About Peter Birdsall

Peter Birdsall

Peter Birdsall, the President of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, exemplifies the role of an innovative leader in higher education. His career is distinguished by a steadfast dedication to enhancing educational standards, promoting internationalisation, and implementing cutting-edge academic programmes that prepare students to excel in a globalised workforce.

Born and educated in the UK, Birdsall left school early to be involved in entrepreneurial start-up companies, including a theatre company, a performance art centre, an English Pub in Switzerland, and an Italian Restaurant in the Netherlands. He finally started and completed his higher education, focusing on education management - whilst raising his baby daughter as a single parent. His education journey began in the early 1990s at a public university. Since then, he has accumulated over thirty years of experience in Dutch higher education, leading Wittenborg together for the past 20 years with his wife of 25 years, Maggie Feng.

Birdsall's tenure at Wittenborg started when, in 2008, the family bought it for 1 € and reshaped it into the international and diverse, nationally and internationally accredited Business School it is today. The past 16 years have been marked by significant growth and development. Since assuming leadership, Birdsall has been a catalyst for change, guiding the institution through numerous transformative initiatives and multiple accreditations. Wittenborg has expanded its academic offerings to include a range of bachelor's and master's programmes aligned with current industry standards and anticipating future trends, and designed to be internationally relevant, drawing students from around the globe, delivered by a faculty that mirrors this diversity.

Birdsall’s approach is a commitment to creating an inclusive academic environment, believing in the value of a multicultural educational setting, which enriches the learning experience and fosters mutual understanding and respect among students of different backgrounds. This commitment is reflected in the university's demographic makeup, which boasts students and staff from over 120 countries, making Wittenborg one of the Netherlands' most diverse higher education institutions.

Birdsall advocates practical learning and has been instrumental in forging strong links with the business community, enhancing the university's curriculum and ensuring that students gain valuable real-world experience through internships and applied research projects. His vision also extends to the faculty, whom he encourages to engage in continuous professional development and remain at the forefront of their respective fields.

Birdsall is involved in educational policy development at both national and international levels and advocates for policies that support international education and cross-border collaboration. His expertise is often sought in discussions on the future of international higher education.

Birdsall’s leadership style is forward-thinking and student-centered. He is known for being highly approachable and regularly interacts with students and staff to gather insights and feedback, which he believes are crucial for the university's ongoing improvement.

Through his work, Birdsall has shaped the trajectory of Wittenborg University and made significant contributions to the broader landscape of global higher education. His efforts ensure that Wittenborg remains at the cutting edge of teaching and learning, providing its students with the tools they need to succeed in an ever-evolving world.

Looking to the future, Birdsall continues to drive Wittenborg towards becoming a hub of innovation and excellence in management education and enhancing its research capabilities, thereby contributing to the global body of knowledge and preparing students to become the leaders of tomorrow.