Dist Prof Viviane Marcelle Joan Robinson

PhD Harvard, MA, BA


Viviane Robinson is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland and Academic Director of its Centre for Educational Leadership, which has delivered the national induction programme for new school leaders for the last 10 years. Viviane also leads the Leadership Research Group at the Faculty, which carries out research that covers a broad range of issues in school leadership, educational policy and leadership skills, particularly interpersonal leadership skills that are crucial to effective leadership.

Viviane specialises in school improvement, leadership and the relationship between research and the improvement of practice. She is the author of five books and numerous chapters and journal articles. Her latest book entitled “Student-Centred Leadership” an evidence-based account of how school leaders can make a bigger difference to student outcomes and the knowledge and skills they need to do so.

Viviane has consulted on leadership development and research to government agencies and organisations in England, Singapore, Chile, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Over the last four years she has been running professional development courses in Open-to-LearningTM and conferences on student-centred leadership in Denmark and Norway.

Viviane has received awards from national and international professional organisations including the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and the New Zealand Secondary Principals Association. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association for sustained excellence in educational research. Over the last year, Viviane has been made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit for her services to education and won the University of Auckland’s Vice Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Research Commercialization. She has also been appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Education as an expert adviser to the OECD conference on the education profession and assigned as one of nine national judges of the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

Current appointment

  • Visiting Professor, London Institute of Education, University of London

Research | Current

As an organisational psychologist working in the field of education, I pursue a research programme which is concerned with organisational learning and leadership, school effectiveness and improvement, and research methodology. My research programme on leadership addresses four central questions:

  1. What is educational leadership and how is it distinctive?
  2. What are the direct and indirect impacts of leadership on student outcomes and how do these impacts occur?
  3. What leadership capabilities are required for making a greater impact on student outcomes?
  4. What types of intervention are effective in developing these capabilities?


Best Evidence Synthesis: School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying what works and why

Teaching | Current

  • Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Organisational Learning and Improvement
  • School Organisation and Management


  • Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership (PGDipEdLdr)
  • Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLdr)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision areas: Leadership, administration and organisational and school effectiveness.

Preferred methodology: Mixed methods and qualitative.

Masters and Doctoral (EdD, PhD)


  • 2014 Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit for services to education
  • 2014 Vice Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Research Commercialization
  • 2014 OECD Conference. Appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Education as an expert adviser to this conference of 25 education ministers, their secretaries of education and their heads of teacher unions http://www.istp2014.org/
  • 2014   Appointed one of nine national judges of the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards http://www.pmawards.education.govt.nz/
  • Outstanding Paper Award Winner with Dr Deidre Le Fevre at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012 for Principals' capability in challenging conversations: the case of parental complaints published in the Journal of Educational Administration
  • Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, 2011-
  • William J. Davis Award, 2009. Presented by the University Council on Educational Administration for most outstanding paper published in the Educational Administration Quarterly during the preceding volume year. View award citation
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Educational Administration, Highly Commended Award, 2009
  • Leadership in Education Award Presented by Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand, 2008
  • Headley Beare Award, Australian Council for Educational Leaders, 2007
  • William Walker Oration to Australian Council for Educational Leaders and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, October 2007
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Educational Administration, 2005 Best Paper in Volume Year
  • Literati Club Award for Excellence, 2002, The International Journal of Educational Management, Outstanding Paper

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Membership of Professional Associations

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • New Zealand Association for Research in Education

Member of the Editorial Boards of:

  • Educational Administration Quarterly (USA)
  • Educational Management, Administration and Leadership (UK)
  • Leadership and Policy in Schools (Canada)
  • Journal of Educational Administration (Hong Kong)
  • Journal of Research in Leadership Education (USA) 

Reviewer (2008-present)

  • American Journal of Education (USA)
  • American Educational Research Journal (USA)
  • Leading and Managing (AUS) 
  • Educational Administration Quarterly (USA)
  • Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (USA)
  • Educational Management and Administration (UK)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Contact details

Primary location

Level 5, Room 514
New Zealand

Web links