Cambridge University Reporter

Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Professorship of Education

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The establishment of the Faculty of Education currently comprises 83 academic members of staff including eight Professors and one Reader. One of the biggest challenges facing the Faculty of Education is the continued development of its research profile. Good progress has been made in this direction; largely as a result of the strong leadership provided by the small group of Professors. The benefit gained from this leadership was clearly demonstrated in the improved ratings achieved in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise when both the former School of Education and Homerton College were awarded a 5 rating. The senior leadership of the Faculty was strengthened by the establishment of two Professorships in 2003-04 (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 561). The Faculty Board of Education consider it vital that, if the Faculty is to improve still further in the next Exercise, additional leadership is provided, particularly in certain areas of existing research activity. The Faculty Board of Education have accordingly advised the General Board of the need for a further new Professorship to enhance the Faculty's research profile.

2. The Faculty's major focus continues to be on school-based education, from the early years through the primary and secondary phases, and covering all the main subjects of the National Curriculum. Recently the scope of the Faculty's interests has broadened with the establishment of the Centre for Commonwealth Education and the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, both with professorial leadership.

3. To promote collegial activity in developing research programmes and advanced courses, particularly in the more established areas of the Faculty's activity, academic groups have been formed in the following areas: Arts, culture, and education; Comparative, international, and development education; Early years and primary education; Educational leadership and school improvement; Inclusive and special education; Interdisciplinary studies of teaching and learning; Language and literature education; Mathematics education; Neuroscience and psychology in education; Science education; Secondary subject teaching; Sociocultural studies.

4. The role of the professoriate is particularly important in a Faculty where establishing project activities often involves significant engagement at a senior level with policy developments in the field, as well as the research mentoring of colleagues recently appointed to positions which are centrally concerned with teacher education (and for which a successful prior career in the school sector is a prerequisite). The current professoriate is thinly spread across academic groups, some of which bring together large numbers of academic staff and research students.

5. The General Board have accepted the Faculty Board's case that a further senior appointment will be necessary to provide the requisite leadership in the new Faculty of Education to ensure that research work of the highest quality is available for inclusion in the Faculty's submission to the 2007-08 Research Assessment Exercise. This proposal has the support of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The costs of the new office will be met from within the recurrent allocation to the Faculty of Education.

6. Suitable accommodation will be available for the Professor in the Faculty of Education's new building on Hills Road and the Board are assured that the necessary support and facilities can be provided. The Board are satisfied that an appointment at this level will be likely to attract a strong field of well-qualified candidates.

7. The General Board accordingly propose that a Professorship of Education should be established in the University from 1 October 2005 and assigned to the Faculty of Education. They have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board of Education that election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that candidature for the Professorship should be open without limitation or preference to all candidates whose work falls within the general title of the office.

8. The General Board recommend:

That a Professorship of Education be established in the University from 1 October 2005, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Faculty of Education.