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margaret sutherland

Emeritus Professor Margaret B Sutherland, MA, MEd, PhD

Emeritus Professor Margaret Sutherland, former Professor of Education, died on 29 March 2011.

Born in 1920, Margaret Sutherland read French and German at Glasgow University and graduated with a first class degree in 1942. She was awarded the Herkless Prize as the most distinguished woman graduate of the year in Arts.  She taught in secondary schools in Glasgow and while doing so also took the degree of M.Ed.  In 1947, she moved to Queen’s University Belfast to a lectureship in the Education Department.  She took her PhD there in 1955.  For a quarter of a century she made a major and varied contribution to the teaching and study of education and became Reader.  Beyond the University she also involved herself increasingly in the wider community.  She served as Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Advisory Council for Education, as President of the Society for Autistic Children and as a member of the Council for Nurses and Midwives.  In 1971 her book Everyday Imagining and Education was published.  This drew on a number of psychological and educational themes to illustrate the workings of the imagination in everyday life.

In 1973 she came to Leeds to take up a Chair in Education which carried with it the headship of the then Department of Education.  Following the fusion of the Department with the Institute of Education in 1976, she became Dean of the Faculty and from 1978 to 1980 Chair of the Board of the Faculty of Education.  She developed her particular interest in the psychology of education, in comparative studies in education and in the education of girls and of boys.  Her Sex Bias in Education was published in 1981.  Here she argued that educational provision should be determined not by membership of a particular sex but by the abilities and interests of the individual.  The elimination of any such bias in education would provide the most promising prospect for the cultivation of individual talents and fuller recognition of differences between people.  She became increasingly absorbed in comparative studies and in 1994 with a collaborator, Claudine Baudoux, produced Femmes et Éducation: Politiques Nationales et Variations Internationales.  Comparative studies had in fact become central to Margaret Sutherland’s research interests in her later years.  In 1985, she published Women who teach in Universities, a comparative study of the career perceptions of female academics in France, East and West Germany, Finland and the United Kingdom.

It was a mark of her international standing that Professor Sutherland received many invitations to present papers at institutions and conferences in many parts of the world.  She also served for some years as editor of the British Journal of Educational Studies.  In this University she undertook much committee work, serving on several faculty boards, the Academic Staff Committee, the Advisory Committee on the University Health Service and the House and Estates Committee.  She chaired the education panel of the Board for Collegiate Academic Awards at a time when it had a full series of agendas.  Nationally, she served on both the Education Sub-Committee of the University Grants Committee (UGC) and on the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers.

Professor Sutherland retired from the University in 1985 when the title of Emeritus Professor was conferred upon her.

The funeral took place on 8 April.