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 primarily teaches primary and secondary curriculum methods courses in the area of science education. She also teaches postgraduate courses and supervises masters and doctoral students.  

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 was 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 614: Teaching and Learning Science 2

EDCURSEC 687: Studies in Curriculum and Pedagogy

EDCURRIC 704: Teaching for Scientific Literacy

EDPROF 704: Advance Study of Education Practice

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


 Chemical literacy and green chemistry education in Indonesia (supervising with A/P Bev France)

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

Vietnamese English-as-a-Foreign-Language Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices about Intercultural Communicative Competence (co-supervisor, Dr Christine Biebricher)

The effects of English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) students’ knowledge about the elements in argumentation on their writing.  (co-supervisor Prof Lawrence Zhang).

Master of Education


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

Frauke Meyer (2010). 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)

Master of Education


Teaching for scientific literacy in the primary education sector: How self-efficacious teachers have got to where they are. (supervising with AP Helen Dixon).

Factors that influence science and non-science option choices in Year 13 at New Zealand secondary schools: Students’ Voices. (supervising with Dr Aaron Wilson)

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)

Faculty rep on Senate

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;  Learning Environments Research

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • 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
  • 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. 10.1177/000494410404800204
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mavis Haigh

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 231
New Zealand