Fellowships in memory of Deesider

Presentation of awards.  BERA Annual Conference 2014, Institute of Education, London.
Presentation of awards. BERA Annual Conference 2014, Institute of Education, London.

Two university professors have become the latest to be appointed ‘Fellows’ of former Deeside man, Professor John Nisbet.

Paul Black, Professor of Science Education at King’s College, London, and Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford, were appointed John Nisbet Fellows on September 23.



Professor Nisbet was president of the British Education Research Association (BERA) in 1974.

BERA was celebrating its 40th anniversary by presenting these awards in his memory.

The fellowships are awarded annually to one or more people who are deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to educational research over their career.

Liz Wallace, Professor Nisbet’s daughter, and her husband Joe went to London to present the awards.

He started work at the University of Aberdeen in 1949 and in 1963 he was appointed to the first Chair in Education at the University and held that until he retired. Between 1965 and 1975, in collaboration with colleagues he wrote six books, five book chapters, 23 journal articles, and spent summers teaching in California, Australia, New Zealand, visited South Africa, started research projects in Norway and the Netherlands, and edited the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

As well as being the first president of BERA and being awarded honorary life membership in 2005, he chaired the Educational Research Board of the Social Science Research Council, the Scottish Council for Research on Education and served on many other committees, which led to the award of an OBE for services to Scottish Education.

Professor Nisbet remained active long after his retirement, supervising PhD students, contributing to seminars, mentoring new members of staff, editing a series of Aberdeen University Education Research Papers, and in 2005 writing Thirty Years On, his account of the development of the Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA), from its founding in 1975.

He died in Banchory in October 2012 aged 89, He was a keen golfer and was a member of Grampian Orienteers.