Joan graduated with her PhD "Motives For Higher Education: A Study Of The Academic Motivation Of Sixth-formers" from the OU in 1979. Joan was born into a working-class family in Lancashire but brought up in Yorkshire and was the first in her family to go onto higher education. One of the early cohorts of children in England to go through the comprehensive school system from start to finish, she very much enjoyed her secondary school days, and her parents, who had been denied their own educational opportunities, were very keen that she should take advantage of her education. Her school also encouraged its students to go onto... higher education, and Joan went on to study Pyschology at University College of North Wales, Bangor, fully intending to work in the field of Educational Psychology. However, after a fulfilling year working in the US, she decided upon an academic career and was one of three in this cohort who studied for their PhD whilst being an OU staff member, a research assistant in the newly formed Faculty of Education. She remembers with fondness that during the three-day week, her group of OU friends and colleagues would pile round for dinner to the house of whichever of them had electricity that day. Joan describes herself as a bit of a geek, who loves analysing data, and was very excited to be at the cutting edge of the study of the psychology of motivation for her PhD. At the same time as writing up her PhD, she started on her career as a psychology lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University. During her time at Cambridge she was also Senior Tutor of Wolfson College from 2000-2004 and was for over 12 years President of the Cambridge branch of the AUT (now UCU). Joan was also active in university politics, campaigning for and writing the Universities first Equal Opportunities Policy in the 1980s. Following her official retirement in 2012, she was then elected as Labour County Councillor for the Abbey Ward in Cambridge city until her final retirement in 2020.
|Dr Joan Whitehead
|Project person ID:
|Awarded PhD, 1979
|Motives for higher education: a study of the academic motivation of sixth-formers