Honorary doctorate awarded to global leader in equity and education

Monday, 9 July 2018


Internationally-renowned expert in the field of education, Professor Geoff Whitty CBE has been admitted to the degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa) at the University of Newcastle.

Professor Geoff Whitty CBE

With a career spanning 50 years in research, scholarship and practice, Professor Whitty has made a significant and profound contribution to his field by improving quality and access to education for communities across the globe.

The honorary degree recognises the values and commitment Professor Whitty shares with the University of Newcastle - to providing access to world-class education for everyone with the drive and ability.

“Appointing Professor Whitty as Global Innovation Chair for Equity in Higher Education in 2014 had a profound impact on our contribution to global dialogue in this dynamic field,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said.

“He brought his vision, insight and global networks to establish the UON Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) as a world-leader in the field,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

In this role Professor Whitty has brought research and practice together to generate new approaches and thinking. His knowledge of policy in equity in higher education across the globe is unparalleled.

At the same time, he has generously shared his expertise and knowledge, mentoring many colleagues across the University and helping to secure vital funding to continue research and practice.

“As an ambassador with global networks in the United Kingdom, the United States and China, Professor Whitty has positioned CEEHE as a leader in the field, which has in turn delivered collaborations with world-class scholars, and maximised the reach and impact of its work,” Professor McMillen said.

In addition to his role as Global Innovation Chair, Professor Whitty is the Research Professor of Education at the Bath Spa University and Director Emeritus at the UCL Institute of Education. Professor Whitty is a graduate of the University of Cambridge where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts. He completed a Master of Arts (Education) and Doctor of Letters (Education) at the University of London.

Professor Whitty has a long association with the IOE. He trained as a teacher at the IOE in 1968 and was subsequently appointed there as a professor in 1992; in 2000 he was appointed the Institute’s Director – a role that is equivalent to Vice-Chancellor and a position he would hold for ten years.

His contribution to the IOE was celebrated at an event in London on 5 July where UON’s Laureate Professor Jenny Gore presented Professor Whitty with his honorary University of Newcastle degree.

“Geoff is an outstanding practitioner, scholar and researcher whose generous mentorship and gentle encouragement has helped so many students and academics around the world, including many of us in Newcastle,” Professor Gore said.

“It was my privilege to represent the University of Newcastle and be able to honour Geoff’s outstanding contribution at this very special event,” she said.