School of Education

About our research


Research into teacher education is a major part of our research, supporting our teacher education programs in school education, early childhood education, and vocational education and training. Our researchers are active in policy research in these sectors.

Much of our publication activity addresses systematic disadvantage such as low socio-economic status, cultural diversity, regionality, and educational opportunities. We also have a focus in curriculum areas especially STEM.

Research Focus Areas

The School of Education has four Research Focus Areas which cover most of our academic staff and higher degrees students. The four areas are:

PeCALE: Pedagogy, Curriculum and Learner Engagement. Leader: Dr Hongming Ma

RAVE: Researching Adult and Vocational Education. Leader: Professor Erica Smith

SJiDE: Social Justice, Inclusion and Diversity in Education. Leader: Associate Professor Jenene Burke.


While Federation University education researchers produce high-quality research outputs, they also focus on research that is applied in focus and leads to evidence-based improvement in the sector. In recognition of this fact, many researchers receive invitations to present to practitioner conferences in Australia and overseas.

Education researchers’ work was cited in reports of, and appearances at, government inquiries in education, and they are called upon to provide advice to officials of State and Commonwealth government departments and other bodies, as well as to overseas governments.

Impact of research: two examples

The quality of Federation University’s Education research and its impact has been recognised both nationally and internationally. Two prominent examples follow:

1. The body of research at Federation University on the role of Men’s Sheds in continuing and community education led to Professor Barry Golding being invited to be an honorary Patron of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and spurring the growth of the Men’s Shed movement internationally. In June 2016 he was appointed to the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australian Queens Birthday Honours in recognition of his ‘significant contribution to tertiary education as a researcher and author, to professional organisations and to the community.

2. Professor Erica Smith was invited by the International Labour Organization and the World Bank to undertake an international research project designed to assist the Indian government in reforms to its apprenticeship system. This project involved researchers from ten countries. The government of India implemented many of the proposed reforms. In 2017 Erica was invited to analyse the results of a survey of G20 countries about their apprenticeship systems. Erica is the co-chair of the INAP international research network on apprenticeship (based in Bremen).

Collaborations/Leadership roles

Education researchers at Federation University have well-established international reputations. Extensive collaborations with researchers overseas and at other Australian universities are apparent in the reported data. Specific collaborations include those with the Universities of Chester and Huddersfield, Peking University, Halmstad University, and the Autonomous University of Madrid. Federation University Education researchers have received numerous invitations to present keynote speeches at prestigious international academic and policy conferences in the UK in recent years, in Ireland, Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Indonesia, Cambodia, South Korea, USA, and New Zealand; as well as in Australia.

Federation University Education researchers are well represented on editorial panels and advisory panels of many prestigious international and national journals. Specifically, they hold Editor or Associate Editor positions for journals such as Teachers and Teaching, Education + Training, the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, Gifted & Talented International, and the Journal of Technology & Teacher Education.

Education researchers hold leadership roles with the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education, the Australian Teacher Education Association, and the Australian VET Research Association.