Researcher biography

Jenny is the Deputy Director (Training) at Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland. In this role Jenny leads the development and implementation of ISSR's training programs. This includes professional short courses aimed at Industry, tailored capability training for industry, Higher Degree Training, external and internal internships/placements, internal staff capability training, and teaching opportunities for ISSR staff in the schools including Honours supervision. In addition to leading this portfolio of work and teaching professional short courses, Jenny continues to lead a Research Group (Social and Educational disadvantage), contribute as an Associate Investigator to research for the ARC Centre of Excellence on Families and Children over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre), and supervise HDR students. She is a Psychologist and obtained her BA Honors, MA and PhD from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. Before coming to ISSR, Jenny worked as a Chief Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa in the area of Education effectiveness.

Jenny's research focuses on education effectiveness, parent engagement, student wellbeing, evidenced-based practice, and research that impacts policy and practice. She has extensive experience in large scale mixed methods evaluations, using administrative data together with survey and qualitative data. Jenny has worked closely with Government Departments and Ministries both in Australia (e.g., Tasmania DHHS; Australian DoE; Qld DoE; CESE NSW; Australian DSS; Qld DCSSD; Department of Home Affairs) and internationally (e.g., South Africa, Eritrea, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands) to gather research evidence from a wide range of disadvantaged communities to inform policy. Jenny is a Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkage project which investigates how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children experience Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) using elicitation methods and a longitudinal qualitative research design to provide evidence to improve service agencies' understanding of children's experiences in OOHC and how agencies can best support families, carers and communities to promote the social, emotional, and cultural well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children in OOHC. This research will improve service provider capability and test Government reform interventions. In addition to leading large commissioned evaluations and academic grants, Jenny is continues to build her research focusing on understanding why and how some schools located in disadvanatged areas are more effective at parent engagement than others and how improving parent engagement in these schools effects the learning and wellbeing of students living in these communities over their life course.