Emeritus Professor Graeme Vivian Aitken

EdD, MA(Hons) Geography, DipTchg


In his role as Director of Educational Initiatives Professor Graeme Aitken chairs the university's Academic Units and Disciplinary Area External Review panels, and contributes to university teaching and learning projects.  He is also the sponsor of the University's STEM Online NZ progrmme that supports the teaching of STEM subjects at senior secondary school.

Professor Graeme Aitken was formerly Dean of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland, a position he held from July 2008 to December 2017. Prior to his appointment as Dean Professor Aitken held positions in the University as Director Secondary Teacher Education, Director of the University of Auckland Principals Centre, Co-Head School of Education, and, following the amalgamation with the Auckland College of Education, as Associate Dean (Academic) and Deputy Dean in the Faculty Education.  Professor Aitken holds the degrees of BA and MA(Hons) in Geography and a doctorate in Education (EdD).

Research | Current

  • Curriculum history, development and design especially in relation to social studies, history and geography
  • Student conceptual development in social sciences
  • Initial teacher education programme design and evaluation
  • Nature and evaluation of teaching effectiveness

Recent publications

Sinnema, C. E., Meyer, F., & Aitken, G. (2017). Capturing the complex, situated and active nature of teaching through inquiry-oriented standards for teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 68(1), 9-27. doi:10.1177/0022487116668017

Sinnema, C., & Aitken, G. V. (2015). Teaching as Inquiry. In M. Hill, & D. Fraser (Eds.), The Professional Practice of Teaching in New Zealand (5th ed., pp. 79-97). Cengage. Retrieved from http://www.cengagebrain.co.nz/shop/isbn/9780170350716

Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Ludlow, L., Grudnoff, L., & Aitken, G. (2014). The challenge and promise of complexity theory for teacher education  research. Teachers College Record, 116(5), 1-38. Retrieved from http://www.tcrecord.org/library/abstract.asp?contentid=17415

Aitken, G. V., & Sinnema, C. (2014). Teachers' use of research to improve practice: Why should we, how could we?. In A. M. St. George, S. Brown, & J. O'Neill (Eds.), Facing the big questions in teaching: Purpose, power and learning (2nd ed., pp. 146-153). North Shore, NZ: Cengage Learning.

Aitken, G., & Tatebe, J. (2014). Recognition of Teaching Excellence: a discussion paper. Retrieved from http://www.universitas21.com/article/educational/details/273/recognition-of-teaching-excellence

Sinnema, C., & Aitken, G. V. (2013). Emerging international trends in curriculum. In M. Priestley, & G. J. J. Biesta (Eds.), Reinventing the curriculum: New trends in curriculum policy and practice (pp. 141-164). London: Bloomsbury. Retrieved from http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/reinventing-the-curriculum-9781441137647/

Aitken, G., Sinnema, C. E., & Meyer, F. (2013). Graduating teacher standards: Limitations and a way forward. In European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2013:  Creativity and Innovation in Educational Research. Istanbul, Turkey. Retrieved from http://www.eera-ecer.de/ecer-programmes/conference/8/contribution/21156/

Ell, F. R., Cochran-Smith, M., Grudnoff, A., Ludlow, L., & Aitken, G. (2013). Charting relationships between teacher education and student learning: Maps of a complex system. In American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2013. San Francisco. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/Portals/38/docs/Annual_Meeting/2013%20Annual%20Meeting/Final%20Printed%20Program/12%20-%20program%20schedule.pdf

Sinnema, C. E., Aitken, G., & Dale, H. (2012). Te Putoi Ako Totika I Roto I Te Tikanga a Iwi. Belley: International Academy of Education. International Bureau of Education. Retrieved from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/Educational_Practices/EdPractices_23ma.pdf

Sinnema, C. E., & Aitken, G. (2011). Teaching as inquiry in the New Zealand curriculum: origins and implementation. In J. Parr, H. Hedges, & S. May (Eds.), Changing trajectories of teaching and learning (pp. 29-48). Wellington, N.Z.: NZCER Press. Retrieved from http://mebooks.co.nz/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=411

Aitken, G. V., & Hussain, B. (2009). Current practices for assuring the quality of teaching in Universitas 21 (U21) member universities in Australia and New Zealand: Implications for Pakistan.. In A. Raouf, R. H. Qureshi, & N. Ahmad (Eds.), Quality in higher education: Challenges and practices (pp. 55-75). Lahore, Pakistan: University of the Punjab.

Aitken, G. V., & Sinnema, C. E. L. (2008). Effective pedagogy in social sciences/tikanga ā iwi: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Ministry of Education. View the Best Evidence Synthesis report


Areas of expertise

  • Curriculum design
  • Pedagogy
  • Teaching effectiveness


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 200
New Zealand

Web links