Staff profile - Peta White

Staff image

Dr Peta White

Position: Lecturer In Science Education
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: SoE Arts & Ed
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 46885 +61 3 924 46885



I recently completed my PhD (2013) from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan and after many years working in academia at this university, Royal Roads University - British Columbia, and Arctic College - Nunavut, I have returned to Australia.  I am a dual citizen of Canada and Australia and excited to be in my home country. 

I began my full-time academic career in Australia with a posting at Edith Cowan University – South West Campus as a Senior Lecturer in Education (6 month contract).  I have also worked at Curtin University and Southern Cross University.  I look forward to my ongoing position as part of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Education team at Deakin University.

Contribution to the community
I have been a long-term activist in the environmental education field. I am currently a member of the Australian Association of Environmental Education (AAEE). I am a life-time member (and past president) of the Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association (SOEEA) and winner of the 2011 Melanson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environment and Outdoor Education. I am a life-time member of the Canadian Network of Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM), I sat on the Board, and I was Conference Chair for the EECOM 2011 Conference. I was also the North American Co-Chair of the 2012 Conference for the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) and strand leader for the Socioecological Education strand and I am a life-time member of this important international association. I review for several environmental education journals and I have recently assumed the role of Book Review Editor for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE).

I am a passionate educator who embraces new and interesting educational challenges to continually hone and improve my practice; such as teaching seniors or teaching in general curriculum to broaden my experiences and expertise.
My passion comes alive when working in, with, through, and about education.

Biography summary


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Regina (2013)
  • Master of Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland (2003)
  • Graduate Diploma of Education, University of Western Australia (1993)
  • Honours in Veterinary Anatomy, Murdoch University (1992)
  • Bachelor of Science (Zoology), University of Western Australia (1991)

Education Background
I have worked in the education system for over 20 years as a classroom teacher, program coordinator, curriculum consultant and manager, teacher educator, and lately as a pre-service teacher educator.


Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA)

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA)

Science Teachers' Association of Western Australia (STAWA)

Science Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (STAV)

Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE)

Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association (SOEEA)

Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM)

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)

Professional activities

Book Review Editor for the Australian Journal of Environmental Education

Reviewer for academic journals

Reviewer for academic conferences

  • North American Association for Environmental Education Conference (NAAEE)
  • North American Association for Environmental Education - Research Symposium (NAAEE)
  • American Association of Education Research (AERA)

LinkedIn profile


Teaching Interests

Tertiary Teaching Experiences
I started my tertiary teaching experiences in 2003 with Curtin University teaching the Society and Environment Methods unit (2003) with two concurrent student bodies (online and in person). 

From the start of my graduate program in Canada (2005) I was an active and engaged member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina where I taught 14 undergraduate classes in education, supervised over 60 teacher candidates in their field placements, and managed the Science education labs (through renovation).

Additionally, I have worked for Royal Roads University in British Columbia, where, over the last four years, I taught two graduate courses in the Masters of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program and completed eleven Masters student research thesis supervisions (one of whom was nominated for the Governor Generals Award).  I am currently working with two Masters students from this program. 

I was invited to work with Arctic College, Nunavut, in a remote Inuit community, teaching pre-service education students Assessment and Evaluation. 

Upon my return to Australia (2013) I joined Curtin University as part of the online tutoring team with Open University Australia Primary Education Program teaching the first year Introduction to Teaching unit (EDP 120) and fourth year Integrated programming (EDP 410).

I also tutored in the Southern Cross University Environmental Education unit online. 

I then undertook a full time Senior Lecturer position in Education with Edith Cowan University – South West.  In this role I enjoyed a full teaching load, initiated a small self-reflexive research project with colleagues, held a Science Extravaganza with students, and supported many on campus events such as the Engineering Day for school aged students. 

I am now employed in an ongoing position with Deakin University - Burwood Campus - Melbourne, Victoria.  In this role I become part of an exciting Science, Technology, and Environmental Education team.

School-based Education Experience

  • Science Specialist (years 1 - 10)
  • Biology and Human Biology
  • Social Studies/ Society and Environment
  • General Primary (years 5/6/7)
  • Mathematics
  • Permaculture (Horticulture)
  • Relief teaching in Western Australia (2006 - 2013)
  • Substitute teaching in Saskatchewan (2008- 2012)

Teaching Interests

  • Teacher Education
  • Environmental and Sustainability Education (socioecological)
  • Science Education
  • Research Methodology
  • Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Education
  • Action Learning and Activism
  • Assessment and Evaluation

Subjects and units currently teaching

Deakin University

  • Primary Science EES345 (2014)
  • Primary Technology Education: Creativity and Design EST400 (2014)
  • Senior Biology

Edith Cowan University

  • Positive Learning Environments EDU 2260 (2013)
  • Practical PPA 2360 (2013)
  • Classroom Management EDU 4222 (2013)
  • Primary Science (Post Graduate) SCE 4103 (2013)

Southern Cross University

  • Environmental Education - online EDU 01286 (2013)

Curtin University

  • Curriculum Design - Society and Environment (2003)
  • Introduction to Teaching - online EDP 120 (2013)
  • Integrated Learning - online EDP 410 (2013)

Nunavut Arctic College

  • Assessment and Evaluation 215 (2012)

Royal Roads University

  • Development of Environmental Understandings (2010, 2011)

University of Regina

  • Elementary Science Methods 215 (2006)
  • Environmental Education 302 (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Post-Intern Participatory Research in Science Education  401 (2008)
  • Assessment and Evaluation 410 (2012)
  • Pedagogy - Theory and Practice 350 (2012)
  • Field Supervision of Practicum (2005 - 2012)

University of Regina - Extension (Seniors Education)

  • Sustainable Living (2009)


Awards and prizes

Melanson Award (2011)

Churchill Fellowship (2003)

Coordinator of the Interstate Landcare Education Study Tour (2001)

Coordinator of the Alcoa Landcare Scholarship, Wyalkatchem District High School - the recipient of the following:

    State Landcare Education Award (1997)
    National Landcare Awards - Finalist (1998)
    Young Australian of the Year - Highly Commended (1997)


  • Humanities Research Institute Student Travel Award (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)
  • William B Stapp College Student Scholarship to attend the North American Association of Environmental Education Conference (2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)
  • MacKinnon Scholarship from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina (2007)
  • International Graduate Scholarship from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Regina (2007)

Certificate of Recognition for Contribution to Educational Research – Department of Education and Training (2003)


Research interests

PhD Research (2013)

Walking My Talk as an Intentional, Embodied (Co)constructed Environmental Educator (Link to online repositry of dissertation)
Exploring the question (how) can I use personal change to inspire educational and social/cultural change, this work was embodied and action orientated with a thesis that the doing (action) is as important as the thinking and talking about it. A three-dimensional model of exploring personal change through transformative education leading to social/cultural change was employed throughout this research. A critical poststructural ecofeminist frame undergirded an autoethnographic self-study where I changed my living practices to become more sustainable while living within society, and used this as a platform for how I could become a better environmental educator and activist. I reduced my ecological footprint from 16.4HA to 1.8HA and taught a preservice teacher course in environmental education, where I explored student resistances, power and relationships, a critique of curriculum, and personal change as a result of transformative education. One particular pedagogical strategy, the Action Learning Group Project, was developed and used to support others to undergo personal change through transformative education leading to social/cultural change. And finally, I use this work as an opportunity to undertake environmental education activism working to generate social/cultural change.

Current Research Interests

  • Teacher Education
  • Environmental Education and Sustainability
  • Science Education
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Action Orientated Methodologies
  • Positive Learning Environments (classroom management)
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Research Methodology
  • Activism

Research grants

Fundraising $50 000 for the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication Annual Conference (June 2011)

Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education (SOEEA) many grants for field trips (2006 – 2012)

Recipient of the Technology Innovation Grant ($2,000 CAD) to purchase a Smartboard and the in kind purchasing of a cart and data projector and the donation of a computer by the Faculty of Education to facilitate the use of technology in Science teacher education programs. (2005)

Research groups

National Teacher Education for Sustainability Network (NTEfSN)

Southern Cross University - Sustainability, Environment & Education (SEE) Research Cluster

Edith Cowan University - Writers Three (Sustainability)



DRO link (coming)

  • White, P., & Petry, R. (2011). Building Regional Capacity for Sustainable Development through an ESD Project Inventory in the RCE Saskatchewan. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 5(1), 89-100.

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