Peter Williams is a graduate in English from the University of Exeter. Following a brief spell as a management trainee with the British Printing Corporation, and three years in the Registry of the University of Surrey, he moved in 1974 to the University of Leicester, where he was in charge of the Higher Degrees Office. In 1978 he was promoted to Assistant Registrar in the Medical School, becoming Secretary of the School in 1982. From 1984 until 1990 he was the Deputy Secretary of the British Academy. In 1990 Peter was appointed as the first (and only) Director of the CVCP Academic Audit Unit (AAU), one of the first quality assurance agencies, and between 1992 and 1997 was the Director of the Quality Assurance Group of the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC), which took over the responsibilities of the AAU. In August 1997 Peter became the Director of Institutional Review in the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), which was formed by a merger of HEQC and the quality assessment divisions of the UK’s higher education funding councils. In August 2001 he additionally took on the role of Acting Chief Executive. In March 2002 he was appointed Chief Executive of QAA. Peter will retire as Chief Executive at the end of September 2009
In addition to his work in the UK, Peter has lectured and made presentations in many other countries and has participated in a number of international quality assurance projects in Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, India, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the USA. In 2004-05 he was a Vice-President, and between September 2005 and September 2008 served as the elected President, of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and represented ENQA on the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). During his time with ENQA, he was the principal author of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. He is an honorary Doctor of Laws of the Higher Education Training and Awards Council of Ireland (HETAC), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Freeman of the Guild of Educators. In June 2009 Peter was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for services to higher education.