Researcher biography

Jenny Povey leads the Social and Educational Disadvantage Research Group at the Institute for Social Science Research and an Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence on Families and Children over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) at The University of Queensland. 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 well-being, evidenced-based practice, and research that impacts policy and practice. She has extensive experience in mixed methods research 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 DET; Qld DET; CESE NSW; Australian DSS; Qld DCSYW) 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. In addition to leading the FamilyLinQ and Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) Evaluation, she is currently working on understanding why and how some schools are more effective at parent engagement than others and how improving parent engagement in socially disadvantaged schools effects the learning and well-being of students living in these communities over their life course. Jenny is a Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkage project which investigates how Aboriginal and Tores 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 Tores Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children in OOHC. This research will improve service provider capability and test Government reform interventions.

In addition to her research activities Jenny leads ISSR's training program, offering short hands-on training courses in statistical and social methods to policy makers and practitioners. She teaches the collecting and analysing qualitative data short course, has developed a number of evaluation capability training courses and online toolkits for Government and service providers, including a parent engagement toolkit and online course for Australian schools.