Dr Vivian Williams

Dr. Vivian Williams, who died very recently, was the last survivor of those appointed to the Department by the then Director, Alex Peterson – surviving Harry Radford by a year. Hence, it is the passing of an era.

He had previously taught in a secondary school in Liverpool, before entering educational administration – first as a County Education Officer for Worcestershire, then for Buckinghamshire, and finally as Deputy Chief Education Officer for Peter Browning at Southampton LEA. Such administrative experience was seen to fit him well for an appointment to the University of Oxford’s Department of Educational Studies on 1st March 1972, initially to teach the non-matriculated courses leading to the International Diploma of Education and to the Advanced Certificates of Education, then the MSc in Educational Governance and finally directing the new postgraduate MSc in Educational Administration and Leadership – a course which he led until his retirement on 30th September 1997. In the late 1980s he was appointed as a University Lecturer, with a Fellowship at St Peter’s College.

Dr Williams’ funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Wootton by Woodstock on Wednesday 19th March 2014.

Acknowledgements to Chris Davies, Hazel Hagger, Harry Judge and Richard Pring for assistance with this remembrance of Dr Williams.

ED 5-11 MSc Governance1978 webpage

Dr Williams pictured in 1978 with his MSc Governance in Education students

Some reflections by Oxford Education Society members who knew Dr Williams

I remember Vivian well. He was my tutor, and must have tutored many MSc Governance students in his time at the Department. He was a former Education Officer with experience of working in both Southampton and Bedfordshire, and had an interest in Education Law. He was interested in management theory as applied to education at a time when such ideas were regarded as avant garde. I was sorry to hear of his death.
John Howson, Oxford

I am sorry to hear this. I only heard him speak a couple of times but he was impressive and came over as a pleasant individual.
Alan Dobson, Oxford

I was very much distressed to learn of Dr. Vivian Williams’ death. He was Tutor for both my son and me in the Department. Vivian was not only our Tutor, but a highly valued friend and colleague.
Kern Alexander, Illinois

Thank you for passing along this information. Vivian supervised my thesis (92-95) and I’ll long remember the sessions with him and his pipe on Norham Gardens.
Brad Portin, Seattle

This is indeed very sad and I would like to send my condolences to Vivian’s family. Vivian was my Tutor and Research Supervisor.
George Odhiambo, Sydney

Please pass on my regret to family members. Vivian made my study at Oxford in 1976/7 memorable.
Richard Rule, Australia

I was sorry to hear of the death of Dr Williams, but what a bequest he has left to the world of education! From my own point of view I had been floundering at the butt end of a blossoming bureaucracy. But he provided me with the structure to come to terms with it and then to be able to manage it. I know that colleagues felt the same way. I offer my condolences to his family within the context of his gifts to us all.
Roger France (MSc 1991/93)

If you knew Dr Williams from your time in the Department and would like to add a memory to this page, please contact the OES Administrator.

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