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Focus on educational access recognised through Queen's Birthday Honours

Published:13 June 2017

Professor Denise Wood AM

Significant service to education in the field of participation, inclusion and access has earned Professor Denise Wood recognition in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The CQUniversity academic, researcher and practitioner is now a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Denise is Engaged Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Regional Advancement of  Learning, Equity, Access and Participation (LEAP) at CQUniversity.

She also holds an adjunct senior research fellow position at the University of South Australia and (prior to her appointment at CQUni) was Associate Head of School (Learning and Teaching) at UniSA.

Her qualifications include a PhD (Education), Master of Educational Technology, Master of Design, Graduate Certificate in Flexible Learning, Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work.

Prior to beginning her academic career, Denise worked for some 20 years in the disability services sector as Director of Research at what is now called Novita Children’s Services (formerly Crippled Children’s Association of SA) and then as a CEO of a not-for-project Commonwealth and State funded organisation providing VET training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

During her time working in the disability sector, Denise was an invited member of the Information Policy Advisory Council, a Ministerial Committee reporting to the then Commonwealth Minister of Telecommunications. She has since served on several Advisory Boards and Committees focusing on improving access and participation of underserved communities.

Denise’s research focuses on strategies for improving learning outcomes and increasing social and educational participation.

She has been awarded more than $6 million in research income over the last seven years, focusing on participatory research involving people from special equity groups, especially young people with disabilities and those in regional and remote locations.

Denise has also been a Chief Investigator on three national South African-funded projects and was an Adjunct Professor at University of the Western Cape from 2012-2015.

She has also been a regular presenter for the past eight years on the Vison Australia Radio Leisure Link program, reporting on new and emerging technologies for assisting people with disabilities.

The prolific academic has authored/co-authored  more than 120 peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters, conference papers and government reports, and she is a co-editor of two tier one books focusing on the affordances of educational technologies for supporting authentic learning and improving learning outcomes. She has an extensive list of international and national invited keynote plenary presentations.

Denise has been a long-serving Associate Editor of the Higher Education Research and Development Journal and peer reviewer of several high ranked journals. She has also been an assessor for the Australian Government’s learning and teaching grants and awards, and is a current expert reviewer for the South African National Research Foundation and the United States National Science Foundation.

Her work in innovative teaching and learning, and accessibility solutions for students from special equity groups, has been recognised with several awards including an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, an SA Great Award for services to a specialist field (disability), the inaugural 2010 Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell award for Telecommunications and Disability and several University of South Australia awards including teaching excellence, equity, community engagement and an Education, Arts and Social Sciences Distinguished Academic Achievement Award.

Since arriving in Rockhampton a few years ago, Professor Wood has helped CQUni step up its commitment to engage with regional communities and students to improve access and participation in higher education, and student learning outcomes.