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Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen

STAFF PROFILE

Position

ARC Future Fellow

Faculty

Faculty of Arts and Education

Department

School of Education

Campus

Melbourne Burwood Campus

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University, 2013

Biography

Dr Tebeje Molla (Mekonnen) is an ARC Future Fellow and senior lecturer in the School of Education at Deakin University. Tebeje holds qualifications in history, curriculum, sociology of education, and traumatic stress studies.

Tebeje has established a robust research program centred on understanding  educational inequality and policy responses at systemic (national) and institutional (university and school) levels. He has investigated the issue of inequality in a range of contexts: early childhood education, schooling, vocational education and training, and higher education.

Through his DECRA and Future Fellowship projects, Tebeje has investigated the educational attainment and integration outcomes of African heritage youth from refugee backgrounds.

Tebeje has published in high-impact international journals in his field. His books include Higher Education in Ethiopia (2018, Springer) and African Heritage Australian Youth (2023, Routledge).

He actively engages with the media, publishing short commentaries on The Conversation, AARE blog, and SBS.com.au. He also occasionally appears on SBS radio (Amharic) to discuss current affairs concerning African communities in Australia.

Read more on Tebeje Molla's profile

Biography summary

Dr Tebeje Molla's research focuses on education policy, social inclusion, educational justice, research training policy, and teacher professional learning. His interdisciplinary research draws on critical sociology and the capability approach to social justice and human development.

Career highlights

2023: Vice Chancellor’s Mid-Career Researcher Award for Career Excellence 

2023: African Heritage Australian Youth (solo-authored book, Routledge)

2022: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

2018: Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award

Research interests

  • Trauma and learning
  • Education policy 
  • Educational justice
  • Social inclusion and education 
  • Educational experiences of refugee-background African youth
  • Graduate research training and employability
  • Teacher professional learning

Teaching interests

  • Trauma-responsive education
  • Education policy
  • Sociology of education
  • Qualitative research methods

Units taught

E512 (ETR704)

EDX704 Research Paper

EDX706 Minor Thesis

Knowledge areas

  • Education policy
  • Equity in education
  • Teacher professional learning
  • Trauma and school engagement
  • Graduate research training and employability

Expertise

Tebeje's areas of expertise include policy analysis, equity research in education, critical social research, research graduate employability, teacher professional learning, and trauma and learning.
  • Africa
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Policy
  • Refugees
  • Youth/young people's issues

Conferences

Tebeje has presented his work at annual educational/sociological conferences including:

  • AARE: Australian Association for Research in Education
  • BERA: British Educational Research Association
  • ECER: European Conference on Educational Research
  • ICES: International and Comparative Education Society (USA)
  • TASA: The Australian Sociological Association
  • TIES: The Inclusive Education Summit

Professional activities

Member: Refugee Council of Australia’s Education Special Interest Group

Co-convenor: Australian Association for Research in Education's Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Special Interst Group (2020-present)

Meember: The International Board of the following journals:

  • Critical Studies in Education, CSE
  • The Australian Educational Researcher, AER
  • Ethiopian Journal of Teacher Education and Leadership, EJTEL
  • Kotebe Journal of Education, KJE

Reviewer: Tebeje reviews manuscripts submitted to the following journals:

  • Journal of Education Policy
  • Higher Education Research & Development
  • Critical Studies in Education
  • The Australian Educational Researcher
  • Australian Journal of Education
  • Higher Education
  • Studies in Higher Education
  • European Educational Research Journal
  • Policy Futures in Education
  • Review of African Political Economy
  • Discourse
  • International Joural of Inclusive Education

Research groups

Research for Educational Impact (REDI)

Awards

  • Vice Chancellor’s Mid-Career Researcher Award for Career Excellence (Deakin University, 2023)
  • Mid-Career Researcher Award for Career Excellence (Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, 2021)
  • Bristol 'Next Generation' Visiting Researcher Award (University of Bristol, 2020)
  • Discovery Early  Career Award, DECRA (ARC, 2019)
  • Early Career Research Award (School of Education, Deakin University, 2019)
  • Endeavour Research Leadership Award (DET, 2018)
  • Postgraduate Publication Award (Monash University, 2012)

Publications

Filter by

2024

Educational disadvantage and policy: expanding the spaces of assessment

Tebeje Molla, Trevor Gale

(2024), Vol. 39, pp. 105-126, Journal of Education Policy, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Racial Othering: structural roots and anti-racist actions from below

Tebeje Molla

(2024), Vol. 4, pp. 1-30, SN Social Sciences, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal article

Refugees and school engagement: A scoping review

Tebeje Molla

(2024), Policy Futures in Education, Thousand Oaks, CA., C1

journal article
2023

African Heritage Australian Youth

Tebeje Molla

(2023), London, Eng., A1

book

Equity in early childhood education: policy framing, translation and enactment

Andrea Nolan, Tebeje Molla

(2023), pp. 93-98, International Encyclopedia of Education (Fourth Edition), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, B1

book chapter

Racial Othering and Relational Wellbeing: African Refugee Youth in Australia

T Molla

(2023), Vol. 12, pp. 1-13, Social Sciences, Basel, Switzerland, C1

journal article

'It's out of my hands': Migrant parents' challenging experiences of home-schooling during the COVID-19 lockdowns

T Molla, A Zaini, H Shokouhi, R Arber

(2023), pp. 1-18, Australian Journal of Education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

How do higher degree research students and supervisors navigate ethics-in-practice for educational research in sensitive or 'fragile' contexts?

R Burke, S Baker, T Molla, B Cabiles, A Fox

(2023), British Educational Research Journal, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Cottage by the Sea: The Difference 'Take a Break' makes

Louise Paatsch, Amanda Mooney, Andrea Nolan, Julianne Moss, Tebeje Mekonnen, Trevor Mccandless

(2023), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper
2022

African refugee youth in Australia: higher education participation

T Molla

(2022), Vol. 41, pp. 481-495, Higher Education Research and Development, C1

journal article

Preparing African students with refugee backgrounds for transition: School practices

T Molla

(2022), Vol. 66, pp. 5-25, Australian Journal of Education, C1

journal article

Equitable teaching for cultural and linguistic diversity: exploring the possibilities for engaged pedagogy in post-COVID-19 higher education

S Baker, J Anderson, R Burke, T De Fazio, C Due, L Hartley, T Molla, C Morison, W Mude, L Naidoo, R Sidhu

(2022), Vol. 74, pp. 444-459, Educational Review, London, England, C1

journal article

Crisis and policy imaginaries: higher education reform during a pandemic

Tebeje Molla, Denise Cuthbert

(2022), pp. 1-19, Higher Education, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1

journal article
2021

Cultural Citizenship and Refugee Integration: The case of African youth in Australia

Tebeje Molla

(2021), pp. 37-54, Handbook of research on promoting social justice for immigrants and refugees through active citizenship and intercultural education, Hershey, Penn., B1

book chapter

Educational aspirations and experiences of refugee-background African youth in Australia: a case study

T Molla

(2021), Vol. 25, pp. 877-895, International Journal of Inclusive Education, C1

journal article

African Refugees in Australia: Social Position and Educational Outcomes

T Molla

(2021), Vol. 19, pp. 331-348, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, C1

journal article

Refugees and equity policy in Australian higher education

Tebeje Mekonnen

(2021), Vol. 5, pp. 5-27, Policy Reviews in Higher Education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Building teacher professional capabilities through transformative learning

A Nolan, T Molla

(2021), Vol. 49, pp. 450-465, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, C1

journal article

Critical policy scholarship in education: An overview

T Molla

(2021), Vol. 29, pp. 1-30, Education Policy Analysis Archives, C1

journal article

The politics of critical policy sociology: mobilities, moorings and elite networks

G Savage, J Gerrard, T Gale, T Molla

(2021), Vol. 62, pp. 306-321, Critical Studies in Education, C1

journal article

Refugee education: homogenized policy provisions and overlooked factors of disadvantage

Tebeje Molla

(2021), INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION, C1

journal article

Racial moral panic and African youth in Australia

T Molla

(2021), Vol. 84, pp. 95-106, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, C1

journal article

Researching experiences of African refugee youth in high-income countries: Reflections on conceptual challenges and possibilities

M Hailu, T Molla, A Johnson

(2021), pp. 1-9, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article
2020

Researching professional recognition in a pre-school setting: a critical realist approach

T Molla, A Nolan

(2020), Vol. 43, pp. 271-282, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, C1

journal article

Teacher agency and professional practice

T Molla, A Nolan

(2020), Vol. 26, pp. 67-87, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, C1

journal article
2019

Identifying professional functionings of early childhood educators

T Molla, A Nolan

(2019), Vol. 45, pp. 551-566, Professional development in education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Access to languages other than English in Australian universities: an educational pipeline of privilege

T Molla, A Harvey, S Sellar

(2019), Vol. 38, pp. 307-323, Higher education research and development, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Positional matters: school leaders engaging with national equity agendas

T Molla, T Gale

(2019), Vol. 34, pp. 858-876, Journal of education policy, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Human Development Optimism and Political Pitfalls in Ethiopia

T Molla

(2019), Vol. 46, pp. 367-391, Forum for Development Studies, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Supporting teacher professionalism through tailored professional learning

Andrea Nolan, Tebeje Molla

(2019), Vol. 17, pp. 126-140, London review of education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

The problem of inequality in Australia's early childhood education and care sector: A policy frame analysis

T Molla, A Nolan

(2019), Vol. 63, pp. 322-339, Australian Journal of Education, C1

journal article

Educational aid, symbolic power and policy reform: the world bank in Ethiopia

T Molla

(2019), Vol. 17, pp. 331-346, London review of education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Calibrating the PhD for Industry 4.0: global concerns, national agendas and Australian institutional responses

Tebeje Mekonnen, Denise Cuthbert

(2019), Vol. 3, pp. 167-188, Policy Reviews in Higher Education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article
2018

Higher education in Ethiopia: structural inequalities and policy responses

T Molla

(2018), Berlin, Germany, A1

book

Re-imagining Africa as a Knowledge Economy: Premises and Promises of Recent Higher Education Development Initiatives

T Molla, D Cuthbert

(2018), Vol. 53, pp. 250-267, Journal of Asian and African Studies, C1

journal article

Teacher professional learning in Early Childhood education: insights from a mentoring program

A Nolan, T Molla

(2018), Vol. 38, pp. 258-270, Early Years, C1

journal article

Teacher professional learning as a social practice: an Australian case

A Nolan, T Mekonnen

(2018), pp. 1-23, International studies in sociology of education, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Teacher professional learning through pedagogy of discomfort

A Nolan, T Molla

(2018), Vol. 19, pp. 721-735, Reflective Practice, C1

journal article
2017

The illusion of meritocracy and the audacity of elitism: expanding the evaluative space in education

Trevor Gale, Tebeje Molla, Stephen Parker

(2017), Vol. 1, pp. 7-21, Policy and inequality in education, Singapore, B1

book chapter

Metaphor as a methodological tool: identifying teachers' social justice dispositions across diverse secondary school settings

C Mills, T Molla, T Gale, R Cross, S Parker, C Smith

(2017), Vol. 38, pp. 856-871, British journal of sociology of education, Basingstoke, Eng., C1

journal article

Teacher confidence and professional capital

A Nolan, T Mekonnen

(2017), Vol. 62, pp. 10-18, Teaching and teacher education, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article
2016

Deliberations on the deliberative professional: thought-action provocations

Trevor Gale, T Mekonnen

(2016), pp. 247-262, Practice theory and education : diffractive readings in professional practice, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

In pursuit of the African PhD: A critical survey of emergent policy issues in select sub-Saharan African nations, Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa

T Molla, D Cuthbert

(2016), Vol. 14, pp. 635-654, Policy Futures in Education, C1

journal article
2015

The politicization of the PhD and the employability of doctoral graduates: an Australian case study in a global context

D Cuthbert, T Mekonnen

(2015), pp. 95-111, Technology and workplace skills for the twenty-first century: Asia Pacific universities in the globalized economy, Basingstoke, Eng., B1-1

book chapter

PhD crisis discourse: a critical approach to the framing of the problem and some Australian 'solutions'

D Cuthbert, T Molla

(2015), Vol. 69, pp. 33-53, Higher education, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

Inequality in Ethiopian higher education: reframing the problem as capability deprivation

T Molla, T Gale

(2015), Vol. 36, pp. 383-397, Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Social justice intents in policy: an analysis of capability for and through education

T Gale, T Mekonnen

(2015), Vol. 30, pp. 810-830, Journal of education policy, London, Eng., C1

journal article

The issue of research graduate employability in Australia: an analysis of the policy framing (1999-2013)

T Molla, D Cuthbert

(2015), Vol. 42, pp. 237-256, Australian educational researcher, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article
2014

Higher education in Ethiopia : widening access and persisting inequalities

T Molla

(2014), pp. 125-138, Equity in education: fairness and inclusion, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, B1

book chapter

The World Bank and higher education reform in Ethiopia: knowledge aid and its undesirable effects

T Mekonnen

(2014), pp. 86-100, World yearbook of education 2014. Governing knowledge: comparison, knowledge-based technologies and expertise in the regulation of education, Abingdon, Eng., B1-1

book chapter

Neoliberal policy agendas and the problem of inequality in higher education: the Ethiopian case

T Molla

(2014), Vol. 12, pp. 297-309, Policy futures in education, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal article

Knowledge aid as instrument of regulation: World Bank's non-lending higher education support for Ethiopia

T Molla

(2014), Vol. 50, pp. 229-248, Comparative education, Abingdon, England, C1-1

journal article

Inequality in Ethiopian higher education : reframing the problem as capability deprivation

T Molla, T Gale

(2014), Vol. In Press, pp. 1-16, Discourse : studies in the cultural politics of education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Higher education development and knowledge economy optimism in Ethiopia

T Mekonnen, T Gale

(2014), Vol. 2, pp. 1-17, Knowledge cultures, Woodside, N.Y., C1-1

journal article

Qualitative inequality: experiences of women in Ethiopian higher education

T Mekonnen, D Cuthbert

(2014), Vol. 26, pp. 759-775, Gender and education, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article
2013

Higher eduction policy reform in Ethiopia: the representation of the problem of gender inequality

T Molla

(2013), Vol. 26, pp. 193-215, Higher education policy, Basingstoke, England, C1-1

journal article

External policy influence and higher education reform in Ethiopia : understanding symbolic power of the World Bank

T Molla

(2013), Vol. 2, pp. 167-192, International journal of sociology education, Barcelona, Spain, C1-1

journal article
2011

The `knowledge-intensive development' agenda and equitable access to knowledge: higher education in Ethiopia

T Molla

(2011), Vol. 12, pp. 35-55, World studies in education, Melbourne, Vic, C1-1

journal article
2010

Widening access to lifelong learning for adults in Ethiopia: opportunities with recognition of prior learning

T Molla

(2010), Vol. 12, pp. 7-22, Widening participation and lifelong learning, Stoke-on-Trent, England, C1-1

journal article

Towards understanding epistemological assumptions of history teacher educators: my experience with phenomenological enquiry

T Molla

(2010), Vol. 25, pp. 27-45, Educational research journal, Hong Kong, C1-1

journal article

'Knowledge-led Development' and Inequality in Knowledge: The Issue of Gender Equity in the Higher Education Reform of Ethiopia

Tebeje Molla

(2010), pp. 83-87, 2010 CONFERENCE ON HIGHER EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT, PROCEEDINGS, PEOPLES R CHINA, Beijing, E1-1

conference

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Enhancing Higher Education Participation of African Refugee Youth

Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2021: $126,478
  • 2020: $131,612
  • 2019: $110,668

Improving School Engagement of African Refugee Students

Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen

ARC Fellowships - Future Fellowships

  • 2024: $25,860
  • 2023: $204,854
  • 2022: $102,860

Other Public Sector Funding

COVID-19 Online Learning Landscapes and CALDMR students: Opportunities and Challenges

Dr Lisa Hartely, A/Prof Loshini Naidoo, Dr Rachel Burke, Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen, Dr Clemence Due, Dr Joel Anderson, Dr Teresa De Fazio, Carolina Morison, Dr William Mude, A/Prof Ravinder Sidhu

NCSEHE National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Research

  • 2020: $3,046

Development of a Suite of African Heritage Culturally Safe Resources to Support Victorian School Leaders Develop More Inclusive Schooling Environments.

A/Prof Tim Corcoran, Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen, Dr Kerri Garrard, Dr Martin Potter, Mr Simeon Taylor, Mrs Maria Bates

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2022: $173,641

Industry and Other Funding

Cottage by the Sea-Where Young People Matter: Mentor Program

Prof Louise Paatsch, Prof Amanda Mooney, Prof Andrea Nolan, Prof Julianne Moss, Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen, Dr Sarah Healy

Cottage by the Sea, Queenscliff Inc

  • 2023: $14,998
  • 2021: $14,998

The Ripple Effect of Cottage by the Sea.

Prof Louise Paatsch, Prof Amanda Mooney, Prof Julianne Moss, Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen, Prof Andrea Nolan, Dr Trevor Mccandless

Cottage by the Sea, Queenscliff Inc

  • 2023: $24,999

Supervisions

Principal Supervisor
2022

Omid Talebi Rezaabadi

Thesis entitled: Iranian Immigrants Discourse Struggles: a Case on Subjectivity and Second Language (L2) Selves

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), School of Education