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Dr Karen Edge
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
20 Bedford Way
Dr Karen Edge profile picture
  • Reader in Educational Leadership
  • IOE - Learning & Leadership
  • UCL Institute of Education

Karen studied Biology and Environmental Science (BSc 1993) and Higher Education Policy (MA 1998) prior to pursuing her PhD at the University of Toronto in Educational Policy and Administration (PhD 2005). Before joining UCL IOE, Karen worked in senior advisory roles for the Minister of Education (Ontario) and the Centre for Educational Leadership at UC-Santa Barbara. She also worked as a Research Fellow at the World Bank in Washington, DC. 

Karen is actively involved in Public Engagement and consistently involves policy and practice leaders in her research studies. The Global City Leaders Project established city-based Advisory Panels to engage diverse stakeholders including senior policy and practice leaders from fast-track leadership development organisations, relevant government departments, school districts and schools. In 2015, Karen was awarded the UCL IOE Director's Prize for Public Engagement.

Karen consults domestically and internationally for organisations on a range of strategy, leadership and research topics. Partner organisations include Local Authorities, the Department for Education (UK), ActionAid/Gates/ Hewlett Foundations and STIR Education. Karen also regularly delivers keynotes and workshops for academic and professional audiences related to leadership, knowledge management, talent spotting, retention and organisation and system-level reform.

Karen is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and Danish Strategic Research Review Panels and the Executive Board at UKFIET. Karen is the Past Editor-in-Chief of Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability and an Editorial Board member of School Leadership and Management and Leadership and Policy in Schools. Karen has held recent Visiting Academic appointments in Canada, Chile and Malaysia. Karen sits on the international advisory panel for the International School Principal Program in Ontario, Canada. More locally, Karen is a community governor at Martin Primary and Octavia House schools in London.

Personal country knowledge: United Kingdom, Canada, United States
Regional knowledge: North America, Africa
Languages spoken: French (intermediate)

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Since joining the IOE in 2005, Karen established an innovative research agenda concentrated on two strands of work. From 2006-2009, Karen and her team received funding from DfiD, British Council and PLAN-UK to explore international partnerships between schools across the UK, Africa and Asia. More recently, Karen has led the ESRC-funded Global City Leaders Project working with 60+ Generation X (under-40-year old) school leaders in London, New York and Toronto to understand how their careers, leadership and future aspirations may influence future of urban and national education systems. The study builds on theory related to Global Cities, generational sociology, leadership and education policy to examine the intersection of generations and public sector working. The most significant findings relate to the potential premature departure of younger leaders from the public sector, challenges facing women leaders and the influence of the wider social policy and accountability contexts on the enactment of leaders in different cities. The Global City Leader Project team is actively engaged in research and policy advocacy to inform how education systems and cities can create new strategies to bolster the recruitment, development and retention of school leaders. The team is also working with colleagues in Chile on a grant-funded Global City Leaders Project extension to test the findings against the experience of leaders in the Global City Region of Santiago Valparaiso.

Teaching Summary

Karen has been actively involved in leading and teaching on MA programmes in the London Centre for Leadership in Learning at UCL IOE. Between 2007 and 2011, Karen served as MA Leadership Course Leader and led the development of domestic and international partnerships and bespoke delivery options. Karen teaches on a range of modules examining leadership, organisational change management, research methods, education policy and diversity in organisation. She currently leads a ground-breaking live simultaneous graduate-level module between the UCL Institute of Education, University of Toronto and the University of Melbourne. The 12-week module focuses on human rights, democracy and transnational policy and brings together 35 students and over 15 faculty members over the term. Most recently, Karen led a series of Live Master-Classes on Neuroscience and Learning between UCL and Hong Kong University. The series was funded by Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) at UCL. Karen is co-leading the development of a new Executive Educational Leadership offer at UCL IOE and will be teaching the MA Leadership research methods module in Summer School 2016 at the end of July.

01-APR-2013 – 30-APR-2016 Head of International Partnerships Doctoral School UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2005   Doctor of Philosophy University of Toronto
1998   Master of Arts University of Toronto
1993   Bachelor of Science University of Western Ontario
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