Dr Susan Simon - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Susan Simon

SFHEA, DProf C.Qld., GDipEd Qld., BA (Jt Hons) Nott., GAICD

  • Senior Lecturer, Education
+61 7 5430 1286
Office location
SD C.2.16
Sunshine Coast
Dr Susan Simon


Dr Simon's career has spanned four professions — airline management and marketing in the UK, the Arts, teaching and leadership in five Queensland schools and now within the higher education sector here at USC. Since moving into higher education, Sue has been able to bring her extensive experience and passion for good education into her teaching and research at USC. The results of this have been recognised both locally and nationally with Sue having been awarded a 2015 OLT Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for her work in postgraduate educational leadership learning. Previously in 2015, she was a recipient of a Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence in Engagement for her involvement in the Stories of Practice Project Team - a research project led by A/Prof Deborah Heck in partnership with the schools of the North Coast Region of Education Queensland.

Sue’s 25 years' experience in Education has included state and independent schools, day schools and boarding schools and co-ed and single sex schools. Originally secondary trained, she has worked predominantly in P–12 schools the last 12 years of which was as a Principal including being the Foundation Principal at St Andrew's Anglican College Peregian Springs from 2003. Sue has been a Director on the Board of the Independent Schools of Queensland (ISQ), is a member of state and national committees and panels for specific educational projects, chair of committees for national and state conferences and a contributing member of professional and systemic networks. She is currently a board member of a Queensland independent school as well as a Learning and Development Partner for ACEL (Australian Council for Educational Leadership). Passionate about the Arts, Sue instigated Arts Festivals in four schools, and has always been equally passionate about teacher quality and positive school culture-building. Her doctorate focused on quality teacher selection and the emergent culture of St Andrew's Anglican College. She maintains engagement with professional networks, systems and individual schools locally and nationally.

Sue continues her interest in quality teaching, leadership and school culture in the courses she teaches and the areas in which she undertakes program development and research. Sue supervises a number of PhD students across the range of her areas of expertise. She is a member of the School of Education’s leadership team as the Portfolio Leader for Teaching and Learning, and, in this role, she facilitates internal and external professional accreditation of USC’s teacher education programs and works with program coordinators and lecturers in order to deliver high quality teacher education to all students. Sue is an accredited panellist for the Queensland College of Teachers and is a panel member for the accreditation of other universities’ initial teacher education program submissions. She was one of the researchers in a USC team investigating the employability needs of preservice teachers across all USC Initial Teacher Education Programs with Associate Professor Deborah Heck, Dr Peter Grainger, Dr Alison Wills and Karyn Smith.

In 2016, Sue led a research project in collaboration with Professor Shelley Dole for the North Coast Region of DET (Queensland Department of Education and Training) to evaluate the effectiveness of a school principal coaching program. She also researches in an international collaboration with Dr Mark Gibson, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus, regarding the health and wellbeing of former school principals. The findings from these research projects have been disseminated at academic conferences during 2017, and are the subject of a series of upcoming peer-reviewed journal articles to be published internationally.

Between 2014 and 2015 Sue led the PIVOTAL research into postgraduate leadership course design with A/Prof Michael Christie and Dr Wayne Graham (USC) and A/Prof Karen Noble and A/Prof Jane Summers (USQ) — a research project which was funded by a Commonwealth Government OLT (Office of Learning and Teaching) Grant. The outputs from this research can be seen on the project’s website – www.thepivotalproject.com.au As part of USC's Emerging Leaders Professional Conversations Program in 2013, Sue was also involved in a cross-disciplinary project in 2014 aimed at increasing student engagement at USC (the ZEST project), and a collaborator in the PEER research project which is an international research project investigating peer review led by A/ Prof Michael Christie (USC) and in conjunction with SUNY Fredonia, USA.

Sue's research and teaching in the field of Educational Leadership also encompasses an international dimension as she has led the International Projects Group's (IPG) Papuan Principals' programs in 2013 and 2014 at USC, and has had input into the academic leadership of and research associated with the Master Principals' Program which is part of the USC GPFD (Government Partnerships for Development) Project "Increasing Education Capacity in Papua, Indonesia" funded by the Commonwealth Government.

In the eight years that Sue has been in higher education, she has published articles in a number of high quality, peer-reviewed journals including Educational Management, Administration and Leadership (Q1) and has presented her research at Australian and international conferences such as: HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia) 2015, Melbourne; the 22nd International Conference for Learning (The Learner), Madrid, 2015; the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), UK, 2016 and 2017; and ACEL (the Australian Council for Educational Leadership) 2017.


Research areas

  • school leadership
  • school culture
  • celebrating the arts in education
  • teacher education
  • pedagogy
  • program design
  • student engagement
  • peer review
  • school partnerships

Teaching areas

  • EDU214 Teaching Arts in the Early Years
  • EDU337/ EDU725 Teaching Junior Secondary Arts 1
  • EDU338/ EDU727 Teaching Senior Secondary Arts 1
  • EDU705 Leadership for Learning Communities
  • EDU726 Teaching Junior Secondary Arts 2
  • EDU728 Teaching Senior Secondary Arts 2
  • EDU765 Professional Experience: Orientation to the Profession

Susan Simon's specialist areas of knowledge include school leadership, school culture, arts in education, arts, education, teacher education.

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