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Education key focus for new Victoria centre

Education key focus for new Victoria centre

From the effectiveness of professional development for teachers to the impact of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) on student motivation, a new collaborative research centre at Victoria University of Wellington will investigate educational issues of national and international significance.

The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research will be launched on Wednesday 15 November at 5pm by the Hon Dr Michael Cullen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tertiary Education. This will take place at the University’s Karori Campus, home of the College of Education that includes educational specialists across a wide range of education studies and teacher education areas of expertise.

Victoria University Vice Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, said academics in the Centre would be undertaking research into critical areas of public importance.

“Education, from early childhood through to primary and secondary, plays a vital role in providing young New Zealanders with the skills they need to succeed when they enter the workforce or tertiary education and to participate in society.

“The education system, however, faces not only the challenges of our ever-changing modern world, but also increasingly higher expectations from parents, students and society. Therefore the work that staff in the Centre undertake will ensure that decisions teachers, policy makers and the public make about the future of our education system are informed by the latest research.”

Professor Walsh said the Centre, led by Professor Luanna Meyer, would build on the previous successes of the College of Education and the University.

“The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research is well placed for recognition as a leader in educational research, given the expertise and experience of its staff, the quality of past research initiatives, and our location in the nation’s capital. Since the merger between the Wellington College of Education and Victoria University at the beginning of 2005, we’ve seen a significant increase in external research income generated by the academics based at Karori.

“Victoria University’s location in Wellington – in close proximity to government agencies such as the Ministry of Education and professional bodies such as the New Zealand Teachers Council – provides unique opportunities for research and development linkages,” Professor Walsh said. The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research is the tenth research centre to be launched at Victoria University since 2002. It is named after a distinguished pioneer in education, Jessie Hetherington who lived from 1882 to 1971 and pushed the boundaries of equity and excellence through her work and commitments.

FACT SHEET

10 November 2006 _________________________________________________________________

Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research

The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research is one of Victoria University’s applied research centres and is part of the College of Education.

The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research is the tenth research centre to be launched at Victoria University following the establishment of Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology, the MacDiarmid Institute for New Materials & Nanotechnology (now a Government-funded Centre of Research Excellence), the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing, the Crime & Justice Research Centre, the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families, the Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, the Centre for Biodiscovery, the Centre for Marine Environmental & Economics Research and the Centre for the Study of Leadership.

Projects underway in the Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research include research on: the impact of NCEA on student motivation; valid and practical tertiary assessment of student learning outcomes; international student exchanges; and on the quality of teaching research and development in practise.
The Centre embraces and promotes the existing research strengths within the College of Education and is a focus for increased external research funding. School staff have teaching or research collaborations in place with Massey University, Manukau Institute of Technology and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Together with these organisations they have taken on a three-year $400,000 project for the Tertiary Education Commission examining tertiary assessment procedures. This will involve surveying staff and students at all four institutions.

The Centre’s Director is Professor Luanna Meyer and its primary researchers are from the College of Education. Core senior researchers include: Associate Professor Carmen Dalli, Associate Director; Dr Joanna Higgins, Associate Director; Dr Wally Penetito, Associate Director; and Lynanne McKenzie, Research & Development Officer.

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