Professor Tom Harrison

Professor Tom Harrison

School of Education
Professor and Programme Director of the MA Character Education
Director of Education - Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues

Contact details

The School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Professor Tom Harrison is a HEA Principal Fellow and National Teaching Fellow. He is Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Programme Director for the MA in Character Education.  Tom is also the books editor for the British Journal of Educational Studies (BJES), Secretary and Trustee for the Society for Educational Studies (SES) and Secretary and Trustee for the Association for Character Education (ACE).

Tom Harrison’s specialist interests are character, cyber-wisdom and the Internet; character education and virtue ethics; youth social action and citizenship education. Tom researches, publishes and gives presentations in the UK and Internationally in these areas as well as developing resources and training programmes for schools, voluntary sector and other organisations. His most recent book is Thrive – how to cultivate character so your children can flourish online was published in January 2021.



  • PhD, School of Education, University of Birmingham
  • Principle Fellow, HEA
  • National Teaching Fellow
  • PGCert in Academic Practice 


Dr Tom Harrison has spent most of his career working in higher education and the not for profit sectors running educational programmes. Most recently Tom has managed projects on behalf of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, School of Education and the University of Birmingham that have had both a national and international impact. He is currently Programme Director of the MA in Character Education and Director of Education for the Jubilee Centre.

Previously, Tom worked for a number of charities and ran programmes that sought to enhance character and citizenship in children and young people. 


Programme Director - MA Character Education 

Postgraduate supervision

Tom supervises a number of students and his research interests include:

  • Character
  • Virtue
  • Citizenship
  • Cyber-phronesis
  • Youth social action

Doctoral research

PhD title
The Influence of the Internet on the character virtues of 11-14 year olds in England. 


Current Research

Principle Investigator – Parents and Teachers as Partners in Character Education

Principle Investigator – Character Education Platform for the TWCF

Principle Investigator – Cultivating Cyber-wisdom in Children and Young People

Previous Research

Principle Investigator – Teaching Videos in Distance Learning

Principle Investigator – Teaching Character, University of Birmingham. (Funded by the department of Education)

Co-Principle Investigator -  Habits of Service 

Co-Principle Investigator - Character, Practical Wisdom and Professional Education

2015 - Principle Investigator – Building Character Through Youth Social Action - University of Birmingham

2015 - Principle Investigator – Building Character Through Youth Social Action - University of Birmingham

2012 - Co-Principal investigator, Knightly Virtues, University of Birmingham

2011 - Co-Principal Investigator, My Character Project, University of Birmingham

2009- 2011 Programme Director, Engaged Project, University of Cambridge

2009 - Co-Principal Investigator, Global Citizens, VESL 

Other activities

Secretary and Trustee – Association of Character Education (ACE) 

Books editor for the British Journal for Educational Studies. (BJES) 

Secretary and Trustee – Society for Educational Studies 

National Teaching Fellow – 2018

Birmingham Education Fellow – 2017

Principle Fellow – Higher Education Futures Institute 

Fellow – Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi)

Academic Lead – What is Character; Virtue Ethics in Education MOOC

Governor – Bonsall Primary School


Recent publications


Harrison, T, Polizzi, F, Murfin, S & Peachey, L 2022, Futureproof; A comprehensive framework for digital citizenship education. John Catt.

Harrison, T 2021, THRIVE: How to cultivate character so your children can flourish online. Hachette UK, London. <>


Harrison, T & Laco, D 2022, 'Where’s the character education in online higher education? Constructivism, virtue ethics and roles of online educators', E-Learning and Digital Media, pp. 1-19.

Polizzi, F & Harrison, T 2022, 'Wisdom in the digital age: a conceptual and practical framework for understanding and cultivating cyber-wisdom', Ethics and Information Technology, vol. 24, no. 1, 16.

Harrison, T & Polizzi, F 2021, '(In)civility and adolescents’ moral decision making online: drawing on moral theory to advance digital citizenship education', Education and Information Technologies.

Harrison, T 2021, 'A new educational model for online flourishing: a pragmatic approach to integrating moral theory for cyber-flourishing', Pastoral Care in Education.

Harrison, T, Dineen, K & Moller, F 2021, 'Tests of life or life of tests? similarities and differences in parents’ and teachers’ prioritisation of character, academic attainment, the virtues and moral theories', Journal of Beliefs and Values.

Harrison, T 2020, 'How distance education students perceive the impact of teaching videos on their learning', Open Learning, vol. 35, no. 3. <>

Harrison, T & Dennis, M 2020, 'Unique ethical challenges for the 21st century: online technology and virtue education', Journal of Moral Education.

Gierczyk, M & Harrison, T 2019, 'The effects of gender on the ethical decision-making of teachers, doctors and lawyers', New Educational Review, vol. 55, pp. 147-159.

Taylor-Collins, E, Harrison, T, Thoma, S & Moller, F 2018, 'A habit of social action: Understanding the factors associated with adolescents who have made a habit of helping others', Voluntas, pp. 1-17.

Hamnett, N, Patel, N, Nelson, K, Harrison, T & White, N 2018, 'How do explicitly stated hospital trust values relate to their CQC ratings?', BMJ Leader, vol. 2, pp. 68-70.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Harrison, T 2019, Virtue Ethics in Teacher Education. in Encyclopedia of Teacher Education. Springer. <>


Arthur, J & Harrison, T 2022, Aprendizaje-servicio, educación del carácter y espiritualidad en una universidad católica. in Spirituality and Higher Education: Perspectives from Service-Learning .

Commissioned report

Harrison, T, Hunter, R, Miller, B & Metcalfe, J 2020, An Evaluation of a Workshop for Parents and Teachers on Character Education. Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham.

View all publications in research portal


Character, virtue ethics, youth social action, citizenship, character and the internet

Media experience

Tom has been interviewed numerous times about character education for local and national radio programmes. He has written articles for the TES, Conversation, Huffington Post and been quoted in many national and local newspapers.  Tom was also a guest on the BBBC Radio 4 Bringing up Britain programme about character.  Listen to the episode on Character.

Policy experience

Tom has worked closely with the Department for Education on Character Education.  This includes attending Ministerial round-tables, advising on DfE events and activities, presenting to DfE staff and being an advisor on a national character education survey.  He also received funding from the DfE to conduct a programme of research looking at how character can be taught through and within subjects.  Tom was the academic advisor for the recently launched Prince William award and he has also worked with the Cabinet Office and their associated voluntary sector organisations.  

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities