Dr Megan Crawford joined Plymouth University in October 2014, having previously been Deputy Head of the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. She is now Director of the Plymouth Institute of Education.
Q: So what persuaded you to move from one of the world’s elite universities to a very different, modern institution?
I was looking for a head of department role, but I particularly wanted to be somewhere that had good foundations in place that I could work to build upon – and Plymouth certainly fitted that bill. There has been a lot of great work done here in recent years, especially in light of the ever-changing national education policy, and we have first-rate lecturers, researchers and students who can take Plymouth’s reputation as an educator of educators to a whole new level.
Q: What do you think are the Institute of Education’s greatest assets?
Aside from the students and staff I've already mentioned, there is the fact you can now get an education with Plymouth University right from early years to post-16 – through our work with the Mayflower and Marine Academy primaries – through to postgraduate level. Then there is the way we are embedded within our communities, with the majority of our undergraduates coming from, and staying in, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Add into that the links to our partner colleges and you have an exciting package, which I think gives us quite an exciting offer within the higher education sector.
Q: And in contrast, where do you feel our offer can be improved or expanded?
We are just about to launch a new qualification in early years education, and I think there is potential for expanding our postgraduate offer, but largely I do think we need to have a period of consolidation on the teaching front. However, from a research perspective, while we had a reasonable showing in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework – especially in terms of impact – I would like to create more of an atmosphere in which people feel they can be innovative and bold, taking their existing good work to a new level. Having more strings to our bow is one of the factors that will continue to encourage students to make us their number one choice.