As Director of QAA Scotland, Professor Sharp was responsible for the development of the new enhancement-led approach to quality and standards in a framework which binds quality assurance and enhancement closely together involving extensive student participation. The QEF attracts significant international interest.
Originally an academic economist, Professor Sharp’s interest in quality and standards was stimulated by his roles in curriculum development and course management for ‘traditional’ higher education students and also in the context of wider patterns of education including part-time and work-based provision. This led to his involvement in the creation of the comprehensive credit and qualifications framework in Scotland, the SCQF. In 2007, Professor Sharp became a founding Director of the SCQF Partnership.
Professor Sharp has had extensive international involvement in quality matters including work in South Africa, Ireland, Namibia, Luxembourg, Iceland, Serbia, Romania and Albania. He has undertaken a range of assignments on behalf of the Council of Europe to support countries involved in the Bologna process. In 2006, he was elected to the Board of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
Professor Sharp has also been involved in work in the health sector. In 1999 he was appointed to the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland and subsequently to the Board of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland which he chaired in 2006.
Professor Sharp is currently a higher education quality advisor to the Ministry of Education in Luxembourg and Chairman of the International Quality Board advising the Ministry of Education in
Iceland. Professor Sharp is an independent member of Court of the University of the Highlands and Islands. In 2007, he was made an Honorary Fellow of Glyndwr University, Wales, and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of the West of Scotland and by the Open University. Professor Sharp was awarded an OBE for services to higher education in 2006.