Researcher Biography

Vicky has been awarded a competitive Scholarship from UQ to work on her PhD focused on the low representation of male educators in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce. A mere 3% of the Australian ECEC workforce is male. Her thesis will contribute to solving this significant policy problem through a study of barriers and benefits to male participation in the ECEC workforce.

Vicky managed and analysed the qualitative data sets (n=98 Educators with extended biographical interviews, n=790 qualitative open-ended responses), on a nationally representative survey of Australian educators (n=1,200 completed survey), for the Early Years Workforce Study, identifying effective strategies to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce (ARC Linkage - LP14100652). In undertaking this work, Vicky’s interest in occupational diversity and disadvantage emerged, with particular focus on gender diversity and gender attitudes in a workforce undertaking care work of young children.

Through her work with Goodstart on the ARC Linkage, Vicky has been asked to join an international project researching men’s career trajectories in the ECEC workforce. This group consists of leading researchers from 13 different countries collecting data from men who are either working in ECEC currently or have worked in ECEC in the past (n=36).

Vicky also works part-time as the Senior Research Assistant for the Childhood Development, Education and Care group, led by Prof Karen Thorpe. Her current role at ISSR continues to build on her research management and research contributions to the ARC Linkage project, Identifying effective strategies to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce. For this project Vicky undertook data collection, data management and data analysis, and prepared research presentations from the findings. She now also contributes to report writing and authoring papers for publication based on data collected on this ARC Linkage project.

Vicky worked full-time at QUT for 5 years before being invited to move to UQ. She had 2 part-time roles as a Research Project Coordinator for the Strategic Investment in Farm Robotics (SIFR) program at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision (ACRV), and as a Research Manager for the Early Education and Development Team at the Centre for Children’s Health Research (CCHR).

Vicky has a lot of experience working in a fusion role across completely different areas at the same time and enjoys the challenges it often presents. In her Robotics role she project managed the SIFR research program for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Queensland, and also assisted with coordinating the ARC Linkage project, Strategies for mid-air collision avoidance in aircraft: lessons from bird flight, and the ARC Discovery project, Biologically-inspired detection, pursuit and interception of moving objects by unmanned aircraft systems.

PhD topic

Pride and Prejudice: The claiming and contesting of men's participation in early childhood education and care

Advisors

  • Professor Karen Thorpe (Principal)
  • Dr Francisco (Paco) Perales (Associate)

Research interests

  • Early Education and Care (ECEC)
  • Child Development
  • ECEC Workforce
  • Disadvantage & Mental Health
  • Workforce Diversity

Publications

Thorpe, K., Sullivan, V., Jansen, E., McDonald, P., Sumsion, J., & Irvine, S. (in press July 2018). A Man in the Center: Inclusion and Contributions of Male Educators in Early Childhood Education and Care Teaching-Teams. Early Child Development and Care

Jansen, E., Sullivan, V., Irvine, S., & Thorpe, K. (2017). Informing Queensland’s Workforce Action Plan for ECEC: Group and service level variation in educator engagement, satisfaction, training and retention. Department of Education and Training, Queensland Government, Australia.