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Closing the Gap in Education?

Notes on Contributors



Jon Altman has a background in economics and anthropology. He has been involved in research relating to Indigenous Australians since the late 1970s. In 1990 he was appointed Foundation Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University, a position he held for 20 years; he is now located at the centre as an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow. Professor Altman, who is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Science, divides his research efforts between national Indigenous economic development issues and those specific to remote Australia, where he has worked for over 30 years.


Richard Bedford is Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at AUT University, Auckland, and Professor of Population Geography in the Population Studies Centre at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. He is a specialist in migration research and, since the mid-1960s, has been researching processes of population movement in the Asia-Pacific region. He is a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a member of several research and policy advisory groups.


Russell Bishop is Foundation Professor for Maori Education in the School of Education at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. His research experience is in the area of collaborative storying as a Kaupapa Maori researcher. His book, Collaborative Research Stories: Whakawhanaungatanga, reflects this approach. Other research interests include collaborative storying as pedagogy and culturally responsive pedagogies. He has also authored numerous journal articles and research reports on the topic of improving the educational achievement of minorities and Indigenous students. His most recent book is Scaling Up: Addressing Disparities in Education.


Graeme Bloch is an education policy analyst at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Before 1994 he was an executive member of the National Education Crisis Committee as well as the United Democratic Front: for his involvement in the democratic movement he was detained and arrested numerous times. He was banned from 1976 to 1981. He has written and published widely, in particular on education, in both academic and more popular publications. The Toxic Mix: What is Wrong with South Africa’s Schools and How to Fix It (Tafelberg 2009) is his most recent book.


Paul Callister is Deputy Director of the Institute for Policy Studies at Victoria University in Wellington. He is an economist who has a longstanding research interest in the ethnic and gender dimensions of labour-market and education outcomes in New Zealand.


Inala Cooper is a member of the Yawuru peoples, the traditional Aboriginal owners of land and waters in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. She works in the Department of Planning and Community Development Victoria in the Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs. She is also the Executive Officer, Indigenous Advisory Council, Monash University. She was a finalist for the Institute of Public Administration Australia Young Indigenous Leader Award 2009.


Mick Dodson AM is a member of the Yawuru peoples, the traditional Aboriginal owners of land and waters in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. He is currently the Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University and a Professor of Law at the ANU College of Law. He is also the Chairman of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia. Professor Dodson was Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. He has been a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for the last six years and is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2009 he was named Australian of the Year.


Johannah Fahey is a Research Fellow at Monash University. She has a PhD in cultural studies from Macquarie University, Australia. Her latest co-edited book is Globalizing the Research Imagination. Her latest co-authored book is Haunting the Knowledge Economy. An earlier book is David Noonan: Before and Now and she is currently co-authoring ‘Moving ideas and travelling intellectuals’.


Lindsay Fitzclarence is an independent researcher, at present undertaking a major writing project that involves re-theorising curriculum theory. Prior to this he worked in teacher education programs in the faculties of education at Monash and Deakin universities and at the University of South Australia, where he was also a lead writer for the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework. His research has long focused on the development of alternative approaches to curriculum and pedagogy.


Bill Fogarty is a graduate student at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University. He has extensive experience teaching Indigenous students in urban and very remote settings, in Indigenous education policy and in Indigenous education research in the Northern Territory. He is currently writing up his thesis – ‘From pedagogy to production: Indigenous land, youth and education’ – as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage project with the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, the Northern Land Council and the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training as Industry Partners.


Robyn Jorgensen is a Professor of Education at Griffith University in Queensland. She has worked in the area of equity and mathematics education for two decades, concentrating on issues of practice and how it is implicated in the exclusion of working-class, remote or rural and/or Indigenous students. Drawing predominantly on the theories of Bourdieu, she seeks to develop new forms of practice to enable greater access for traditionally disadvantaged learners to engage with mathematics and schooling. She is currently on leave from the university and is working as the CEO/Principal of Nyangatjatjra Aboriginal Corporation. The corporation is the only provider of secondary education for Aboriginal students in Central Desert lands of the Northern Territory.


Jane Kenway is a Professorial Fellow of the Australian Research Council and in this capacity is leading an international team to conduct a study called ‘Elite independent schools in globalising circumstances: A multi sited global ethnography’. She is also a Professor of Education at Monash University. She is recognised internationally for her research expertise on the politics of educational change in the context of wider social, cultural and political change. Her more recent jointly written books are Haunting the Knowledge Economy (Routledge 2006), Masculinity Beyond the Metropolis (Palgrave 2006), and Consuming Children: Education–Advertising–Entertainment (Open University Press 2001). Her most recent jointly edited book is Globalizing the Research Imagination (Routledge 2009).


Thobeka Mda is Deputy Executive Director of the Policy Analysis and Capacity Enhancement (PACE) research program at the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership from the Ohio State University, United States. Her experience includes teaching at high schools in former Transkei, Soweto and East Rand, lecturing at a teachers college in the East Rand and a professorship at the University of South Africa (UNISA). She is a former Dean of the Faculty of Education at UNISA. Professor Mda is a member of various professional committees and is currently the president of the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society. Her areas of research include language in education, diversity in schooling and teacher development.


James Newell is the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation Research Associates, a Wellington-based statistics and social policy consultancy in New Zealand. He has specialised in studies of the interaction between population, labour market, migration and national, regional and community population dynamics since the 1980s. He has carried out extensive analysis of trends in participation in early childhood, school and tertiary education.


John Nieuwenhuysen is Foundation Director of the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements, Visiting Professor, King’s College, University of London, and a member of Council, RMIT University in Melbourne. He was previously Foundation Director of the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research, and Chief Executive of CEDA, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. A graduate of the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, he received an award (AM) in the Order of Australia in 2003 for services to independent public and private research, and the reform of the liquor laws of Victoria.


Chris Sarra has completed a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Education and a PhD in Psychology at Murdoch University in Western Australia. In the late 1990s Dr Sarra took on the challenges of Indigenous education as the principal of Cherbourg State School in south-east Queensland. Under his leadership the school became nationally acclaimed for its pursuit of the strong and smart philosophy. He is now the Executive Director of the Stronger Smarter Institute, which is pursuing improved educational outcomes for Indigenous children through engagement with principals, teachers, community leaders and government.


Terri Seddon is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. She has built a research program in the field of education (lifelong learning) and work, with a special focus on policies and politics of educational work. Her research is cross-sectoral in orientation, looking at schools, vocational and higher education, and workplace and community learning spaces. She has strong links with European research and is actively engaged in local and transnational partnership work. Her most recent book is Learning and Work and the Politics of Working Life: Global Transformations and Collective Identities in Teaching, Nursing and Social Work (co-edited) and she co-edits the Routledge World Yearbook of Education.


Adam Shoemaker is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Monash University and is responsible for the quality, range and impact of the university’s academic programs. He was Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) and Foundation Director of the ANU Research School of Humanities. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Toulouse-le-Mirail and the University of Antwerp. His sustained research interest is in Indigenous Australian history, literature, culture and politics, and he has published eight books in these areas, including Black Words White Page (1992, 2004), Mudrooroo: A Critical Study (1993), A Sea Change: Australian Writing and Photography (1998), and Aboriginal Australians: First Nations of an Ancient Continent (2004, with Stephen Muecke). He is currently writing a study of international Indigenous cultural flows called ‘Authenticity? Indigenous culture and globalisation’.


Ilana Snyder is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. Her research has investigated the changes to literacy practices associated with the use of digital technologies. Books that explore these changes include: Hypertext (1996), Page to Screen (1997), Teachers and Technoliteracy (2000, with Colin Lankshear and Bill Green), Silicon Literacies (2002) and Doing Literacy Online (2004, with Catherine Beavis). Her research has also examined the connections between literacy, learning, technology and disadvantage. The Literacy Wars (2008), her most recent book, discusses the politics of the volatile media debates around literacy education in Australia and beyond.


Peter Sullivan is Professor of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education at Monash University. He is the author of the shape paper for the new Australian mathematics curriculum, editor of the prestigious Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, and between 2005 and 2009 was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts for Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences, including judging the Discovery Indigenous Research Grant program. He was a member of the selection advisory committee for the Future Fellowships program, and is the president of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. His current research interests include the Maths in the Kimberley research project.


Leon Tikly is a Professor of Education and Director of Research at the University of Bristol, England. He also directs a large research program consortium on ‘Implementing education quality in low income countries’ (EdQual), which has partners in the UK, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Pakistan and Chile. Professor Tikly started his career as a science teacher in London and then at a school for South African refugees in Morogoro, Tanzania. He worked as a policy researcher at the Wits Education Policy Unit during the transition from apartheid to democracy. On returning to the UK, he taught international and comparative education at the University of Birmingham before taking up a post in education management and policy at Bristol. Professor Tikly’s research interests include the impact of globalisation on education policy in Africa and on the achievement of black and minority ethnic learners in the UK.


Yusef Waghid is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Dean of the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He holds doctorates from the universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch in philosophy, policy and education. His current research focuses on philosophy of education, democratic citizenship, cosmopolitanism, higher education transformations and universal justice in relation to education. He is an elected member (fellow) of the Academy of Science of South Africa, executive member of the International Network of Philosophers of Education, and editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Higher Education. His forthcoming book is entitled ‘Education, democracy and citizenship reconsidered: Pedagogical encounters’.


Rebecca Youdale is a teacher in a remote community school in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She has an honours degree in linguistics and has taught in various countries before coming to this school. She commenced a role as a teacher adviser in 2010.

Closing the Gap in Education?

   by Ilana Snyder and John Nieuwenhuysen