a founder member, director and past chairman of Trust in Learning Academies which is co-sponsored by UWE and City of Bristol College and is responsible for another five local schools, including Bristol’s first all-through school, Bridge Learning Campus in Hartcliffe, and Orchard School Bristol, where Ron started his teaching career.
In 2013, Ron was invited by elected Mayor, George Ferguson, to chair an education and skills commission developing recommendations that are now being implemented through a major initiative to brand Bristol as a Learning City. He was given an award by the Bristol Lord Mayor this year in recognition of his contribution to children and young people in the city. He has been a director for several educational charities including Ablaze (recently awarded the Queen’s award for voluntary service), Wildscreen and Vital, and is a governor of Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.