Education experts

Murdoch University’s education experts are involved with the internationalism of higher education, multi-literacies, communication technologies, enhancing school retention and educational experiences, online learning, assessments, whiteboard technology, measuring teacher effectiveness and student performance data.

Murdoch’s expertise covers education from early learning age groups, primary and secondary, through to tertiary education.

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Dr Sandra Hesterman

Dr Sandra Hesterman

Early Childhood Curriculum, Pedagogy and Practice: with specialisation in early childhood language development and emerging multiliteracies; also, the creative design of early childhood learning environments.

As Director Early Childhood Education of students enrolled in early childhood education courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) at Murdoch University, Sandra is strongly committed to providing support to students to assist them achieve their educational research goals. As a committee member of several key stakeholder Western Australian advocacy organisations Sandra is a keen activist for quality early childhood education that includes the child’s right to self-directed play. Sandra is presently working with Early Childhood Australia WA to initiate the development of a Western Australian Play Strategy to raise community awareness and conduct research on the importance of play in young children’s lives.

Associate Professor Caroline Mansfield

Associate Professor Caroline Mansfield

Teacher resilience and wellbeing

Dr Caroline Mansfield is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. Her research focuses on teacher resilience and wellbeing, and the conditions that enable teachers to maintain engagement, commitment and motivation, and thrive throughout their career. Caroline has lead national projects to support teacher resilience, including the development of online learning modules ( which are widely used in Australia and also internationally. In 2016 Caroline was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship to promote resilience in teacher education (

Deborah Pino Pasternak

Dr Deborah Pino Pasternak

Early Childhood, Children’s cognition and self-regulation, Parenting, Classroom Interaction

Deborah’s research interests concern young children’s development of self-regulatory skills and how those are fostered or hindered by home and school environments, with an emphasis on the quality of parent-child and teacher-student interactions. From a methodological perspective she has conducted quantitative and qualitative studies and have developed significant expertise in the analysis of interactive video data.

She is currently involved in two Australian Research Council Funded Projects. She is an ARC DECRA Fellow investigating the development of self-regulated learning in pre-primary children and she is a Chief Investigator in a Discovery Project exploring productive engagement in Primary Science by First Year pre-service teachers.
Libby Lee Hammond

Associate Professor Libby Lee-Hammond

Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy, Aboriginal Early Years, Outdoor Learning

A passionate advocate for the early learning years, Associate Professor Lee-Hammond has developed Murdoch’s Early Childhood Education Programs for a decade.

Associate Professor Lee-Hammond researches parent/school partnerships and learning outcomes for young Aboriginal children.

She is presently running projects in outdoor learning with young children following the Forest/Bush School model. She is conducting an evaluation of the Statewide Best Start Playgroups on behalf of the State Department for Communities. She has a long-standing relationship with the Mungullah Aboriginal Community and continues to work with elders and community members to enable children to gain the full benefits of their school education.

Sue Ledger

Dr Susan Ledger

International, rural/ remote education, literacy and policy studies

Dr Susan Ledger is a Lecturer in International Education and Primary Literacy, and Director of the Murdoch Professional Experience team (pre-service teacher school placements). Her teaching and research interests include International education, rural/ remote education, literacy, and policy studies.

Susan has co-authored nine books for the Asian Education Foundation and designed curriculum for Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and Literacy. In partnership with the International Baccalaureate Organisation, Susan has recently enabled Master of Education (Coursework) students to gain certification in IB. She was recently awarded the 2015 Western Australian Institute of Education and Research Early Career Award for her outstanding contribution to research, community service and education.

Laura Perry

Associate Professor Laura Perry

Sociology of education, education policy, comparative/international education

Associate Professor Laura Perry is best known for her work about educational equity and student outcomes. She has been conducting secondary analyses of the international student assessment test, PISA, to examine the relationship between school socio-economic composition and student academic outcomes in Australia.

In 2010 Associate Professor Perry was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery grant to examine the relationships of school socio-economic composition and academic outcomes in a cross-national perspective. By analysing how the importance of school socio-economic composition varies for different students and in different countries, she aims to show how the Australian educational system can be made more equitable.

At the foundation of all her work is an interest in the ways in which education systems and school structures, contexts and practices influence student outcomes, and a commitment to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.

Peter Wright

Associate Professor Peter Wright

Creativity and arts in educational learning and development

Associate Professor Peter Wright researches artistically-based approaches to educational research, creativity and community cultural development.

He studies drama education, applied theatre, transformational learning and teacher development in the arts, and playback theatre.

Associate Professor Wright is currently involved in projects with Big hART, a social impact of the arts company.

Robin Pascoe

Robin Pascoe

Senior Lecturer in Arts and Drama Education

Robin coordinates units in teaching the Arts in Early Childhood and Primary; Teaching Drama in Secondary; and, Engaging Communities through Drama,

His Research Focus is:

  • Drama and Arts curriculum, implementation, teaching and teacher education
  • Markers of quality in drama and arts education
  • Assessment in Drama and the Arts
  • Teaching Artists
  • Representation and authenticity in research

Recent research project: AiR Artist in Residence Project at Murdoch 2014-2017 Robin is President of IDEA International Drama/Theatre and Education Association 2013-2020

Barry Down

Professor Barry Down

Student (dis)engagement, youth policy, vocational education and training and teacher education

Professor Barry Down is an expert in issues around student (dis)engagement, school design, transition to work, and teacher education
in communities at disadvantage.

He has been involved as a Chief Investigator on a number of large Australian Research Council grants investigating the issues of student retention and participation, youth (un)employment, and re-engagement through the performance arts.

His most recent research examined the problem of early career teacher resilience. Barry's other research interest focuses on the impact of personalised learning on student learning using the Big Picture Education design for schooling. He has co-authored numerous books on these topics.

Judy MacCallum

Dr Judy MacCallum

Enhanced learning strategies in child education, youth mentoring and teacher professional learning

Dr Judy MacCallum is an Associate Professor in educational psychology. She is a respected researcher in strategies to enhance children’s participation in learning. Her collaborative research with a primary teacher colleague is building theory on instructional practice, motivational change and teacher professional learning.

She was part of a team pioneering Australian research on mentoring and strategies such as intergenerational exchange, which has since been used as the basis for policy development and implementation at national, state and community levels. Dr MacCallum is working with the Australian Youth Mentoring Network and the WA Department for Communities to develop a mentoring research strategy to build our understanding of mentoring and improve practice.

Rebecca Saunders

Rebecca Saunders

Systemic educational change, teacher emotions, instructional leadership and change, teacher professional learning, vocational education and training and higher education.

Rebecca’s research interests and professional expertise lie in better understanding the complexities of systemic educational change initiatives and teachers’ experiences of implementing change in their practice. She is particularly interested in the emotional experiences of teachers as they interact with educational systems and assessing the design and efficacy of teacher professional learning initiatives.

In 2013 Rebecca received the American Education Research Association (AERA) Outstanding Graduate Student in Educational Change Award. Most recently and she received the 2017 Murdoch School of Education PhD Award and the 2017 Western Australian Institute of Education and Research (WAIER) Postgraduate Award and for her research on instructional intelligence, teacher professional development emotions and change.

She is currently involved in several school and college based instructional change projects and is working with colleagues in Ireland and Canada, assessing the implementation and impact of systemic change initiatives across different continents.

Anne Price

Dr Anne Price

Curriculum Development for Practitioners, Professional Issues for Teachers

Dr Anne Price focuses her research on the ways in which state and national educational policies and practices impact on initial teacher education and teachers’ work.

She is currently researching the possible impact of federal government policies such as Performance Pay schemes for teachers, the Australian Curriculum and the National Professional Standards on teacher professionalism and teachers’ work.

Her research has included work on the roles of Aboriginal Education Workers in schools, early career teacher attrition, teacher resilience and also the impact of ‘Teaching Out of Field’ and ‘Fast Track’ teacher education programmes.

Lisa Cary

Dr Lisa Cary

Curriculum studies and educational research in societal contexts and with the aim for social justice

Dr Lisa Cary is investigating issues in curriculum by deconstructing central notions of schooling and revealing the way social constructions of worthwhile knowledge and good teaching (for example) are inextricably linked to issues of social justice and equitable access to learning opportunities.

Her research brings together recent moves in educational research and curriculum as an ethical move towards more equitable educational opportunities for all students.

Dr Cary has worked in educational contexts in Australia, Canada and the United States for over 20 years. Her experience and qualifications have led to the analysis of local, national and international curriculum issues and she has a strong international reputation as a scholar and researcher.

To reach these experts for media enquiries, contact:

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Phone: 08 9360 2474
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Phone: 08 9360 1289
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