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President's Report

Martin Mills

Welcome to the second AARE newsletter of the year.

The newsletter serves to keep members up to date with what is happening in the Association, to provide information about member events that have occurred and to act as an avenue for members to share stories and alert others to matters of interest to each other. I hope that you find it meets these aims and purposes, and that you look forward to it appearing in your e-mail in-box.

Whilst not wanting to summarise all that appears in the newsletter I do want to highlight a few of the matters raised throughout it. The work of the SIGs is crucial to the success of AARE as a member run organisation. It’s great to see so many of the SIGs building networks and collaborations outside of the annual conference. The Language and Literacy SIG mini-conference, the Narrative SIG Facebook group and the Rural Education SIG postgraduate student group are cases in point. However, the annual conference will always be central in the life of SIGs. This year the conference committee has been working on making it easier for new people to feel welcomed into SIGs and to ensuring that SIG events provide opportunities for members to mingle, plot and collaborate.  We are very much hoping that the new SIG Networking event is a great success. Do please engage with the work of SIGs relevant to your interests, they have much to offer, and if you have an opportunity to take on a convenor role I highly recommend it. And don’t forget to keep an eye on the early bird registration for the conference.

In 2014 AARE made a commitment to support strategic initiatives that furthered the aims of the Association. Two initiatives were supported by the selection committee in the 2014 round. The first of these has taken place. This was a national seminar series providing a critical exploration of psychology’s contribution to the education field. Feedback from these seminars has been extremely positive. Thanks to Dr Tim Corcoran for all of his work on this seminar series. The second of these initiatives will be happening on the 8th and 9th July. This National Summit on Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour has over 200 registrations and will include teachers, principals, academics and education policy officers. Attendees are coming from across Australia, and also New Zealand and China.  Thanks to Linda Graham for her work on this Summit. We look forward to feedback on this in the next newsletter. Please be alert to further announcements about initiatives for 2015.

Since the last newsletter we have held the second of this year’s Theory Workshops. This was in Darwin and again the feedback has been extremely positive. AARE and its members are extremely grateful to the presenters who deliver these workshops in their own time, are not paid and put so much effort into ensuring that they deliver high quality sessions. We also appreciate the support of the local universities, in this case Charles Darwin University, in providing space for the workshops and all the other tasks that develop around hosting such events. If you are an early career researcher (this includes research higher degree candidates) and have never attended a theory workshop I would highly recommend that you give some thought to enrolling in the October one in Toowoomba (which has a new airport!).

Our links with external organisations are growing all of the time. We have been working closely with ACDE and cADRE, State departments of Education, and other international associations. See Val Klenowski’s detailed report in this newsletter. We are also trying to develop reciprocal membership rights with other national associations. We will keep you informed of such developments.

What always strikes me when I read the newsletter is how much work is done by various members of AARE to support the membership and to enhance the quality and profile of educational research in Australia. I am also reminded of how much work the Executive members do outside of formal meetings. To be sure, there are many benefits that accrue from being an Executive member: having early access to information impacting upon the field, increasing awareness of the diversity of research being conducted across Australia, developing relationships with other researchers across the country and accessing networking opportunities amongst other things. However, it, along with all the contributions of members made in a variety of other capacities, is still voluntary labour and is often dependent on the goodwill of Heads or Deans of Education. That people are willing to give their time and that senior personnel in education are prepared to support the work of AARE suggests the esteem with which the association is held by the Australian education community. It also highlights the collegiality that exists within our field, a collegiality that can sometimes be threatened by the competitive and divisive processes that dominate our workplaces. For this we should all be thrilled and grateful. I hope that AARE can continue with its long history of supporting such collegiality. The current Executive, as so many before us have been, are committed to ensuring that this is the case. Enjoy the newsletter.

Martin Mills

President

 

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