UC Legend - Henry Field

Henry Field was an educational psychologist who made a significant contribution to development of the Christchurch Teachers College.

Henry Field graduated from Canterbury College in 1924 with an MA in philosophy and psychology. He continued on as a lecturer to further his research interests in the psychopathology of criminal behaviour, interviewing 40 New Plymouth prison inmates.

On a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, he then studied neuropsychiatry and undertook further research at Massachusetts state prison. For a further year, under top US scholars in the psychology of criminal behaviour and delinquency, he sought remedial techniques that could be utilised by professional therapists.

His PhD at the University of London, which critically analysed the English borstal system, brought him into contact with Cyril Burt, a prominent academic in education psychology.

He returned to New Zealand in 1937 at the age of 33, as the Chair of Education at Canterbury College where he built up a department and staff with a reputation for excellence and special strengths in psychometrics and remedial techniques.

He remained at UC until his retirement in 1968, after 32 years as either Professor or head of Education, bringing profound research experience, international thoughts and practices to his students while always encouraging sociological studies. 

He sat on or chaired numerous Boards during his career and was awarded the OBE in 1973 for his services to Education. The Education Library on the Dovedale campus is named for him.

Learn more about Henry Field’s life and work.