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Institute of Education

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Q&A with Ruth McGinity

Dr Ruth McGinity is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy, and Academic Head of Learning and Teaching for the Department of Learning and Leadership.

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries or insights will bring?
My research focus is on the relationship between policy and leadership. Mainly, I am interested in the ways in which policy informs leadership practice and the extent to which leadership and leader identity is shaped by and through relationships, structures, and agency.

This interest extends to research projects that look at school structures and their impact on leading and leadership; the role of localised policy-making in the development and delivery of education and the competitive effects of school types in local educational markets.

I believe that such investigations enable debate and dialogue about the English school system. This in turn encourages conversations about what might be desirable and necessary when considering future educational reforms within a fragmented and high-stakes accountability system.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?
I love the diversity of my role. It encompasses research, teaching and leadership with and across the department (of Learning and Leadership). The work is always challenging and fulfilling and enables me to develop working relationships with a wide range of colleagues at the IOE, in the UK as well as abroad.

The importance of listening to another’s viewpoint and responding with evidence and criticality is one of the key skills we develop in our students."

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students?
Our students are simultaneously teachers, leaders, and learners from all over the world and so bring rich and far-ranging perspectives on all aspects of our research and teaching. The importance of listening to another’s viewpoint and responding with evidence and criticality is one of the key skills we develop in our students and they repay us by bringing insight, integrity, and diversity to these processes.

How long have you been at the IOE and what were you doing previously?
I have been at the IOE for three years. Prior to this, I worked at the Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester.

How do you think being in London benefits your work?
London, as the capital of the United Kingdom has so much to offer a researcher working in the field of education. It is the site of national-level policy-making; there is a diverse and vibrant community of scholars across a range of institutions which enables many opportunities for networking and collaboration with colleagues; it is a major transport hub which also enables easy access to universities across the UK and abroad further supporting collaborative research.