Dr Gillian Ward

ScEdD, MEd (EdAdmin) Hons, BSc


Dr Gillian Ward is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy and is currently the Associate Head of School: Postgraduate within the School. Gillian teaches primary and secondary curriculum methods courses in the area of science education. She has also taught on foundation programmes and postgraduate courses.

Her research interests centre on the professional learning and experiences of teachers. There are two strands of interest. One is within science education, and the other concerns postgraduate/higher education. Within her research publications and presentations she has used both qualitative and mixed methods approach.

Prior to working at the University of Auckland Gillian taught in coeducational and single sex secondary schools in New Zealand. Gillian has been a head of department (chemistry) and a dean across all levels of the secondary school.  

Research | Current

  • Science and Chemistry Education
  • Secondary School Education
  • Postgraduate/Higher Education
  • Professional Learning of teachers (experienced and those in initial teacher education)
  • Attitudes and beliefs about science
  • Nature of science
  • The work lives of early career teachers in secondary schools
  • Qualitative methods and mixed methods

Teaching | Current

EDCURRIC 105: Science Education Primary

EDCURSEC 616: Teaching Chemistry Education

EDCURSEC 615: Teaching and Learning Science 3

Postgraduate supervision

Doctor of Education


Judine Ladbrook: What are Year 10 students reading out-of-school and are their choices reflected in teacher text choices and practices in the English classroom? (supervising with Prof Judy Parr)



Doctor of Philosophy


Gail Ledger: Navigating the student experience: A narrative study of the emotional, social and academic aspects of transition through university (supervising with A/P Helen Dixon)

Nosheen Shahzadi: Creativity in Chemistry Education (supervising with Prof John Morgan)

Nurul Kasyfita: Indonesian and New Zealand Chemistry teachers' understandings and use of models (supervising with A/P Bev France)



Master of Education


Kathryn Garthwaite (2012). Year 10 students’ expression of scientific literacy (supervised with A/P Bev France)

Frauke Meyer (2012). Pathways to Masters: Students choices and experiences(supervised with A/P Helen Dixon)

Christine Plank (2010). What helps and what hinders students giving evaluative feedback to their teachers? (supervised with A/P Helen Dixon)

Moira Patterson (2008). Primary teachers’ understandings of technological knowledge (supervised with Dr Brent Mawson)

Roger Shearer (2005). Perceptions of boards of trustee chairpersons and principals of the purpose, process and outcomes of the appraisal of primary school principals in New Zealand (supervised with Dr Bryan Tuck)



Master of Professional Studies in Education


Christopher Matthews: Investigating New Zealand students’ attitudes towards science (supervising with Dr Sally Birdsall)



Bachelor of Education (Teaching) (Honours)


Yvonne Ualesi (2013). Teachers’ attitudes towards teaching science in a New Zealand intermediate

Kaajal Lal (2013). What are the attitudes of year six students towards science

Lauren Hitchin (2011). Year 4 students’ attitudes towards science: A comparative study of year 4 boys’ and girls’ attitudes towards science

Kirsten McNabb (2011). Year seven students’ attitudes towards science and the main determinants


Committees/Professional groups/Services

Secretary, New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE)

Member, Faculty of Education and Social Work Postgraduate Committee

Chair, School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Postgraduate Committee

Consulting Editor, Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Reviewer, Journal of Further and Higher Education

Reviewer, Learning Environments Research

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Dixon, H., & Ward, G. (2015). The value of masters study to teachers' professional practice: Contradictory discourses within the workplace. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40 (2), 52-65. 10.14221/ajte.2015v40n2.4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Dixon
  • Ward, G., & Dixon, H. (2014). The research masters experience: The impact of efficacy and outcome expectations on enrolment and completion. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38 (2), 163-181. 10.1080/0309877X.2012.706804
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Dixon
  • Plank, C., Dixon, H., & Ward, G. (2014). Student voices about the role feedback plays in the enhancement of their learning. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39 (9), 98-110. 10.14221/ajte.2014v39n9.8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Dixon
  • Garthwaite, K., France, B., & Ward, G. (2013). The Complexity of Scientific Literacy: The development and use of a data analysis matrix. International Journal of Science Education
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bev France, Kathryn Garthwaite
  • Ward, G., & Fisher, D. L. (2013). Development and use of an instrument for assessing the department-level work environment: The department-level environment questionnaire (DLEQ). Learning Environments Research, 1-18. 10.1007/s10984-013-9126-x
  • Ward, G. (2011). Features of a positive work environment for early career teachers. set: Research Information for Teachers (2), 11-18.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/11423
  • Haigh, M., & Ward, G. (2004). Problematising practicum relationships: Questioning the 'taken for granted'. Australian Journal of Education, 48 (2), 134-148.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mavis Haigh

Contact details

Primary location

Level 2, Room 231
New Zealand