Educational Theory, Policy & Practice Research Hub

UC Education

The Educational Theory, Policy and Practice research hub provides a rigorous, supportive research environment for inquiry in educational foundations and educational policy studies.  Academics and research students with backgrounds in philosophy of education, sociology of education, history of education, cultural studies in education, and adult/community education will find a natural home here, but the hub also welcomes scholars from other fields. 

Underlying the work of this hub is a commitment to the value of education and knowledge in transforming human lives.  Researchers in the hub see teaching and learning as ethical and political processes.  They set educational problems in their broader social, cultural and historical contexts.  They regard theory and practice as necessarily intertwined, and they take the ‘critic and conscience’ role of the university seriously in engaging educational policy.  Members of the hub undertake theoretical and empirical research in a wide range of different educational areas, and they seek to contribute positively to debates over contentious pedagogical and policy issues.

Current and Recent Funded Projects

Members of the hub are involved in the following funded research projects:

  • ‘The Emotional Impact of the Christchurch Earthquakes on Teachers’ (Dr Veronica O’Toole).  For further information, click here
  • Best Practice Research in Attendance and Student Participation Evaluation Tool. This is an Attendance Service Initiative funded by the Ministry of Education. The project seeks to determine best practice for increasing attendance, particularly among marginalized young people attending high schools within New Zealand (Dr Judy Bruce)
  • ‘Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education’ Research Project (EIHE). This is an inter-disciplinary, international mixed-methods research project, funded by the Academy of Finland, and examines internationalization processes in higher education and how these processes construct notions of epistemic difference, transnational literacy and global citizenship, 2012-2015. The Principal Investigator is Professor V. Oliveira.  (Dr Judy Bruce; Professor Peter Roberts)
  • ‘Principals as Literacy Leaders in Indigenous Communities’ (PALLIC). Sub-contract with Griffith University and Australian Primary Principals Association (Associate Professor Susan Lovett)
  • ‘Radical Assessment and Qualification Reform in New Zealand: The Rocky Road to NCEA’. Joint research project sponsored by Massey University Research Fund, with H.F. Lee and R. Openshaw, 2012 - (Professor Gregory Lee)
  • ‘Applying the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) model within the New Zealand tertiary environment’, National Project Fund, Ako Aotearoa: National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, 2010-2012.  (Associate Professor Billy O’Steen)
  • ‘Citizenship and world-mindedness research project’: The purpose of this project is to identify conceptions of citizenship and world-mindedness held by first year tertiary degree students upon entry into study.  (Dr Judy Bruce)
  • ‘Diversity groups as sites of learning in New Zealand secondary schools’, New Zealand AIDS Foundation, 2007-2012.  (Associate Professor Kathleen Quinlivan)
  • Griffith University sub-contract with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.  (Associate Professor Susan Lovett)
  • Griffith University sub-contract with Queensland Educational Leadership Institute (QELI) developing and analysing an on-line survey instrument to evaluate the emerging principals' leadership programme. (Associate Professor Susan Lovett)
  • ‘Sexuality education in Australia and New Zealand: Responding to cultural and religious difference’, Australian Research Council, 2011-2012.  (Associate Professor Kathleen Quinlivan)
  • ‘Shifting conceptualisations of knowledge and learning in the integration of the NZ curriculum in teacher education’, Teaching and Learning Research Initiative, 2009-2012.  (Associate Professor Kathleen Quinlivan, Dr Jane Abbiss, Dr Judy Bruce)
  • ‘Strategies to develop school leadership. A select literature review’, AITSL.  (Associate Professor Susan Lovett)
  • ‘Teachers of promise’ (phase 2), New Zealand Council of Educational Research.  (Associate Professor Susan Lovett)

Books (Forthcoming and Recently Completed)

  • Lee, H.F., Lee, G.D., & Openshaw, R. (forthcoming). Assessment policies and practices to bridge the vocational-academic divide: Transnational crossings in secondary education. Dordrecht: Springer International Publishing.
  • Mills, D. & Morton, M. (2013). Ethnography in education. London: Sage. More information (opens new tab)
  • Mitchell, D. (2014). What Really Works in Special and Inclusive Education: Using evidence-based teaching strategies (2nd Edition). London: Routledge. More information (opens new tab)
  • Morton, M. (Ed.) (forthcoming). Supporting inclusive education: Learning from narrative assessment. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
  • Roberts, P. & Sæverot, H. (2018). Education and the limits of reason: Reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov. New York: Routledge.
  • Roberts, P. (2016). Happiness, hope, and despair: Rethinking the role of education. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Roberts, P., Gibbons, A. & Heraud, R. (2015). Education, ethics and existence: Camus and the human condition. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Roberts, P. (Ed.) (2015). Shifting focus: Strangers and strangeness in literature and education. Abingdon: Routledge. 
  • Roberts, P. & Freeman-Moir, J. (2013). Better worlds: Education, art, and utopia. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Read the PDF Trivializing Teacher Education for more information.

Research Organisation Memberships

  • Australian and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society (ANZCIES)
  • Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES)
  • Australian Council Educational Leaders (ACEL)
  • Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration
  • Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)
  • Engagement Australia, and the Association for Experiential Education (AEE)
  • International Association for Research in Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE)
  • New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE)
  • New Zealand Educational Administration Leadership Society (NZEALS)
  • Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA)

Positions of Responsibility in Research Organisations

  • Professor Peter Roberts served as President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia from 2012 to 2015.
  • Dr David Small is Vice-President of the Australian and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society
  • Associate Professor Billy O’Steen has served as Editor of the IARSLCE Conference Proceedings from 2011-present
  • Associate Professor Billy O’Steen serves on the Relations and Promotions Committee of Engagement Australia
  • Associate Professor Kathleen Quinlivan is Chairperson of the Queer Special Interest Group in the American Educational Research Association

Links with Other Research Groups

Disability Studies in Education

Selected Publications

Members of the hub have published books, articles in refereed journals, and book chapters in a wide range of different areas, including philosophy of education, sociology of education, history of education, educational policy studies, gender and education, sexualities and education, inclusive and special education, literature and education, adult education, higher education, and educational leadership.  For further information on publications by members, please consult their SPARK pages at the University of Canterbury website.

For advice

Peter Roberts

Wheki 324a
Internal Phone: 94092

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