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Dr Mary Stiasny - Women leading the Worldwide Conversation

In the last of our profiles, we are focusing on our Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Dr Mary Stiasny OBE, who leads on the University’s Leading Women campaign celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the University opening up ‘Special Examinations for Women’ in 1868. Ten years later, this led to the University opening up full degrees for women. In both instances, the University of London was the first to do so in the UK.

Written by Binda Rai |

Dr Mary Stiasny, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London
This year’s 150th anniversary celebration of the University’s “Special Examinations for Women” is a perfect backdrop for our “worldwide conversation”.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) & Chief Executive, University of London Worldwide

Throughout her career, Dr Mary Stiasny OBE has worked to deliver and promote quality accessible education across the world. As Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London, she has responsibility for more than 50,000 students studying in 190 countries worldwide, as well as 1.4 million learners enrolled on the University of London’s MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) delivered through Coursera. This means that Dr Stiasny is responsible for what has come to be known as the ‘world’s largest classroom’.

Prior to becoming Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Dr Stiasny provided strategic direction and leadership at the Institute of Education, in her role as Pro-Director with responsibility for Learning, Teaching and International.

Dr Stiasny began her career in higher education at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was involved in initial teacher education, becoming Director of Post Graduate Certificate of Education and Deputy Head of the Department of Educational Studies. This was followed by a move to Oxford Brookes University, where she was appointed Deputy Head of the School of Education. After her time at Oxford Brookes, she returned to London, to become Head of the School of Education and Training at the University of Greenwich. Dr Stiasny then spent four years at the British Council as Director of Education and Training before joining the Institute of Education.

Dr Stiasny’s practical and strategic experience in education spans across a wide range of roles, including the provision of consultancy for a number of education projects that have attracted external funding, and as an external examiner.

Dr Stiasny is proud of her long association with the University of London, beginning with her Bachelor’s degree at the London School of Economics, through to her PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, to her current role as Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of London.

Speaking about her association with the University of London, Dr Stiasny said: ‘My pride in being associated with the University of London is in no small part due to the University’s egalitarian outlook, and its role in opening up access to higher education for women in the UK and the world, through our distance and flexible learning programmes. However, I recognise that the gender debate is critical for the world’s future and I am delighted to be hosting the “worldwide conversation”.

For too long, women across the world have been disadvantaged educationally, socially, economically and politically. They are now asking why, and education is key to having this conversation.

To find out more about the exceptional women leaders who participated in the launch of the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’, please see links to the profiles already published:

Read more about the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’ London launch event and watch the video.