Investigating the trajectories of academic staff who identify as DBER scholars



Discipline-based education research, Identity theory


One of the growing areas of research in Australia is the discipline-based education research (DBER) field. In 2012 a National Research Council report stated “[DBER is a] vital area of scholarship [with] potential to improve undergraduate science and engineering education” (National Research Council, 2012, p. 1), meeting recommendations given by the Chief Scientist of Australia (2014) to improve the education of STEM graduates. The primary intent of this study is to collect the motivations, journeys and trajectories of DBER researchers and find factors that can lead to supporting the growth and retention of these scholars. Further to this, we are interested in the many facets of diversity of people within their respective discipline. As tertiary institutions serve a diverse student body it is essential that they understand the implications of having, or lacking, diversity within the researchers undertaking DBER studies and developing educational content at the tertiary level. In this presentation, we will focus on some of our preliminary data to describe the types of academics that are becoming DBER researchers in Australia, as well as some of the initial motivations and pathways that have led them to this point in their careers.

Author Biographies

Reyne Pullen, University of Sydney

School of Chemistry, Lecturer

MaryKay Orgill, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Department of Chemistry, Professor

Manju Sharma, University of Sydney

School of Physics, Professor