We were very sad to report the death of Emeritus Professor Barry MacDonald on Tuesday 16th April 2013, a leading figure in the history and development of the Centre for Applied Research in Education. Barry will be sorely missed by all friends and colleagues in CARE and the wider community.
Professor Barry MacDonald was one of the four founding members of CARE appointed in 1970 on permanent contracts. He was appointed Director of CARE in open competition in 1984 following the death of Lawrence Stenhouse in 1982 and remained in this role until he retired in 1997. Before that he had directed the Success and Failure in Recent Innovation (SAFARI) study funded by the FORD FOUNDATION. He also directed from CARE the National Evaluation of the government funded programme on Computer Assisted Learning in Universities (UNCAL). In the late 70's the Ford Foundation also asked him to carry out an evaluation of bilingual schooling in Boston. The report was published in the CARE Book Series and entitled ‘Bread and Dreams' (see below).
In 1984 the Home Office commissioned Barry to Direct a National Review of Police Probationer Training in the wake of the Brixton and Toxteth Riots and the report by Lord Justice Scarman. The recommendations of the Review continue to impact on police training to-day. These and other large scale policy-focused evaluations came, alongside action research, to define the work of CARE over a period of 30 years at the end of the 20th century. Through them, Barry developed the methodology of case-based and policy focused evaluation that became known as the ‘Democratic Evaluation' paradigm. Some of his projects now form a significant part of an ESRC funded digital archive of case study-based evaluations constructed by a team working in CARE and Cambridge University. When the history of educational programme evaluation in the UK gets written up, Barry will be portrayed as one of its key players. His international influence as a member of a network of pioneering cross-Atlantic programme evaluators, who met together periodically in Cambridge UK, was considerable.