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School of Education

Associate Professor Jenene Burke

Position: Associate Professor, Education, Learning and Teaching; Deputy Dean; Chair, Higher Education Curriculum Committee 
Study area: Education
Location: Mt Helen Campus, Room T323
Phone: (03) 5327 9332


Doctor of Philosophy - University of Ballarat - 2010

Bachelor of Education (Post Primary Physical Education) - Ballarat College of Advanced Education - 1981



  • Joint Degrees in Education


  • Diversity and Inclusion in Educational Settings (EDDDE4303)


Jenene joined Federation University’s predecessor institution, the University of Ballarat, in 1998 after a successful career as a secondary teacher. Jenene is currently the Deputy Dean in the School of Education and Chair of the FedUni Higher Education Curriculum Committee. She is the former Program Coordinator of the Joint Degrees in Education and Master of Special Education. As a teacher educator, Jenene’s learning and teaching interests centre on educational responses to student diversity, with respect to inclusive education and disability studies in education. Jenene’s expertise as a teacher in the tertiary sector was recognised with an Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2013 in the Australian Awards for University Teaching, and she was the recipient of the 2012 Award for Teaching Excellence, in the University of Ballarat Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Contributions to Student Learning. Jenene was an Ordinary Member of the Executive of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) from 2014-2019 and was the Convenor of the ATEA national awards and grants. Jenene is a Board Member of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education (WFATE).

Areas of expertise

Jenene is best known for her world-class research into play spaces as inclusive environments for children and their families.  Along with this, she has broad interest in other areas of education which intersect with disability studies in education and inclusive education, and which are demonstrated in her research partnerships and activities, and in her publications.  She is the Chair of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education (WFATE) Research Development Group Disability Studies, Inclusion and Social Justice in Teacher Education and Leader of the Social Justice, Inclusion and Diversity in Education Research Focus Area in the School of Education at FedUni.

Jenene’s research interests can be placed in four general categories:

Inclusive play spaces

Jenene investigated children’s socio-cultural experiences of play in inclusive play spaces in her 2010 PhD. dissertation, Enabling play: Insider accounts of disabled children’s playworlds in accessible playgrounds, which led to an invitation to serve on of the Advisory Panel for the National Inclusive Play Guidelines in Canberra in 2012.

Student diversity and inclusive education

Jenene is interested in how students and teachers experience disability in learning environments and has linked this area of her research to her teaching. She is currently working on two national research projects. One of these projects is HEPPP funded Understanding how Regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability. The other is a post-occupancy evaluation of series of inclusive play spaces in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and University of Technology Sydney researchers and the Touched by Olivia Foundation.

Learning partnerships in education and teacher professional learning in universities

Reciprocal learning partnerships between schools and teacher education institutions, including professional learning for teachers in higher education, have been the focus of Jenene’s work in education partnerships. Her work in three projects researching reciprocal learning partnerships between the university and local schools has resulted in seven peer reviewed publications and numerous conference presentations. A further area of interest is professional learning in universities through peer-supported learning.

Sexuality education in rural and regional settings

Jenene was one of four researchers in the ‘Strengthening Sexuality Education’ team. The team aimed to strengthen sexuality education for young people in regional and rural areas by improving teaching awareness and learning opportunities for students. Participatory research methodologies for working with children as research participants were utilised in this work.

Research interests

  • Inclusive play / Inclusive play spaces
  • Inclusive education and Student diversity
  • Peer enhancement of teaching
  • Learning partnerships in education
  • Sexuality education in rural and regional settings


Current doctoral students

Moya Elvey (Federation University) - "Implementing Inclusion: Classroom Journeys" - Principal Supervisor

Amy Claughton (Federation University) - "Special needs, special play? Re-imagining play for children with disability" - Principal Supervisor

Nhi Luong (Federation University) – “Internationalisation of Higher Education Curriculum: A case study in Vietnam” - Associate Supervisor

Amy Walker (Federation University) - "A Case Study of Student Aspirations in Melbourne’s Peri-Urban Fringe" – Principal Supervisor

Gerry Skene (Federation University) - "Teaching with Difference: Barriers and Enablers for Teachers with Impairments" - Principal Supervisor

Kerry Murrell (Federation University) - "Transition: Setting Your Compass For Success" – Associate Supervisor

Boli Li (Federation University) - "Approaches to Learning: Perceptions of Chinese International Undergraduates and their Lecturers in Australian Universities" – Associate Supervisor

Tania McMullen (Federation University) – “Teacher perceptions of ADHD and children with ADHD” - Associate Supervisor

Completed doctoral students

Kim Pappaluca (2019). (Federation University) - "Voices from the margins: A critical ethnography of conflict in female friendship in a regional Australian school" - Principal Supervisor

Melinda Metaxas (2018). (Federation University) - " Victims or Villains: Teachers' Emotional Intelligence as a Predisposition for Discrimination against Students with Severe Emotional and Behavioural Disorders" – Associate Supervisor

Completed masters (research) students

Katrina Griffiths (2017). (Federation University) “Never Give Up...: Perceptions of Perseverance and its Impact on the Life and Academic Success of Nine University Students” - Principal Supervisor

Cheryl Claridge (2015). (University of Ballarat) – “So, what I do is bang in the search term and see how I go” – Associate Supervisor



Brandenburg, R., McDonough, S., Burke, J., & White, S. (2016). (Eds). Teacher Education: Innovation, Intervention and Impact. Rotterdam: Springer.

Burke, J., & Ryan, J. (2004). Teaching and learning practices for students with disabilities: Staff development training program and information guide. University of Ballarat.

Book chapters

Burke, J., Plunkett, M., & Li, B. (2017). Peer enhancement of learning and teaching for teacher educators. In A. Garcia-Valcarcel, F. J. Garcia Penalvo, M. Martin Del Pozo (Eds.) Search and research: teacher education for contemporary contexts. (pp. 347-356). Salamanca, Espana: Ediciones de Universidad de Salamanca.

Burke, J., & Bushby, A. (2017). Dyslexia and learning: An Insider Account of Negotiating Barriers and Aids in Secondary Education. In V. Plows & B. Whitburn. (Eds.). Inclusive education: Making sense of everyday practice. (pp. 141-158). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Brandenburg, R., McDonough, S., Burke, J., & White, S. (2016). Teacher Education Research and the Policy Reform Agenda. In R. Brandenburg, S. McDonough, J. Burke, & S. White. (Eds.). Teacher Education: Innovation, Intervention and Impact. (1-14). Singapore: Springer.

Burke, J. (2015). Not just for the fun of it: Children's constructions of disability and inclusive play through spatiality in a playspace. In T. Corcoran, J. White, J., & B. Whitburn. (Eds.) Disability studies: Educating for inclusion. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Goriss-Hunter, A., & Burke, J. (2015). First in family: Girls like us in the third space of regional universities. In D. Michell, J. Wilson & V Archer (Eds.). Bread and Roses: Voices of Australian Academics from the Working Class. (pp. 105-118). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Refereed journal articles

Burke, J., & Claughton, A. (2019). Playing with or next to? The nuanced and complex play of children with impairment., International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(10), 1065-1080, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2019.1626498

Burke, J., Redford, M., Coker, H., & McDonough, S. (2017). Developing international partnerships for teacher education through digital platforms: possibilities for transformational partnership. Journal of the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education, 1(4).

Burke, J. (2013). Just for the fun of it: Making playgrounds accessible to all children, World Leisure Journal, 55(1), 83-95.

Duffy, B. Fotinatos, N. Smith, A., & Burke, J. (2013). Puberty, health and sexual education in Australian regional primary schools: Year 5 and 6 teacher perceptions. Sex Education, Society and Learning, 13(2), 186-203.

Smith, A. Fotinatos, N. Duffy, B., & Burke, J. (2013). The provision of puberty and sexual health education in Australia: A case study of rural Victorian primary school teachers. Sex Education, Society and Learning, 13(3), 247-262.

Burke, J. (2012). 'Some kids climb up; some kids climb down': Culturally constructed play-worlds of children with impairments. Disability & Society, 27(7), 965-981.

Refereed conference proceedings

Wines, C., & Burke, J. (2014). It’s a Science Party! School and community learning partnerships promoting learning through Science. In proceedings, Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA). Sydney, NSW.

Burke, J., & Goriss-Hunter, A. (2013). Forging a school university learning partnership from a teacher education perspective. In proceedings, Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA). Brisbane, QLD.

Burke, J. (2012). The children’s playground as a microcosm of society. 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Madrid, Spain, In ICERI2012 proceedings, 3030-3039

Burke, J. & Goriss-Hunter, A. (2012). Re-imagining and re-working school-university links through inclusive community building. 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation Madrid, Spain, In ICERI2012 proceedings, 3024-3029

Burke, J., & Wheatland, J. (2011). 'Stepping back' to understand learning: Pre-service teachers' perspectives on their learning through authentic experiences in professional setting. In proceedings, Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), Melbourne.

Burke, J. (2008). Children's perceptions of accessible environments. In proceedings, Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2007. Research Conference, Fremantle, WA.

Other funded publications

Burke, J., Smith, J., Chew, R., Mahana, M., Echter, A., & Job, K. (2019). The Pizzicato Effect in the City of Hume, 2019. Funded research report. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Coyle, J., Freire, K., Wood, D., Wilding, C., Taylor, D., Ganguly, R., Burke, J., Downing, L., & Siliézar, L. (2018). The influence of disability, socioeconomic status and regionality on higher education access and participation. HEPPP NPP Research report.

Coyle, J., Freire, K., Wood, D., Wilding, C., Taylor, D., Ganguly, R., Burke, J., Downing, L., & Siliézar, L. (2018). The influence of disability, socioeconomic status and regionality on higher education access and participation: Practical advice for stakeholders working with students with disability. HEPPP NPP Report.


  • Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)
  • World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education (WFATE)
  • National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)