UCL News


Professor Li Wei appointed as Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education

29 March 2021

Professor Li Wei, a world-leading scholar in the interdisciplinary field of applied linguistics and language education, will take up the post of Director and Dean of the IOE from 1 July 2021.

Professor Li Wei

Professor Li Wei joined the IOE in 2015 and is currently Director of the ESRC UBEL (UCL, Bloomsbury and East London) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), as well as Chair of the Bloomsbury Colleges Research Committee (IOE, Birkbeck, SOAS, LSHTM and RVC). He was a member of the Education sub-panel for REF2014, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

His work is concerned with the development and education of bilingual and multilingual children and the wellbeing of immigrant and ethnic minority families and communities. He had led numerous research projects funded by ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme and Nuffield, as well international funding agencies. He has published widely, and won the British Association of Applied Linguistics Book Prize twice. He was Chair of the University Council of General and Applied Linguistics (UCGAL) between 2012 and 2015 and is currently Editor of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and Applied Linguistics Review.

Professor Li Wei is of Manchu-Chinese heritage, and did his MA in English Language Studies and PhD in Speech Sciences at Newcastle University where he worked for over twenty years. He was the first Head of School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle between 2002 and 2006. He held a number of leadership roles at Birkbeck College, University of London between 2007 and 2014, including being Pro-Vice-Master for Research and Postgraduate Studies.

President & Provost Dr Michael Spence comments:

“I'm delighted to welcome Professor Li Wei to UCL's leadership team. Li Wei is an outstanding choice as Director and Dean, bringing a wealth of experience from leadership roles at Birkbeck, Newcastle, and in the sector more widely. His award-winning work on bilingualism and multilingualism is exemplary of the excellence and interdisciplinarity so characteristic of UCL, and his leadership will support both the faculty and the university in our continuing work to improve lives through education.

I'd like also to take this opportunity to thank Professor Sue Rogers for her interim directorship of the IOE over the past year, during which time she has led the IOE’s continued success and recognition under extraordinary circumstances."

Li Wei comments:

“I am excited to take up the prestigious role as Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education at a time of tremendous turbulence in the field of education, and as we look forward towards a post-COVID and post-Brexit era. The challenges ahead are enormous, and so are the opportunities. 2022 will be the 120th anniversary of the founding of the IOE. I am very much looking forward to working together with all our staff, students and alumni, to renew our vision based on our foundational values of equity and social justice, to expand our interdisciplinary research base, strengthen our engagements with the local communities and the teaching profession, and enhance our global reach and impact.”

Professor Sue Rogers, the current interim Director of the IOE, said:

“It has been an honour to serve as interim Director and lead the IOE community through what transpired to be perhaps one of the most extraordinary periods in its history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The strength of our staff, student and alumni community made it a privilege to extend my time in the role as the challenges and disruptions of the past year upended existing plans and timetables.  I now hand the baton over to Li Wei as we look forward with renewed purpose to pursuing the IOE’s mission to improve lives through education and social research.  This is a fantastic appointment for the IOE and I wish Li Wei every success and enjoyment as our next Director and Dean.  I look forward to working with him as I resume my professorial role at the IOE.”

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Photo credit: Sarah-Jane Gregori