Professor James Arthur OBE

Professor James Arthur

School of Education
Professor Emeritus of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor James Arthur is the former Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues 2012-2023 in the University of Birmingham. James was Head of the School of Education from 2010-2015 and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 2015-2019.

He was previously Editor of the British Journal of Educational Studies for ten years and has holds numerous honorary titles and Fellowships in the academe, including Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow, Faculty Affiliate at Harvard University, Senior Fellow of Boston College, Senior Fellow of the University of Virginia, and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. James was made an Officer of the British Empire by the Queen in 2018 and in 2020 won the internationally prestigious Expanded Reason Award from the Ratzinger Foundation in the Vatican.

He has written widely on the relationship between theory and practice in education, particularly the links between character, virtues, citizenship, religion, and education. James chairs the national Society for Educational Studies and has served on many governmental education committees, as well as the Step Up to Serve Advisory Council chaired by HRH the Prince of Wales (2013-2020). In 2023 his Centre won the prestigious QS Global Award in Education from 1,200 entries. James advises several international charities, particularly the Kern Family Foundation of which he is a Senior Fellow. James graduated with a master’s and doctorate from the University of Oxford and currently has an appointment at Harvard University. 


  • D.Phil (1992) University of Oxford
  • MSc (1989) University of Oxford
  • BA (1979) University of Birmingham


Recent publications


Arthur, J 2021, A Christian Education in the Virtues: Character Formation and Human Flourishing. Routledge Research in Character and Virtue Education, 1 edn, Routledge, London.

Peterson, A, Arthur, J & Varghese, J 2021, Ethics and the good nurse: character in the professional domain. Character and Virtue Within the Professions, Routledge.

Arthur, J 2019, The Formation of Character in Education: From Aristotle to the 21st Century. 1st edn, Routledge, London.

Arthur, J (ed.) 2019, Virtues in the Public Sphere: Citizenship, Civic Friendship and Duty, 1st Edition. 1st edn, Routledge.

Arthur, J 2018, Policy Entrepreneurship in Education: Engagement, Influence and Impact. Routledge.


Arthur, J & Walker, D 2021, 'Assessing ethical reasoning among junior British army officers using the Army Intermediate Concept Measure (AICM)', Journal of Military Ethics, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-19.

Arthur, J 2020, 'Seeking the good in education through a positive conception of social justice', British Journal of Educational Studies.

Arthur, J 2019, 'Christianity and the character education movement 1897-1914', History of Education, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 60-76 .

Arthur, J, Earl, S, Thompson, A & Ward, J 2019, 'The value of character-based judgement in the professional domain', Journal of Business Ethics.


Arthur, J & Harrison, T 2022, Service-Learning, character education and spiritualy in a Catholic University. in MB Isola & L Gherlone (eds), Spirituality and Higher Education: Perspectives from Service-Learning . 1st adapted edn, UNISERVITATE Collection, vol. 3, CLAYSS, pp. 135-153. <>

Commissioned report

Arthur, J, Moulin-Stozek, D, Metcalfe, J & Moller, F 2019, Religious Education Teachers and Character: Personal Beliefs and Professional Approaches. Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham., Birmingham. <>

Arthur, J, Watts, P, Fullard, M & Moller, F 2018, Character Perspectives of Student Teachers: Initial Insights. University of Birmingham.

Arthur, J, Harrison, T & Taylor-Collins, E 2017, A Habit of Service: The factors that sustain service in young people. University of Birmingham. <>

Arthur, J, Thompson, A, Kristjansson, K, Moller, F, Ward, J & Rogerson, L 2017, Flourishing from the margins: Living a good life and developing purpose in marginalised young people. University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham. <>

Arthur, J, Harrison, T & Burn, E 2017, Schools of Virtue: Character education on three Birmingham schools. University of Birmingham. <>

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