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President's Report

Martin Mills

Welcome to the first AARE newsletter of the year. The year has started well for the Association. We hope that the same applies to you.

This is also my first President’s report for the AARE newsletter. It is a great honour and privilege to represent the Association for which I have a deep fondness, stemming from my own postgraduate days. Working with the executive is also a pleasure and an enriching experience. This year the executive has two new members, Mary-Lou Rasmussen and Sara Weuffen (Postgraduate Student Member).  Robyn Henderson and Debby Cunningham (Secretary) were both re-elected for another term, and Val Klenowski has been co-opted onto the committee for 2015 as Research Development Coordinator. I’d like to welcome these people to the committee and, along with other members from 2014 who are continuing and Deb Cracknell our Office and Events Manager, thank them for their time and commitment to the Association. Also thank you to Annette Woods and Kim Pappaluca (Postgraduate Student Member), whose terms of office ended at the 2014 Conference, and who were tremendous colleagues to have on the executive. Julianne Moss, after two years of being an extremely committed and innovative President has moved into the role of Immediate Past President. I am extremely grateful that she will have a presence on the executive throughout 2015. On the executive, we are all looking forward to working to ensure that the Association has relevance and delivers benefits to its members, enhances the quality and profile of educational research in Australia, and is a voice for educational researchers in the policy arena.

A strong focus of the Association this year is engagement and collaboration. To this end we have been having conversations with a range of organisations and communities. Tracy Bunda, for instance, has been doing some wonderful work to ensure that the Association is engaged with Indigenous researchers and communities. The Association has been developing collaborations with key organisations such as the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE), the Community of Associate Deans of Research in Education (cADRE), and the Research Education Network (REN), a network of research policy officers in all State and Territory, Independent and Catholic education departments. One of the recent activities of REN has been to streamline approvals to conduct research in schools across State and Territory jurisdictions (the new form is currently being trialed and is available on the AARE website). Meetings have been held with the British Educational Research Association (BERA) to explore some collaborative projects. One of these will be a joint presentation at BERA in Belfast on teacher education. We have initiated conversations with Universities Australia (UA) about recognition for high quality educational research and draw members’ attention to their Think Clever website [Click Here]. UA have indicated that they would be very receptive to receiving information about education projects. Do please consider sending UA information about your projects as a way of lifting the profile of the outstanding educational research being conducted in Australia.

AARE’s special interest groups (SIGs) are an excellent way of engaging with the Association and also provide opportunities for members to develop networks and build collaborations with others. They are central to the success of the association and, as the various SIG reports in this newsletter indicate, many of these groups are extremely healthy and undertaking some exciting activities. We would really encourage all members to make contact with their relevant SIG/s, attend SIG events (or join their Facebook pages) and look for ways to become involved in SIG life.

The Australian Educational Researcher (AER) remains a significant outlet for high quality educational research. We encourage you to consider using AER to disseminate your current work. AER’s Twitter following is growing all the time which will increase the discoverability of your research. Also an engagement with the journal via Twitter will ensure that you are up to date with current debates emanating from AER articles.

The AARE annual conference also provides a forum for the dissemination of outstanding research being conducted in Australia and overseas. However, it does much more than that, it also serves as an important venue for developing new collaborative relationships, accessing the latest information relevant to our research enterprise (e.g. meeting publishers, grant writing and information, how to get published etc.), and generating new ideas for research proposals. Following a very successful Brisbane conference, plans for the Fremantle conference are well under way, keynotes have been determined, the call for papers has been sent out, some submissions have already been made, and SIGs are making plans for concurrent events. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Fremantle in December this year. For more information about the conference and to submit an abstract please see the conference website

A key focus of the Association has been to support and engage with early career researchers (including doctoral researchers). One such support has been the series of theory workshops. These workshops have over the last few years become highlights on the AARE calendar. The first workshop of the year was held in Launceston. Thanks to all of those who gave their time to present at this workshop and to those who will be presenting at the upcoming workshop in Darwin.  If you have not been to one of these workshops before, they are an excellent opportunity for early career researchers to meet scholars from different institutions, to have conversations with people whose work you have read but not yet met, and to be intellectually stimulated.

AARE is currently supporting initiatives that further the aims of the Association. One of the two that we are sponsoring in 2015 has already occurred. Righting the Ship: Psychology's Passage Through Education was a one-day workshop held in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth where Professor Tom Billington, Associate Professor Lise Bird Claiborne and Dr Tim Corcoran critically examined the ways in which psychology informs educational practice. The second initiative is a National Summit on Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour to be held in Brisbane on the 8th and 9th July. Both of these initiatives were designed to engage with a practitioner audience as well as academic. Details can be found on the AARE website.

The activities and events mentioned here represent only some of AARE’s services to its members, to keep up to date with new developments become a regular visitor to the website, read member updates and newsletters and/or become a Facebook friend of AARE. Don’t forget AARE is a member Association, and as such, unsolicited words of advice, suggestions and comment from members are always welcome. Please email us anytime. We look forward to hearing from you, all the best for 2015.


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