The University of Notre Dame Australia has appointed Professor Lauren Stephenson as the new Dean of Education in Sydney. She takes up her role on September 17.
Professor Stephenson is currently Academic Lead for the Education and Arts Professional Learning Hub at the Australian Catholic University (ACU), but previously spent over 20 years working in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Asia before returning to Australia in 2014.
“In all my leadership roles at the ACU I have had many opportunities to better understand the Australian education system and state and national educational priorities. I am thrilled to be joining Notre Dame and feel a great deal of excitement about my new and challenging role,” she said.
Professor Stephenson said she was proud of her record of building partnerships with faith-based, independent and government schools, principals, teachers and parents since she returned to Australia.
“I see partnering with social agencies such as schools and community organisations as central to my work in leadership at Notre Dame,” she said.
After leaving Australia, Professor Stephenson held a number of positions at the newly-established Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates. “As a start-up institution, Zayed University gave me an excellent opportunity to try out new and innovative ideas in higher education and education in general,” she said.
While Notre Dame continues to stay abreast of the changes that are taking place within the education sector, such as the increased use of digital learning systems, Professor Stephenson also wants to maintain the university’s reputation for producing well-rounded teachers.
“Notre Dame has a great name as a university which focuses on the pastoral care of the whole person,” she said. “I’d like to build on that and make it more explicit in the community.”
As part of her role as Dean, Professor Stephenson will continue to teach in her specialty areas of teacher education, educational leadership and English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).
“Being in the classroom is a great way to explore and evaluate current and future learning platforms that support students’ needs and interests. Teaching and engaging in professional and collegial learning conversations also helps keep current your own knowledge and its application,” she said.
“I am committed to education that equips students with a sense of real purpose and agency to thrive and ethically shape their communities. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this critical agenda.”
Photo: Mark Chipperfield