Leading Researcher Appointed as Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education

The President of Dublin City University, Prof Brian MacCraith has confirmed the appointment of Professor Mathias Urban as the new Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education at DCU’s Institute of Education.

Professor Urban, currently Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre at Roehampton University in London, will take up his appointment on January 1st of next year.

This new chair in early childhood education has been made possible through the generosity of Dermot Desmond and reflects the growing recognition of the significance of the early years for educational success, for personal and community well-being and for social cohesion.

A familiar name in the field of early childhood studies, Professor Urban’s research focuses on diversity, equality and social justice in working with young children in different socio-cultural contexts.

He is the originator of the concept of Competent Systems in Early Childhood and has a particular interest in international early childhood policy and the professional identity of those who work with children in early childhood settings.

His research collaborations reach across Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. Mathias is President of the International Froebel Society and Chair of the International DECET network (Diversity in Early Childhood Education and Training / www.decet.org).

His work on professionalising the early years workforce is particularly well-known in Ireland. Prof Urban will lead a new Centre for Early Childhood Research at the DCU Institute of Education.

As well as supporting the Institute’s undergraduate and graduate programmes in early childhood education, the Centre will be home to Irish and international research students, and post-doctoral scholars.

It will contribute not only to scholarship but to the development of national and international public policy in the sector.

Commenting on the appointment, the President of DCU said that he was pleased that the University’s global search for this strategic appointment had secured one of the best-known scholars in the field of early childhood education for DCU.

Prof Urban said:

I am delighted to see DCU’s strong commitment to early childhood research, policy and practice.
The aim of our new centre is to create a focal point for cutting-edge research in Ireland, and to put Ireland firmly on the map of the global early childhood research community. I am honoured to be given the unique opportunity to lead this development together with an excellent team.