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Academic appointed Chief Education Scientific Advisor

University academic appointed Chief Education Scientific Advisor

The University of Auckland has today congratulated Professor Stuart McNaughton for his appointment as Chief Education Scientific Advisor for the Ministry of Education.

The new role is aimed at ensuring evidence remains at the centre of New Zealand’s education system through the provision of independent scientific advice. In this role he will contribute advice on complex issues in a broad range of areas.

Professor McNaughton is the Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University’s Faculty of Education.

Along with the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman and other science advisors, Professor McNaughton will work with a number of key government agencies and researchers in New Zealand and around the world. He will contribute to a rigorous evidence-based approach to policy development.

As the Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, Professor McNaughton works to develop education and schooling success for diverse communities, with research in New Zealand and in other countries. Within New Zealand, he has had a particular focus on optimising success in schools for children from Māori and Pasifika communities and children from low decile schools.

He was recently appointed as a Distinguished International Professor at East China Normal University (Shanghai), and inducted into the international body, the Reading Hall of Fame.

He has published six books, 44 text–book chapters and 83 refereed articles. His most recent book Designing Better Schools (2011) identifies what is needed to be more effective in meeting the challenges faced by culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Dean of Education Professor Graeme Aitken has welcomed the appointment.

“Professor McNaughton’s appointment is a testament to his longstanding commitment to evidence-based interventions that improve education and experience of education for all learners. I know he will provide excellent advice and support to the Ministry,” Professor Aitken says.

“This appointment marks a major development in education. There are many matters to tackle and the position will make a significant contribution to the Ministry’s development of evidence based policy that is beneficial to all schools, teachers their students, families and communities.

“It is also recognition of the role of research in education and how we can contribute to national policies that make a difference.”

Secretary for Education Peter Hughes says he is delighted Professor McNaughton accepted the role.

“Professor McNaughton brings world-leading academic and professional credibility and outstanding respect from the educational research community. He has dedicated his career to working with teachers, families and communities, as well as other researchers, to optimise children’s learning and development and to lift educational achievements.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how he can push boundaries, ask the tough questions, and dig deep to get important answers.”

“The appointment will be a significant boost for the Ministry of Education as it becomes better-equipped at engaging in key questions facing our society - now and in the future,” says Mr Hughes.

The role of Chief Education Science Advisor is part-time, Professor McNaughton will continue his research programme at the University of Auckland and his leadership of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre.

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