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Prof Nora Colton
First Floor
Maple House, Tottenham Court Road
Prof Nora Colton profile picture
  • Director, Global Business School for Health
  • Global Business School for Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Nora Ann Colton is the Director of the UCL Global Business School of Health.  She is a health and development economist. Previous to this role she was the  UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (Postgraduate Education) and Joint Director of Education atthe UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital.  She has been  a visiting professor in the School of Pubic Administration at theUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology, Chengdu, China. She received her undergraduate degree in 1984 and MSc in 1986 in economics from Arizona State University. She completed an intensive Arabic programme in 1986 at Georgetown University. In 1987, she received a post-graduate diploma in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. In 1993, she received her D.Phil. from Oxford University.  Her thesis was on international labour migration in Yemen. The thesis examined the economic structural changes to the Yemeni economy due to out-migration to Saudi Arabia between 1970 - 1990. The work involved primary research in the form of a survey of return migrants from Saudi Arabia funded by a Fulbright grant. Nora Colton was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in 1992. She assisted Professor Jeffery Williamson with research on international migration in the antebellum era in the USA funded bya National Science Foundation Grant. She also taught in the Department of Economics. From 1993 - 2010, Nora was a Professor of International Economics at Drew University where she continued to undertake research in international development of the Middle East.  She received a serial Fulbright grant in1995 to undertake a longitudinal study of return migration from Kuwait to Jordan.  In 2008, she received a Carnegie Foundation grant to conduct fieldwork in Lebanon on the migration of Islamic militants to urban poverty belts in the Middle East.  She has been a visiting professor of economicson two occasions at the American University of Beirut. 

In 2011, she was appointed Dean of the Royal Docks Business School and, subsequently, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) in 2014 at the University of East London prior to joining UCL. 

In the past few years, she has refocused her research on health and international development economics.  She completed a MSc in Health Economics and Pharmacoeconomics from University Pompeu Fabra,Spain. She is Chair of the Board for Vision Aid Overseas and a trustee for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).  She is also a trustee for the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) and serves on there numeration committee for St. Anthony's College, University of Oxford.


Research Summary

Nora Ann Colton has extensive experience conducting field studies on Middle East economies and macroeconomic structural challengesin the MENA region. She is fluent in Arabic and familiar with most dialects inthe region. She has lived for extended periods in Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Her research is in health and development economics, where she often uses an international political economy or structuralist approach. Much of her work is based on primary data, where she oversees the administration of surveys or conducts extensive interviews. Most of her research is funded by grants, including two Fulbright grants, Carnegie Foundation Fellowship, Social Science Research Grant,and several grants through American research centres in the region.  

Currently, she is engaged in projects that examine the structures of health systems and the socio-economic factors shaping these health systems. 

Teaching Summary

Nora Ann Colton is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. She has extensive experience of teaching and learning not only as a professor of health and development economics, but as a senior leader in higher education. Nora began her teaching career as a doctoral student at Oxford University. At Oxford, Nora taught several courses mainly in the field of international development, trade and finance.  She also taught while a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard in the field of macroeconomics.  In 1993,she was appointed an assistant professor of International Economics at Drew University where she developed several modules and programmes in the area of international development, trade and finance earning the title of Professor of International Economics in 2006.  She also led on the development of Drew International Seminars which were high impact experiences abroad for Drew undergraduate students.  


She has taught at the UG and PGT level as well as supervised theses.Over the past several years, Nora has been a higher education leader.  In this capacity, she has led on several teaching innovations. These include the introduction at the University of East London of a Centre for Student Success which encompassed student support and careers. She has also been a champion of data analytics deployed to enhance the student experience and outcomes. She has given lectures across the globe on the importance of high impact activities as a key driver to a successful student experience and introduced the Global Scholars and London Scholars programmes at UEL to enhance student engagement.  Nora is also versed in eLearning solutions and simulation learning which she deployed in the health education work that she undertakes atUCL.  

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