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New book edition explores the history of the IOE in the 21st century

8 June 2021

New chapters covering UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) history from 2002 to 2020 have been published today (8 June 2021).

The UCL Institute of Education From training college to global institution book cover

Written by IOE historian of education Dr Tom Woodin, the two latest chapters tell the story of the Institute’s extraordinary growth in the early 2000s and its merger with UCL in 2014. They cover the leadership of first Professor Geoff Whitty and then Professors Chris Husbands, Andrew Brown, Becky Francis, Sue Rogers, and leading to the appointment of its new director from 2021, Professor Li Wei.

The chapters also look at life at the IOE during and following its merger with UCL, which saw structural changes to the organisation and the accolade of being named Number 1 for Education in the QS World University Rankings in 2014, a position the Institute has retained every year since. It was a period in which the IOE took advantage of the exponential global growth of interest in education and learning. A vision of researching and teaching education in its widest sense, placing technical changes within approaches from the social sciences and humanities, permeated the IOE. Research initiatives proliferated which led to a virtual quadrupling of the size of the Institute.

The merger formed a significant part of both the IOE and UCL’s history as it created a new institution with over 35,000 students, the biggest higher education institution in London, and the largest postgraduate institution in the UK, with 19,000 postgraduate students. The merger also secured the IOE's lasting influence and mission. It provided new opportunities to extend its global reach, extend its undergraduate offer to sit alongside its postgraduate focus and build cross-disciplinary work across the full range of higher education.

In the book, Dr Woodin offers his reflections on the merger with UCL and highlights some of the existing and future challenges that the IOE, the higher education sector, and the world will face.

The author’s chapters add to the late Professor Richard Aldrich’s original work ‘The Institute of Education 1902-2002: A centenary history’, published in 2002. Aldrich’s chapters begin with the Institute’s foundation as the London Day Training College in 1902 and look at the work of its directors, its different homes and its establishment as an autonomous college of the University of London, having gained its own Royal Charter in 1987.

Dr Woodin said: “Charting the history of the IOE was a fascinating process which involved understanding its survival and flourishing in a context of rapid change across the higher education sector. The IOE has successfully addressed many key educational challenges in recent decades and has impacted upon the study and teaching of education in its broadest sense, regionally, nationally and globally.”

The UCL Institute of Education: From training college to global institution’ is published by UCL Press on 8 June 2021 and is free to download as a PDF.

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