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Queen Mary Academy

Drapers' Lecture 2023

The Drapers' Company supports an annual lecture on learning and teaching, hosted by Queen Mary University of London.

Tertiary Education for the 21st Century: the who, the what, and the how.

We are delighted to be joined by Mary Curnock Cook CBE, former Chief Executive of UCAS and a leading figure in UK higher education for this year's annual Drapers' Lecture on Wednesday 22nd November 2023, The People's Palace, Mile End campus. 

Profile Photo of Mary Curnock Cook

About Mary Curnock Cook

Mary Curnock Cook is an independent education expert serving in a non-executive capacity on a number of Boards.

From 2010-2017, Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS. Earlier in her career she held executive and non-executive positions in the education, hospitality, food and biotech sectors.

Mary is chair of Pearson Education, its UK arm, and also chairs the governing body of the Dyson Institute. She is a non-exec Director at the Student Loans Company, the London Interdisciplinary School, the Student Room and Education Cubed, and a Trustee  at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).  She has the role of Network Chair for Emerge Education, the leading edtech investor in Europe.

In 2021, Mary took on the Chair of the UPP Foundation Student Futures Commission, set up to ensure successful student futures following the pandemic. She is a regular speaker and commentator on HE policy and practice and a recognised champion of the student interest. 

Mary has an MSc from London Business School and was awarded an OBE in 2000, and a CBE in 2020 for services to further and higher education. She is an honorary Fellow of Birkbeck and Goldsmiths and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire.

Our previous speakersDrapers Company logo

We have been honoured to welcome many distinguished speakers for the annual Drapers' Lecture.

  • 2022 Professor Simon Kemp - Engaging students in sustainability: how the UN Sustainable Development Goals can lead to curriculum transformation, community partnership and student success
  • 2021 Professor Sian Bayne - The Future of Digital Education. References are available in this Google doc
  • 2020 Nick Hillman - The Future of Higher Education and Implications for Students
  • 2019 Dr Franklin A. Tuitt - Re-imagining Higher Education in Challenging Times: Designing Inclusive Learning Environments where Racial and Ethnic Minority Students Matter and Thrive
  • 2018 Professor Sir Chris Husbands - What lessons are there from the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • 2017 Professor Jo Beall - Rights, Realities and Rebellions in International Higher Education
  • 2016 Baroness Tessa Blackstone - University challenge: can a broader curriculum help create more successful graduates?
  • 2015 Anne Morrison - What are we educating students for?
  • 2014 Professor Graham Gibbs - What Determines Educational Quality?
  • 2013 Professor Martin Bean CBE - MOOCs, Napster and the Tyranny of Conventional Wisdom: Where’s the Next Giant Leap for Higher Education?
  • 2011 Professor Sir David Weatherall - The North/South Partnership: How British Universities can Contribute to Improvements in Global Health
  • 2010 Professor Sir David Watson - Higher Education and the Question of Conscience
  • 2009 Professor Sir Steve Smith - The Future of Higher Education: Funding and the Economy
  • 2008 Professor Peter McPhee - Rethinking Undergraduate Education for the 21st Century: Creating the Melbourne Mode
  • 2007 Baroness Morris of Yardley - What is Higher Education for?
  • 2006 Professor Marcus du Sautoy OBE - Prime-ary education: why we should tell students about the big stories of maths
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