A former school principal, Phil Riley spent 16 years in schools before moving to the tertiary sector. He researches the overlapping space of psychology, education and leadership, producing over 200 publications and peer-reviewed conference presentations. He has been awarded over $8 million in research funding including three prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Grants.
Phil’s research was recognised with an inaugural Monash University Researcher Accelerator award in 2010. This award funded the first two years of The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, the first independent research project into principals’ occupational health and wellbeing. He has since won the Dean’s Award for Excellence by an Early Career Researcher, and the award for Excellence in Innovation and External Collaboration, at Monash University in 2011.
In 2015, Phil won the International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) Award for Most Outstanding Article of 2014 with his co-author Andrea Gallant. In 2017, Phil won the Australian Council for Educational Leadership (ACEL) Researcher of the Year Award.
Phil has presented international Keynote addresses in Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, and over 100 invited Keynote addresses to industry groups in all states and territories of Australia.
Phil has provided regular, detailed school leadership advice to every department of education in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, including the federal government via the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Leadership Roundtable. Phil also provides regular advice to the International Confederation of Principals’ Executive.
The Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is now conducted in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland.Read more on Phil's profile
Phil Riley is Professor of Education Leadership at Deakin University's Research for Educational Impact (REDI) strategic research centre, where he researches the overlapping space of psychology, education and leadership.
He is the Director and Chief Investigator for the Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, Australia’s first truly independent research project mapping the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of the nation’s educational leaders. This annual longitudinal survey was developed in response to growing concerns about principal and teacher welfare and is conducted in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland.
For the past nine years I have been the Chief Investigator and Director of the annual Principal Health and Wellbeing Surveys in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland. The research is focussed on OH&S/ Wellbeing issues for principals and aspirant leaders, and has recently expanded to include teachers in the Northern Territory and New Zealand. The research is underpinned conceptually by the Job Demands and Resources (JD-R) Theory. However, I have extended JD-R theory, to include the relationships between school leaders, teachers and students, through combining concepts from Attachment Theory to JD-R. I am particularly focussed on the cognitive, behavioural, affective and existential dimensions of leadership.
- Occupational health, safety and wellbeing of school leaders and teachers
- Organisational culture
- The overlap between leadership, leader-member exchange and psychological processes
- Interpersonal relationships within the classroom and in the staffroom
- The impact of Attachment Styles on the leadership of teachers and students
- The “secure base” as a mediator between school leadership and teachers’ coping
I strive to allow the benefits of my research findings to flow out into industry and the community rapidly, by producing detailed annual reports released into the public domain. The reports have generated significant discussion among policy makers (substantiated by invitations to brief every department of education in the country annually since 2014) and the general public see Media Impact below). My knowledge translation strategy is to deliver the important findings and new knowledge rapidly, through industry publications and keynote speeches, while the slower process of producing high quality academic outputs progresses.
To this end, the strategies I repeatedly use to achieve my research goals are to:
- Secure sufficient funding through industry collaboration around significant projects;
- Find the right research collaborators to conduct the work;
- Rapidly produce significant research outputs for industry partners and highest quality outputs for the academy; and,
- Produce high quality academic publications.
These strategies are now the Australian federal government’s preferred research career model. I am therefore extremely well placed in the current milieu. My track record of identifying and addressing telling research questions drawn from on-going industry collaborations has created the platform for a significant international expansion of the work and will help to position Deakin University at the forefront of this important development. Pursuing this strategy has brought national and international recognition as an eminent authority in school principal health and wellbeing, and I provide intellectual leadership beyond this specific area of research, through increasing recognition as a public intellectual, evidenced by over 70 keynote addresses in six countries, and regular contact by journalists for comment on these and related issues.
To summarise: I am recognised as an international research leader who garners high levels of engagement from industry partners, and produces research that creates significant industry impact, participant benefit and academic recognition.
Advisory panel memberships
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (School Leadership Roundtable)
Queensland Department of Education (Teaching Queensland’s Future Program)
South Australian Department of Education (Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy Reference Group)
Victorian Department of Education and Training (Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy Reference Group)
Research for Educational Impact (REDI)
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Golden Key International Honour Society (Deakin Chapter)
Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG)
Learning in Depth (LiD)
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)
2017 Australian Council for Educational Leadership Researcher of the Year Award
2015 International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) Award for Outstanding Article of 2014 (with Andrea Gallant): Early career teacher attrition: New thoughts on an intractable problem
No publications found
Funded Projects at Deakin
Other Public Sector Funding
Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Prof Phil Riley
- 2019: $250,000
Industry and Other Funding
The NZ Teacher and Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey.
Prof Phil Riley
- 2020: $364
- 2019: $84,500
No completed student supervisions to report