Issue date: 27 November 2001

Geoff Whitty is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education by the University of the West of England in recognition of his distinguished career and related achievements, particularly in influencing education policy through research.

Geoff Whitty is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and of London. He taught in primary and secondary schools before lecturing in education at Bath University and King’s College London.

In 1985, Geoff Whitty was appointed Head of Education at Bristol Polytechnic, which is now the University of the West of England. He became one of the first professors appointed by the institution and demonstrated particular commitment to that part of its mission which seeks to widen participation in higher education through such initiatives as Access programmes and the Two Year BEd courses for mature students in shortage subjects.

In 1990 Professor Whitty was appointed to the Goldsmiths Chair of Policy and Management in Education at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Later, he was appointed to the prestigious Karl Mannheim Chair as Professor of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. There he became Dean of Research in 1998 and was appointed Director of the Institute in 2000.

Professor Whitty has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

As Director of many Economic and Social Science Research Council funded research projects on the impact of education policies, Professor Whitty has made a significant contribution to related research on the impact of such policies as the assisted places scheme, city technology colleges and changes in initial teacher education. In the late 1990s Professor Whitty’s work on the education of academically exceptionally able children generated considerable interest among policymakers and the media. He has frequently been engaged by local education and health authorities to evaluate policies at local level and recently this has included research into Education Action Zones.

Professor Whitty has also made an important contribution to understanding of the development and professional implications of teacher training in partnership with schools, a theme which is central to the Faculty of Education’s mission and strategy. The substantive focus of his research has addressed issues of social justice and he has long championed the inclusion of previously neglected groups in the formation and realisation of education policies. In June 2001 he was appointed Chair of the Bristol Education Partnership Board, an independent group set up by the Government to oversee all major decisions affecting the city’s schools.

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education will be conferred at the awards ceremony of the Faculty of Education at Bristol Cathedral on 30 November at 2.45pm.


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