Professor Julianne Moss

Director, Research for Educational Impact (REDI)

Julianne's academic career has been shaped by leadership of curriculum and educational change linked to established programs of innovative qualitative research. Over a 40 year career in education, she has upheld an enduring commitment to equity and social justice.

Asking ‘the big questions’ about how education is delivered

Education continually evolves with the society it serves, and it’s the job of educational researchers such as Professor Julianne Moss to ask 'the big questions' about to whom and how it should be delivered.

A former schoolteacher and principal, Prof. Moss has been the Director of Research for Educational Impact (REDI), Deakin’s strategic research centre in education, since its inception in 2016 and is an Alfred Deakin Professor.

Driven by a commitment to social justice

Her work is driven by a commitment to equity and social justice and focuses on areas such as inclusion and exclusion in diverse geographical locations, how educational contexts reflect dominant social norms that don’t always support diverse student needs, and the adoption of new technologies.

'As REDI’s Director I can look back over the history of educational research at Deakin and understand its significant legacy, but importantly, continue to play a key leadership role in answering the big and enduring questions of education,' she says.

'With each moment of social change there is another lens, another set of questions generated that are ripe for the next generation of researchers to take up.'

Prof. Moss has contributed to more than 100 publications that include book chapters, refereed journal articles, reports, professional books and other publications, in a range of international and national peer-review publications and conference proceedings.

A helping hand for graduate teachers

She currently leads a large team of researchers in a project to investigate the needs of graduate teachers, in partnership with the Department of Education and Training in Victoria. 'The research on graduate teachers tells us that they are a highly marginalised group,' she says. 'In the first five years of teaching there is about a 30 per cent attrition rate from the profession. Our work is about supporting graduate teachers in these early years, but also evaluating the success of such initiatives.'

As a teacher and principal, Prof. Moss 'had a hunch that I wanted to do a PhD' and now encourages all professional educators to keep on learning. 'My PhD and work in higher education has given me such a rich understanding of all dimensions of education,' she says.

REDI questions and answers

We sat down with Julianne to find out more about REDI.

About REDI

What is REDI, and what inspired you to become its director?

REDI currently is focussed around four distinctive areas of research. It’s a place where renowned scholars collaborate with highly active and successful educational researchers from a number of disciplines. Deakin University has over the last decade had a centre that focuses on educational research. We have an outstanding history, and our membership is made up of leading international researchers. It’s no surprise that the 2021 QS ranking places us at 31 in the world for the subject of Education.

What do you enjoy about being the Director and how do you balance that task with your own research?

This is a very unique position. REDI is supported by the University, the Faculty of Arts and Education and the School of Education and also have members from the Centre for Research Assessment Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE). We have a very collaborative structure, and our programs represent research that extends from early childhood through to higher education and focuses on a wide range of professional, policy and practise issues that are both in and out of school systems. Yes, it is a juggle to keep up your own research, but as my time is limited, I carefully prioritise what I commit to. Throughout my career I have maintained long standing interests in social change and student diversity, and this has included may large projects that focus on graduate teachers and their work.

What do you think distinguishes REDI from its competitors?

Undoubtedly REDI is known for its critical research and contribution to social change across education. The emphasis in line with the close connection to the changing social world also brings methodological expertise in qualitative and quantitative research that is unique. We have established reciprocal working relationships with education systems and philanthropic partners who continue to make us the responsive research centre we are. Our partnerships are built on shared values which prioritise our values which are to be:

  • Critical
  • Creative
  • Ethical
  • Sustainable
  • Inclusive
  • Socially just

How do you see REDI contributing to Deakin's strategic priorities? What are your priorities for the Institute?

The University priorities are very enabling for a field such as Education. Our vision for educational research at Deakin is bringing together people committed to socially engaged research who shape the greatest impact for a better world and equitable educational futures. Our programs of research are currently being refreshed in line with changing social expectations for education. We highly value the new kinds of expertise that are needed in education and the building collaborations across future oriented fields of research to support the public engagement of leading educational ideas and the next generation of researchers is critical to remaining a leader in the field.

REDI projects

What are some of the major projects the research centre is working on?

REDI has a track record of being home to both Australian Research Council grants and large tendered research with a wide range of partners. We are very focused on the next generation of researchers that include DECRA and Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Fellows. Currently we have two DECRA Fellows, Dr Tebeje Mekonnen, Dr Emma Rowe; We also have Dr Eve Mayes, and Dr Luci Pangrazio, Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Fellows, and Future Fellow Professor Ly Tran. Members of CRADLE – Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin’s very own and specialised research centre – are also active members of REDI. Our projects vary in size but all share a common commitment to maximising research impact and engagement with our communities. Our partners include large education systems in Victoria and overseas, philanthropic organisations and community groups that focus on the needs of learners at all stages of life.

Higher Degree by Research 

What disciplines are you looking for in your HDR students and how can prospective students engage with your research centre?

Education draws HDR candidates from all disciplines and fields. Our researchers have significant projects that are grounded in important questions about policy, international students, digital worlds, STEM and Girls education, beginning teachers and curriculum, assessment and pedagogy more broadly that includes higher education and medical education.

How do HDR students contribute to the work the research centre is doing? Where do you see your current HDR students working in the future? How do you see them contributing to the field in the future?

Our higher degree research students are integral and interwoven into our research programs and activities, such as seminars and conferences. We have an increasing number of PhD students who are full-time candidates and who have come through one of our research training pathways. We know that many people in the educator sector that may not initially have the entry requirements to allow them to enrol in a PhD. The School of Education and REDI member Associate Professor Anne Cloonan have been very active in building a pathway to enable interested people to meet those entry requirements through our research pathways courses. Our PhD students can complete a conventional PhD thesis, but there are also those who complete research by publication or non-traditional outputs through arts-based approaches suited to education – for example, playwriting, performance and exhibitions.

The future of REDI

What do you think will be some of the most exciting or ground-breaking uses of REDI’s research in 10-20 years’ time?

I would hope that we see REDI’s researchers continuing to be engaged in the debates that are integral to the role of education and social policy in communities. As education is a public good, changes to policy and practise will reflect research that is grounded in the experience of learners in and out of schools and in workplaces. Data, datafication and its impact on citizenship, school curriculum, sustainability and the agency of learners of all ages and stages of life will be both necessary and obvious as our researchers are deeply engaged in their communities creating impactful research through traditional and non-traditional means.