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Institute of Education

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Q&A with Lynn Ang

Lynn Ang is Professor of Early Childhood and Pro-Director for Research and Development. She is also Head of the Department of Learning and Leadership, and Co-Chair of UCL Research Ethics Committee.

Roles at the IOE

As Pro-Director of Research and Development...

It is a privilege to take up this role at this pivotal time - the UK's research landscape is rapidly evolving. As Pro-Director, I am responsible for leading the IOE faculty's research vision and governance with oversight of the IOE's research priorities, research workforce and environment. I have the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented community right across the IOE and UCL to realise our vision for delivering research excellence.

In my day-to-day responsibilities I work closely with the Departmental Heads of Research, Head of Research Engagement and Impact, Head of Research Ethics, Head of the Centre for Doctoral Education, and the IOE Research Development and Research Operations Teams to monitor research performance and enhance research excellence. I also work closely with the Office of the Vice-Provost Research, including the OVPR Head of Research Facilitation and UCL Director of Research Planning to contribute to the strategic leadership of research in wider UCL.

As Co-Chair of UCL Research Ethics Committee...

I oversee the governance of research ethics across UCL. I co-lead a multi-faculty ethics committee whose role is to uphold the highest ethical standards of research that promote the values of transparency, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. These high standards are essential for ensuring the highest quality of research at UCL.

Having a close insight into many research studies, I am always impressed by the breadth and scale of UCL research spanning the medical sciences to education and the social sciences, and the myriad ways in which ground-breaking scientific research can benefit participants and society."

I feel an immense responsibility in leading such an important institutional function such as research ethics. The role comes with a high degree of accountability and the volume of ethics applications we review is demanding but it is a truly exciting and rewarding role that connects me with a remarkable community of researchers, academics and professional services staff who place ethics and integrity at the heart of everything we do.

As Head of the Department of Learning and Leadership...

I lead a vibrant and thriving department of over 140 staff, providing academic and strategic leadership for the development of the Department's research, teaching and enterprise portfolio. The Department has an international reputation for its work on all aspects of Early Years and Primary Education, Leadership and Education Policy. In the last year, I am particularly proud of how as a Department we have come through the worst part of the pandemic and are now working towards the coronavirus recovery.

Research

What is the focus of your research?

My research interest is in the field of early childhood and primary education, early learning and international evidence-based research particularly in developing countries. The early years from birth to primary schooling is a critical phase that lays the foundation for a child's future development.

I hope my research will make a difference to improving the quality of education and care that children experience especially for those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged."

Tell us about a project you are working now.

One of the exciting projects I am working on is a UKRI-GCRF Action Against Stunting Research Hub 2019-2024. This is a large-scale interdisciplinary project involving eighteen institutions in the UK and overseas. The project tackles the most intractable global challenge of child stunting by seeking to provide solutions for those children impacted by stunting and who face the challenge of education and cognitive impediment. This is a multi-site project working with country partners in Senegal, India and Indonesia.

Teaching

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students?

Never be afraid to ask when you don't know something! Learning is all about having a curious mind and finding the answers to questions even when there are no easy answers. 

Teaching remains one of my greatest pleasures."

I started my professional journey as a kindergarten and primary school teacher, and teaching continues to be a passion throughout my career. I have worked with many students from all over the world at all levels from access courses (pre-undergraduate), undergraduate, Masters to Doctoral students.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my work in the field of early childhood and primary education working with teachers, children and families on impact-driven research using participatory and ethical methodological approaches.

The culmination of my work led to a special invitation at a high level Ministerial event at the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 on the 'Leave no girl behind' campaign, and a keynote lecture on the Global Agenda for Early Childhood Education at the 60th Anniversary Conference of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, London in January 2020.

You hold a Senior Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy – has this helped you teach differently?

I obtained my Senior Teaching Fellowship in 2017. The panel feedback was so constructive it has encouraged me to apply for my Principal Fellowship. I would highly recommend colleagues to work with the UCL Arena  Centre on this important Fellowship award.

Writing the application gave me the opportunity not only to reflect on my teaching but how my research and research-informed education can make an impact on my students' learning."

Life

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I lived in Scotland for eight years and have very fond memories of my time there. I completed my PhD at the University of Stirling and took up my first academic job at the university. I also taught at Stirling and Falkirk Higher Education college where I tutored trainee students at their placements in early years settings in villages and towns around Scotland such as Perth and Crainlarich. I used to enjoy the scenic drives and always took the day out to visit my students!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Enjoy your youth as life passes all too quickly as one gets older!

What is your favourite place?

Being at home spending time with my family.