A long period of teaching visual art to secondary students in Alice Springs and Tasmania contributed to Julianne Moss’s passion for education research. It especially sparked her interest in discovering how best to meet the needs of individuals in a school community.
Professor Moss went on to complete her PhD at Deakin University and has since become one of Australia’s most respected education researchers. She is a former President of the Australian Association for Research in Education and has edited two visual methods books and contributed to over 100 publications.
Now, in her latest career milestone, Professor Moss has just been appointed inaugural Director of Deakin’s Research for Educational Impact (REDI) Strategic Research Centre. She is determined to use her vast experience to raise the capacity and impact of Deakin’s already internationally-recognised educational research, with a strong focus on equity in education.
“REDI is looking to be a leading national and international centre that is keenly interested in the impact of educational research in communities and a world shaped by new knowledge,” Professor Moss said.
“It is crucial that Australia invests in a strong culture of education and an understanding that education is lifelong, if we are to maintain and meet expectations for our futures.”
She noted that new understanding about how individuals learn, combined with the opportunities offered by digital learning, has seen the research knowledge base expand exponentially over the past decade.
“One of our key goals is to ensure that our knowledge is translated into practice and that we ask the big questions of educational research,” she said.
In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings, Deakin gained a score of 4 out of 5 for Education (above world standard). It is renowned for several fields of education research, including science and maths education, and educational policy and governance.
As one example of Deakin’s innovative education research, the University has just received a $700,000 grant from the Victorian Government to lead a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) “Catalyst” project in 30 low socioeconomic status schools. This continues a decade of work by Deakin academics with hundreds of teachers around the country to build engagement and teaching quality in STEM subjects.
“At the other end of the spectrum, our researchers work with cross-national networks in Asia, Europe and Canada, to engage in research on educational governance, organisational change and policy, as well as global restructurings of educational work and workplaces,” added Professor Moss.
She noted that REDI has been designed around four distinctive programs that address the key contemporary education issues, each of which is being led by an eminent scholar, including two new recruits, who will collaborate with over 40 REDI researchers from disciplines across the University. Strong equity principles also underpin the Centre.
“When I was a teacher, I gained an understanding of the importance of supporting all learners, including those on the margins, who may have different cultural backgrounds, disabilities or high learning needs,” she said.
“Today, we are lucky to have the opportunities of a digital environment, but it is also critical that we have a social justice approach and look to equity principles. It is very satisfying that REDI is addressing these challenges and influencing policy that will affect our nation in the future.”