Alan Ruby

Senior Fellow
Senior Scholar, Penn AHEAD

Higher Education Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-746-2363


Professional Biography

Alan Ruby has a 40-year career in government, business, philanthropy, and education ranging from classroom teacher to Australian deputy secretary of education to chair of the OECD education committee. At the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Ruby as a Senior Scholar in the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy he focuses on globalization’s effects on universities and education around the world. A highly regarded teacher, he leads graduate seminars on “Globalization and the University”. He earned the School’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.

He currently serves as a consultant to the World Bank, an adviser to the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools and the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, and the American Institutes of Research. In 2015 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to international education through global reform initiatives, and his work with philanthropic organizations 

Mr. Ruby was a senior executive of one of the world’s premier grant making groups, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and served as director of the Human Development Sector for the East Asia Region of the World Bank, where he led the World Bank’s programs in education, health, and social insurance in 12 countries including China, Vietnam and Indonesia. 

Mr. Ruby served for over six years as Australia’s Deputy Secretary of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, where he was responsible for primary and secondary education, higher education, and vocational education and training. He chaired the education programs of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), spearheading the development of education metrics comparing school results across member countries including the development of a new assessment regime (PISA). He was also a member of the Scientific Advisory Group that created the framework for the flagship OECD publication Education at a Glance. Early in his career, he was a teacher and an official in the state government of New South Wales.

Selected Publications

Boruch, R., &  Ruby, A.: (in press). “To Flop is Human: Learning More from Failure.”  in Scott, R., and Kosslyn,S. (Eds.) Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Hoboken, NJ:  John Wiley and Sons.

Ruby, A.: Super-sized system offers more choice than the McDonald’s Menu. Times Higher Education, 8 January 2015.

Perna, L.W., Ruby, A., Boruch, R.F.,Wang, N., Scull, J., Ahmad, S., & Evans, C.: Moving Through MOOCs: Understanding the Progression of Users in Massive Open Online Courses. Educational Researcher, December, 2014.

Ruby, A.: “The Discounting Trend in US Universities.”Times Higher Education, 27 November 2014.

Ruby, A.: “A welcome clash of academic cultures.” Times Higher Education, 16 October 2014.

Ruby, A.: “Preparing Global Citizens.” The International Educator, September/October 2014.

Ruby, A.: “How a small university maintains its big international reach.” Times Higher Education, 11 September 2014.

Ruby, A.: “Heavy weather: fiscal clouds and Mooc waves in the Sunshine State.” Times Higher Education, 1 May 2014.

Perna, L., & Ruby, A.: Cautious towards MOOCs, ScienceGuide, 1 May 2014.

Chi, P. T., Ruby, A., & Linh, H.H.: Mid Term Review of the Vietnamese German University , World Bank, February 2014.

Ruby, A. & Sarinzhipov, A.: ”Towards the next stages of educational reform in Kazakhstan” in Bridges, D. (Ed.) (2014)Educational Reform and Internationalization: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Ruby, A. & McLaughlin, C.: “Transferability and the Nazarbayev Intellectual schools: Exploring models of practice transfer” inBridges, D.(Ed.) (2014)Educational Reform and Internationalization: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 

Ruby, A.: “State Interventionism”, Times Higher Education, 28 November 2013.

Ruby, A. & Jaramillo, A.: "A Buyers Guide to Branch Campuses” in  Araya,D., & Marber, P., (Eds.) Higher Education in the Global Age: Policy, practice and promise in emerging societies, Routledge, New York, September 2013.

Ruby, A., & Boruch R.: Failure analysis, Times Higher Education, 5 September, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “ Benchmarking Higher Education”, in Jaramillo, A., The 100 Universities study: University Governance in the Middle East and North Africa, World Bank, Washington, DC., June 2013.

Ruby. A.: “Big, bold and highly accessible,” Times Higher Education, 27 June, London, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “Market Trends for International Students -2020”, Trends and Insights, NAFSA, June 2013. Also published in The International Educator, March 2014 and in ScienceGuide as “Where will international students go?’, 10 June 2013

Perna, L., & Ruby, A.: “The Silver Bullet of Education,” ScienceGuide, 21 May 2013.

Ruby, A.: “Massive, open, online appraisals,” Times Higher Education, 9 May, London, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “A Few Global Trends and Points of Commonality in Quality Assurance in Higher Education” in Regan T. & Saginkyeva, A., ( Eds.) , Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum Conference Proceedings,  Indigo Press, Astana, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “Adapt, survive, and thrive,” Times Higher Education, 28 February, London, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “More to MOOCs than Moolah,” Times Higher Education, 10 January, London, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “Tinker, Tailor.. “ in Perna, L.W., (Ed.) Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2013.

Ruby, A.: “Bologna Tasters enter US Menus,” Times Higher Education, 1 November London, 2012.

Ruby, A.: “Take and Give,” Times Higher Education, 4 October, London, 2012.

Ruby, A.: “Beyond a Joke,” Times Higher Education, 9 August, London, 2012

Ruby, A.: “Recommended Reading” Times Higher Education, 12 July, London, 2012.

Ruby, A.: “A Utilitarian View of Rankings”, NAFSA News, 17(23). 26 June, 2012.

Ruby, A., & Kelly, S: “Status update: Actively engaging our friends,” Times Higher Education, World Reputation Rankings 2012. 

Ruby, A., & Jaramillo, A.: “A Buyers Guide to Branch Campuses”. University World News October 2011.

Ruby, A.: “Moving Past the Agent Debate.” Trends and Insights. NAFSA, May 2011.

Hartley, M., & Ruby, A.: “A Little Supervision is a Good Thing”. The Chronicle of Higher Education March 29 2011. 

Jaramillo, A., Ruby, A., Henard, F., & Zaapanne, H.: Higher Education in the Middle East & North Africa. The World Bank, Washington DC, 2011.

Ruby, A.: ”The Not So Open Door.” November 18 2010.

Choudaha, R., & Ruby, A.: “Foreign borders: Putting national needs first.” University World News August 2010.

Ruby, A.: “India: Selling Services or Spreading Light?” University World News 110, February 2010.

Ruby, A.: “India Is Opening Up.” The Chronicle of Higher Education January 29 2010.

Ruby, A.: The Uncertain Future for International Higher Education in the Asia Pacific. NAFSA e-books 2010.