Former President of ICDE, and Former Director of Student Services at The Open University, UK
David Sewart worked for the UK Open University from the time it began to admit its first students in 1971. He retired in
2004 as Director of Student Services and Professor in Distance Education, having worked also as a part-time tutor for many
years and completed the OU's MBA programme as a student.
Throughout his professional life - nearly entirely devoted to the development of student services in higher education taught
at a distance, David Sewart has always maintained a strong academic interest including significant research and publishing
Embracing the teaching and advisory functions of distance education as well as the administrative, record keeping and regulatory
aspects, David Sewart has shown a high level of academic leadership, extensive development knowledge of student learning,
and operational knowledge of all aspects of services to students in non-traditional frameworks throughout his professional
life with the Open University.
In his professional life, David Sewart has not restricted himself simply to regional or national activities. On the contrary,
he has became a well known and respected person in the international community of distance education through international
activities and consultancies.
He has represented The Open University at symposia and conferences abroad in France, Germany, and Australia. He has also acted
as a consultant for UNESCO on the development of a distance teaching system in India and for the Australian Tertiary Education
Committee on the use of Study Centres in Distance Teaching, and he has taken part in the validation of Empire State College,
New York State, as the external member.
David Sewart has also had considerable involvement in the activities of ICDE over a long period of time :
He was elected Vice President from 1982, re-elected 1985 and became President of ICDE from 1988 to 1992, during which period
he was involved in negotiations for the setting up of a Permanent Secretariat in Oslo, and its funding from external grants,
in particular from the Norwegian Government.
He was Programme Chair for the 14th International Conference in Oslo in August 1988 and for the 17th World Conference in Birmingham
in June 1995.
From 2004 to 2006 he was ICDE Vice President for Europe and is presently Chair of the Board of Trustees which operates under
ICDE's new Constitution.
David Sewart is Chair of the Editorial Board of Open Learning - an internationally acknowledged journal in open and distance
education - and was for many years Editor of ICDE's journal, Open Praxis.