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Our People


Associate Professor Katharine

Professor Katharine McKinnon

Katharine’s work engages in qualitative and participatory social research for community learning and development. She partners with community members and professional actors in the Asia Pacific region to better understand how to maximise place-based opportunities for sustainable and equitable futures, building strong livelihoods and community wellbeing in ways that are suited to local cultures and economies. This has included working with schools, health providers, community development organisations, semi-subsistence agricultural communities, marginalised urban communities, and Indigenous people and ethnic minorities. Gender and economy, healthcare, cultural survival and professional practice are central themes of her work. She is a leading member of the global Community Economies Research Network, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Community Economies Institute, and a member of the Climate Change Adaptation Resilience and Recovery Network at the University of Canberra.

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Associate Director

Barbara Pamphilon

Professor Barbara Pamphilon AM

Barbara has worked and published extensively in the areas of collaborative research methodologies, community education and development, and participatory learning and action research, through projects both in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Most recently, she has worked on co-learning projects with Papua New Guinea and other Pacific partners to address the training issues facing women smallholder farmers and their families, developing new qualitative methods and the gender-transformative Family Farm Teams program as part of this work. She is a member of the CSC Livelihoods and Learning for Sustainable Communities research group and an affiliate of the Transformative Pedagogies group. She is a member of the Australian-based Climate Change Adaptation Resilience and Recovery Network.

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Research Staff

Bernard Brown 

Dr Bernard Brown

Bernard’s research focusses on education policy, ethics and education, as well as the history of education. Specifically, his recent work has focussed on leadership in schools and the impacts and challenges for schools brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Bernard has published journal papers and book chapters which focus on education policy and leadership. He is currently the Program Director of the Postgraduate Education Program at the University of Canberra.

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Dr Jo Caffery

Jo specialises in developing linguistically and culturally appropriately capacity-building and research programs for women and youth. Her research interests include empowerment for rural and remote women and youth, gender and development, linguistic and cultural diversity and mother-tongue education. She has extensive experience working with Indigenous people across Australia, Timor Leste, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea. Jo is a UNESCO International Research Fellow for Community, Leadership and Youth Development and a founding member of UC CIRI (The University of Canberra Collaborative Indigenous Research Initiative).

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Dr Michael Davies

Dr Michael Davies

Michael is interested in exploring transformative teaching and learning approaches for school-aged children in Relationships and Sexuality Education, Physical Education, and how to maximise place-based opportunities for sustainable enactment of Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing in Australian schools. In practice, he brings ten years’ experience of teacher and practitioner education and is a current UC teacher educator for the Bachelor of Primary and Secondary Health and Physical Education degrees.

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Amanda Edwards 

Dr Amanda Edwards

Amanda has worked in school, university and community education for over two decades, with experience in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Her research interests focus on how knowledge, and ways of knowing, being and doing, are created and validated, particularly in the context of Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Maths and the Arts. She explores who has access to particular forms of knowledge and what happens when different knowledges interact. Her work seeks to challenge dualisms and unpack the complexities and contexts of learning journeys to contribute to social and environmental justice.

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Dr Sandra Heaney-Mustafa

Sandra’s work focusses on community development in cross-cultural contexts. Specifically, her research centres on community education and development, social justice and human rights, and on professional ethics. Her recent research includes development projects in Pakistan, funded by the Australian Council of International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); these projects work with farming communities to improve livelihoods, enhance production, and better manage water and irrigation practices. Sandra’s experience includes healthcare work in developing countries as a nurse-midwife, health educator and community development worker, including two years in the Sudan managing a primary healthcare and community development project. She currently teaches adult and community education at the University of Canberra.

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Ann Hill 

Dr Ann Hill

Ann’s research centres on areas connected to sustainable community economies and development, including collective ethics and methods for living in a world of changing resources and climate, and the role indigenous knowledges and transdisciplinary imaginations play in cultivating more sustainable planetary futures. She has extensive experience in creating multidisciplinary and transnational teams for research and education purposes. She has been working with local governments, non-government organisations and community collaborators in the Philippines for the past 15 years, primarily connected to her project entitled ‘Strengthening Economic Resilience in Monsoon Asia’. Ann teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Canberra; she is also a member of the Community Economies Collective, a founding member of the Community Economies Research Network, and a member of the Institute of Australian Geographers.

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Deborah Hill TH 

Dr Deborah Hill

Deborah Hill is a linguist with teaching and research experience at universities in Australia and Holland. She has had extensive experience teaching intensively in the Faculty's offshore programs in Vietnam and China. Deborah's research interests are the language and culture of Longgu (Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands) and the teaching of English grammar.

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Centenary Professor Moosung Lee

Moosung’s research areas centre on educational leadership and administration, the social contexts of education, and lifelong education. He has published extensively in these areas across a range of journals. Moosung has won several international awards and he has been a Fulbright Scholar, UNESCO Fellow, Korean Foundation Fellow, Asia Pacific Center for Leadership and Change Senior Research Fellow, and Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar, among others. He currently teaches and supervises students within the University’s Faculty of Education. He is also the leader for the Research Group for Educational Leadership and Policy, and for the Affiliated Schools Research Program.

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Rohan Nethsinghe 

Dr Rohan Nethsinghe

Rohan’s areas of research focus on Creative Arts Education, and include various aspects of teaching and learning theory, music and STEM education, cultural heritage, and community education. With more than twenty-five years of experience performing, teaching, and researching in international contexts, Rohan has also worked as a teacher in Australian schools (P-12) and in the higher education sector. As a phenomenologist, he publishes in scholarly journals and presents his research nationally and internationally in the areas of Creative Arts Education, STEM, Music Education, Arts Education and Higher Education. Rohan has won prestigious awards for his research in teacher education, is a laureate of international Jazz music festivals and competitions, and currently teaches as an Assistant Professor in Creative Arts Education in the Faculty of Education.

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Dr Deborah Pino-Pasternak

Deborah’s research interests concern young children’s development of self-regulation and executive functions. In particular, Deborah investigates how early regulatory functions are fostered or hindered by home and school environments, with an emphasis on the quality of parent-child and teacher-student interactions. She has conducted quantitative and qualitative studies in this area and has developed significant expertise in the analysis of interactive video data.

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Dr Philip Roberts

Associate Professor specialising in rural education and curriculum inquiry, Philip’s major ongoing research interest is how teachers situate the curriculum in the communities they serve and how spatial theories are incorporated into educational thinking  .

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Dr David Spillman 

Dr David Spillman

I am Mallion (eagle), Bunda (red kangaroo), strongly connected and obligated to Country cared for by Karilkiyalu, Ngemba speaking people from south of Brewarrina, NSW. My university title is Dr David Spillman and am a career educator having worked in teaching and leadership position in remote, rural, regional and urban NT and QLD. Brother Ben Wilson and I are working in teacher education and school-based professional learning and research in ACT to assist schools to rebalance their teaching and learning by refocusing on local stories, histories and ecological communities. Through the daily enactment of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing schools can help students and families to become great local citizens, knowing about their places and committed to caring for them.

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Professor Ting Wang

Professor Wang is internationally recognized for her research in educational leadership development in cross cultural settings, professional learning communities and teacher professional development, international and transnational education. She is a founding member of the Global PLC Network which researches PLC (Professional Learning Community) policies and practices in schools across six educational systems.

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Benny Wilson 

Dr Benny Wilson

I belong to Jagera country, around the southern suburbs of Meanjin (Brisbane). I am obligated to take care of that place, and am also strongly connected and obligated to the lands of the Central Coast of NSW and Brewarrina. I am Wagan (Crow) and Dhinawan (Emu). I have worked in the university sector for three years, working on ARC projects connected to Indigenous education and Indigenous health. My current research explores place-based narrative as an Aboriginal epistemology and its application for modern education systems. Currently, I am an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Canberra. I have spent the past fifteen years working in education as a coach, teacher, facilitator, and consultant. My brother Spilly (Dave Spillman) and I have come to Canberra to refocus education on Aboriginal ways of knowing, being, and doing. We are passionate about our work and believe that the solutions to some of modern society’s most wicked challenges can be found by turning to the wisdom of the world’s oldest people.

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John Williams 

Dr John Williams

John specialises in Health and Physical Education (HPE). He taught HPE and outdoor education in schools and colleges in Scotland and Australia until completing his PhD at the University of Canberra, studying how Indigenous students experience physical education and school sport. As an active researcher his interests are broadly around/concerned with sustainable PE. With regard to his teaching, mostly John teaches PE pedagogy, to both undergraduate and post-graduate pre-service teachers. John is also a National Board Director for the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) the professional association for Australian HPE teachers. Related to his interest in PE pedagogy, John has substantial sports coaching experience, with a particular focus on Alpine ski teaching and racing. He is qualified at Level 4 in the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) teaching scheme.

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Post Doctoral Fellows

Dr Jenny Dean

Dr Jenny Dean

Jenny is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Rural Education and Communities research group.  Her current research interests include inequality in education, the sociology of Indigenous schooling, the social demographics of schooling and school curricula, drivers of university enrolment, and student engagement. She draws on spatial theories of equity and marginalisation in communities and predominantly quantitative methodologies to explore these  interrelated issues. She has published works in the areas of curriculum access and achievement, Indigenous student access to the curriculum, and rural schools and communities.   Before completing her doctorate she worked extensively in areas of government research and analysis.

Research Assistants

Monty Nixon

Monty grew on Arrente Country in Central Australia where the desert landscape sparked an interest about the story of how humans fit and connect as part of the world. This interest became a passion whilst developing a background in Outdoor Education as an undergraduate student at La Trobe University. Monty’s Honours thesis continued to ask questions of more-than-human relations, exploring Rock Climbing at Dyurrite Mount Arapiles. Monty is interested in studying how different ways of being, knowing and doing inform understanding of place(s), and the narrative Australians can create together to disempower hegemonic Colonial perspectives of Nature.

Monty joined the CSC as a research assistant on the Country as Teacher Project. Since joining the Centre, Monty has also joined Dr. Jo Caffrey on the Youth as Change Project in Papua New Guinea.

Kerry Woodward

Kerry Woodward’s research interests include food, postgrowth identities, diverse economies, political ecology and more-than-human assemblages. Currently, Kerry is exploring how care is practised in vegetable places and what this means for the health and wellbeing of people and planet. Kerry is a PhD student in the Centre for sustainable Communities.

Natalie Downes

Natalie Downes is a research assistant in the Rural Education & Communities Research Group and is currently undertaking her PhD in the area of rural studies and rural education.  Her research interests include school aged distance education, rural-regional sustainability,  and the ethical working impact of research with rural people and communities. Natalie brings a wide range of experience to the team having worked on projects funded by the government, ARC, and not-for-profit organisations. She has worked on projects with university outreach teams, schools, community organisations and is an editor of the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education. Natalie also works as a research administrator with the Centre for Sustainable Communities at the university of Canberra.

Adjuncts and Affiliates

Misty Adoniou

Dr Misty Adoniou

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Dr Mark Brennan 

Professor Mark Brennan

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Dr Tony Brown

Dr Tony Brown

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Barbara Chambers

Barbara Chambers

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Caroline Lemerle

Professor Caroline Lemerle

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Katja Mikhailovich

Associate Professor Katja Mikhailovich

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Professor Shirley Randell AO

Dr Shirley Randell AO

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John Spriggs

Dr John Spriggs

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Daniela Stehlik 

Professor Daniela Stehlik

Daniela tweets as @RubaSkala and can be contacted on

Dr Karen Williams

Dr Karen Williams

Click to view Molonglo Consulting's website