Dr. Paul Cowell


Head of Economics & Paris wellbeing coordinator

Originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north-east of England, Paul spent 16 years in Scotland where he obtained a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Stirling in 2010, a MSc Economics from the University of Edinburgh in 2012, and obtained his PhD from the University of Stirling in 2018. Prior to joining Forward in 2023, Paul was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling.

With a passion for the student learning experience, curriculum design, and for developing and diffusing innovative pedagogies, Paul obtained a teaching qualification (PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education) in 2019, and became a Senior Fellow of Advance HE in 2020. Paul is also a contributor to CORE Econ, a revolutionary, new open-access curriculum for teaching introductory economics.

In 2021, Paul became an Associate of the Economics Network, the largest and longest-established academic organisation devoted to improving the teaching and learning of economics in universities, where he contributes to the research group.

In 2022, Paul was appointed by the QAA to the expert advisory board tasked with updating and rewriting the benchmark statement for economics, which is used across all UK higher education instutions. Paul was also appointed as a QAA Designated Quality Body Assessor, a role which evaluates and defers the degree awarding powers of education providers in the UK.

Prior to joining Forward, Paul won both the student-led excellence in teaching award for his faculty and the institutional teaching impact award, three years in a row. He also held leadership roles as an elected member of the University Court, the Deputy Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, and chair of the institutional pedagogy group.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys gardening (no space is too small), travelling (particularly the Outer Hebrides of Scotland), and football (especially his beloved Newcastle United).


  • University of Stirling Teaching Excellence (student-led) – 2021, 2020, 2019
  • University of Stirling Excellence in Feedback (student-led) – 2021
  • University of Stirling Teaching Impact Award (institutional) – 2021, 2020, 2019

Research Interests

  • Economics of education
  • Behavioural insights and education
  • Pedagogical research in assessment, learning, and curriculum design


  • EC2065: Microeconomics
  • EC2066: Macroeconomics

Select Publications

Peer Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters 

Cowell, P. (2020). ‘Goal Setting and Implementation Intentions to Improve Educational Outcomes’. QAA 5th International

Ehancement Conference: Building Resilient Learning Communities. QAA Scotland, 3-5 November 2020. Available at: https://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/ethemes/conferene/goal-setting-and-implementation-intentions-to-improve-educational-outcomes.pdf 

Quality Assurance Agency (2023). ‘Subject Benchmark Statement: Economics’. Available at: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/sbs/sbs-economics-23.pdf 

Op Eds and Short Articles 

Cowell, P. D. & Comerford, D. (2022). ‘Three ways to make the most of college and university – surprising insights from economics’. The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/three-ways-to-make-the-most-of-college-and-university-surprising-insights-from-economics-191013 

Cowell, P. D. (2021). ‘COVID-19 has changed university teaching – here are five things to stick with in the future’. The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/covid-19-has-changed-university-teaching-here-are-five-things-to-stick-with-in-the-future-152287 

Babones, S., Barnett, K., Cowell, P. D., Hicks-Keeton, J., Jones, O. A. H., Schnellman, J., & Spierling, K. E. (2021) ‘Is it time to reassess student assessment?’ Times Higher Education. Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/it-time-reassess-student-assessment 

JISC (2021). ‘Rethinking assessment’. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/reports/rethinking-assessment

Conference Presentations & Invited Talks

  • June 2023 – QAA Scotland International Enhancement Conference, Glasgow, UK. ‘Real-time Digital Collaboration for Learning, Community-building, and Feedforward’
  • February 2023 – QAA Quality Insights Conference ‘Disciplinary and academic skills collaboration: Extending and enriching students’ learning’ (joint with Jennifer Cowell)
  • April 2022 – Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, Glasgow, UK. ‘Economics education in the covid-19 pandemic: what was done and what should be done?’ (joint with Fabio Arico, Paul Latreille, and Adam Cox)
  • February 2022 – QAA Quality Insights Conference ‘Sustainable authentic assessment: experiences and challenges in a management school’
  • November 2021 – Southern Economic Association Conference, Texas, USA.’Goal Setting and Implementation Intentions to Improve Educational Outcomes’ (Presidential Session)
  • September 2021 – Developments in Economics Education Conference ‘Catch you on the flip side: translating online learning into hybrid delivery’ and ‘Economics education in the covid-19 pandemic: what was done and what should be done?’ (joint with Fabio Arico, Paul Latreille, and Adam Cox)
  • July 2021 – Australasian Teaching Economics Conference, Brisbane, Australia. ‘Teaching Covid Economics Using CORE and Cooperation’
  • April 2021 – Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, Perth, UK. ‘Goal Setting and Implementation Intentions to Improve Educational Outcomes’
  • February 2020 – CORE Project / Nuffield Foundation, Bank of England, London, UK. ‘Economics education for a public purpose’ (joint with invited students)
  • April 2019 – Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, Perth, UK. ‘Socioeconomic Disadvantage and University Attainment: A Lasting Penalty?’

Any inquiries from prospective students about admissions, applications, tuition fees, programmes, student life should be directed to the Forward College team at info@forward-college.eu.