2018 CDAA National Conference
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Keynote Speakers


Dr Susan C. Whiston

Susan C. Whiston received her Ph.D. in Counselling in 1986 from the University of Wyoming. She is a professor at Indiana University and teaches career counselling, assessment, and other courses in the counselling program. Her research has primarily focused on identifying effective methods for delivering career counselling interventions and she has written four books, several book chapters, and over 60 journal articles.

She has presented at local, regional, national, and international conferences. She received the John Holland award from the American Psychological Association in 2005, which recognised her research related to career counselling. Dr. Whiston also received the Best Practices Award from the American Counselling Association in 2010 for a meta-analysis on school counselling. She was also the chair of the Society for Vocational Psychology from 2012 to 2014. In addition, she has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of Career Assessment, Journal of Counseling Psychology, and The Career Development Quarterly.


Keynote Presentation:

Helping Clients Obtain Meaningful Futures: What Research Indicates are Critical Ingredients

Career practitioners often strive to help clients establish meaningful futures but what guides these services is sometimes less that systematic.  This presentation will argue that there is a body of research evidence that can assist practitioners in implementing effective interventions with clients.  Research indicates that career interventions vary in effectiveness and that there are critical ingredients that can increase the effectiveness of career interventions.  In particular, there is a substantial amount of research that documents the critical ingredients needed to assist clients with making meaningful career choices.  This presentation will summarize the research on critical ingredients and include results from a recent meta-analysis that found counselor support to be the most important critical ingredient in career choice counseling.  There is also research related to the critical ingredients in job search interventions that have been shown to increase clients’ abilities to find employment.  A recent meta-analysis found that job search interventions promote employment only when both job search skills and motivation are enhanced simultaneously.  The presentation will focus on how practitioners in a variety of settings can apply these research findings in their daily work.  Finally, time will also be allocated to answer questions and to discuss pertinent findings with the audience. 


Professor Ruth Bridgstock

Ruth Bridgstock is passionate about developing ‘future capable’ learners, teachers, and educational institutions. Her activities are all centered on the question of how we can foster capabilities for productive participation in the 21st century knowledge economy and society. Ruth engages in research and scholarship into the changing world of work and the social challenges we all face, capability needs, and approaches to learning in the digital age. She designs, develops and evaluates innovative curricula and teaching approaches for the development of these capabilities, and is also engaged in teacher capacity building and university transformation projects.

Ruth is Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and Australian National Senior Teaching Fellow for Graduate Employability 2.0, which is concerned with how students, teachers and universities can build and use social networks for innovation, career development, and learning. She is author of Creative Work Beyond the Creative Industries: Innovation, Employment and Education (Edward Elgar, 2014), and Creative Graduate Pathways Within and Beyond the Creative Industries (Routledge, 2016).


Keynote Presentation:

Becoming Career Future-capable: The Continuing Centrality of the Career Practitioner

This presentation starts by asking what it means to be career future-capable in the context of a world of work and society undergoing massive disruptive change under the influence of digital technologies, and increasing social complexity. It engages with the key shifts that are occurring to the labour market, work and careers, and explores the 21st century capabilities and skills that research suggests will be important to our productive participation in the years to come. In the light of this, it asks what the role of the careers practitioner needs to become, and where they should be positioned to do their best work to empower clients and foster needed capabilities. In so doing, the presentation draws upon research into learning and career development strategies for the changing world of work; and Ruth’s recently completed research into the ways that university careers services are transforming themselves and their activities to address these imperatives and increase their reach and impact. Through the presentation, Ruth wil highlight the continuing centrality of career practitioners to successful and meaningful career futures.

Laureate Professor Jennifer Gore

Jennifer Gore is a Laureate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia, where she was Dean of Education and Head of School for six years (2008–2013). Currently Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre and Co-Editor of the international journal, Teaching and Teacher Education, Jenny has won more than AUD $5.9 million in research funding including several grants awarded by the Australian Research Council. Her educational and research interests consistently centre on quality and equity, ranging across such topics as teacher socialisation, reform in teacher education, pedagogical reform, teacher development, and student aspirations. 

Jenny's decade-long program of work on Quality Teaching (a framework developed with James Ladwig in 2003) has had significant impact in government, Catholic, and independent schools throughout Australia, especially in NSW and the ACT. This work subsequently led to the conceptualisation of Quality Teaching Rounds (with Julie Bowe), an innovative approach to teacher professional development. Widely published and cited (more than 8,900 citations), her recent major research projects include a longitudinal study exploring the formation of educational and career aspirations during schooling and a randomised controlled trial investigating the impact of Quality Teaching Rounds on teaching quality.

Regarded as one of Australia’s leading teaching and teacher education academics, Jenny is deeply committed to supporting teachers in delivering high quality and equitable outcomes for students. Jenny completed a Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia, Canada (1983), and PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA (1990). She has held executive roles for the Australian Association for Research in Education, the Australian Council of Deans of Education, and the NSW Teacher Education Council.


Keynote Presentation:

The Career Aspirations of Australian School Students: Understanding for Complexity for Greater Equity

Widening participation in higher education has been a major policy initiative in Australia for more than a decade. Although the evidence base for these policies is rapidly growing, key aspects of the agenda, such as the need to “raise” aspirations, have been premised on a range of relatively untested assumptions.

In this presentation, I provide an overview of key findings from a program of research (2012-2017) examining the educational and occupational aspirations of school students in Years 3 to 12 from 100 New South Wales government schools.

Drawing on the large data set of more than 10,500 student surveys, 1,400 parent/carer surveys, 1,250 teacher surveys and focus groups involving more than 550 students, 60 parents/carers, 150 teachers and principals I explore factors associated with aspirations. These include a host of demographic variables related to equity concerns, such as gender, Aboriginality, socioeconomic status, location, language background, as well as factors relating to schooling such as prior achievement, school level of advantage, whether students were having out-of-school tutoring, their sense of their own relative academic standing, and the role of teachers as they pertain to the formation of aspirations.

The career interests of these students in relation to both university education and vocational education will be mapped. Theoretical and methodological challenges will be addressed together with implications for policy and practice in both higher education and schooling.

Samantha Skinner

Samantha Skinner is a Senior Project Manager with the UNSW ASPIRE Program, working with low socio-economic schools and communities across NSW.

As a qualified teacher and career development practitioner, Samantha enjoys working with senior high school students from diverse backgrounds, to plan their pathway to further training, higher education and employment.
Samantha grew up in south-western Sydney and was the first in her family to go to university, completing a BA/DipEd at UNE Armidale. After graduation she took up various teaching positions in regional NSW and in 2008 completed the Graduate Certificate of Career Education and Development at RMIT, before relocating back to Sydney in 2013.

In her free time, Samantha spends time with family, at the beach, walking her dog and exploring Sydney’s sights. With some trepidation, she’s also embarking on the first unit of a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Education and hopes to be able to finish it before retirement!


Keynote Presentation:

University Widening Participation – Towards 2020. An Overview of the UNSW ASPIRE Program.

Ten years after the commissioning of Professor Denise Bradley’s Review of Australian Higher Education, students from low socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds in both metropolitan and provincial areas remain significantly underrepresented across the Australian higher education sector. The Group of Eight (Go8) coalition of leading research universities overall have the lowest proportion of LSES student enrolments.

The Bradley Review highlighted an urgent need for Australia to swell its pool of degree-qualified people to keep pace with and succeed in the global economy. To do so, the authors recommended establishing a target participation rate of 20% of students from LSES backgrounds by 2020, thereby ensuring that those from disadvantaged backgrounds aspire to and are enabled to participate in higher education. 

Over the course of the subsequent decade, university outreach and ‘widening participation’ programs have become an increasingly integral part of the career development and equity/diversity landscape for practitioners in schools and universities.  Built around an evidence-based pedagogical framework of ‘Raising Awareness’, ‘Supporting Aspiration’ and ‘Nurturing Academic Attainment’, these programs are designed to build a greater awareness about university amongst students who may not have considered a university education before, encouraging them to explore options and better position themselves to successfully gain entry to their preferred degree, at the university of their choosing.

This keynote presentation is an overview of the long-standing UNSW ASPIRE Program, and its work with 56 partner schools and communities across metropolitan, regional and remote NSW.  It highlights the impact of university widening participation outreach work on students, schools, parents, communities and the university itself.  Further, the presentation explores the inevitable obstacles and challenges which have emerged and considers how we continue to work towards overcoming socio-economic barriers to higher education in the current unpredictable and evolving career landscape.


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