Nematollah Azizi is Professor of Educational Planning at the University of Kurdistan, Vice-President of the Iranian Association for Higher Education and President of the Iranian Association of Educational Management. He has been the UoK’s Vice-Chancellor for Research, the Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Director of Students Affairs, and the Director of Research Students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He was founding convenor of the Department of Education and research and teaching group on Higher Education, Curriculum Studies within the department.
As a senior academic, having had opportunities to teach in multiple higher education systems including at the University of Kurdistan, the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland and ICD Paris Business School, he has gained extensive experience in working with highly culturally diversified student groups at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has been responsible for redeveloping the PhD programme in Higher Education and Educational Management as well as many relevant Masters degrees.
In recent years, his research focus has been on internationalization of higher education and universities’ role in community engagement. He has been a principal investigator as well as collaborator in numerous internationally and nationally funded projects, including, recently, the British Academy Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)-funded project, Strengthening Urban Engagement of Universities in Asia and Africa.
During his period in senior administrative positions, he has demonstrated successful collaborative leadership and supervision skills, working with colleagues from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. In addition to his senior roles in the University of Kurdistan his international connectivity, rare amongst Iranian academics, has offered him some remarkable opportunities to enrich and deepen his professional proficiencies effectively, and to offer his expertise in higher education management and in strategies that enhance community engagement for diverse academic and student groups. He has been a visiting professor at University of Bath, University of Jyvaskyla, University of Gothenburg and University of Glasgow.
He has carried out a number of consultancies for regional, national and international agencies including the Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology, National Organization for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, and Kurdistan Council of Education. He has been an adviser and evaluator of programmes at ministerial level as well as within a number of universities. He has been a keynote speaker and chairperson at many international events.
Finally, regarding the importance of serving local communities in order to help them to flourish and to be empowered, he has been engaged proactively in founding and directing a number of NGOs and charities in Kurdistan, including the Institute of Darolehsan, and the Students Fund. He also has offered numerous workshops and courses for disadvantaged groups and individuals particularly in informal settlement areas.