2024 Conference - Waikato University 25th - 27th November - call for abstracts now open


Education occurs in a range of contexts and extends throughout the life course. As learners move out of the compulsory/schooling sector, education pathways and contexts diversify significantly, and global, marketised, and political forces take on new significance. Learners, meanwhile, remain diverse, including in terms of their backgrounds, interests, needs, learning experiences, and motivations for engaging in adult or higher education; equity issues remain stark in a range of contexts; and tensions are highlighted between the roles of disciplinary (professional, vocational, academic …) expert and pedagogical practitioner. 

While many (though not all) education researchers are employed in tertiary education settings and thus are in the business of educating adults and/or conducting higher education, this special interest group (SIG) specifically considers research into and on adult and higher education. The SIG focuses on topics and contexts including:

  • Academia/academic careers

  • Adult education

  • Community education

  • International education (within the tertiary sector)

  • Higher education

  • Māori, Pacific, and other Indigenous approaches to passing down and protecting cultural knowledge (among adults)

  • Policies, policy enactment, and policy impact across adult and higher education settings

  • Tertiary education

  • Universities

  • Vocational education and training

  • Workplace/workforce education and training

A complementary NZARE SIG is dedicated to the specific topic of Teaching and Teacher Education. From 2013-2023, the latter topic was combined with the adult and higher education topics above under the umbrella of a single NZARE SIG (“Adult and Tertiary Education”). However, at the 2023 NZARE AGM, a proposal to restructure this group into two distinct SIGs was ratified. The primary reasons for this move were (a) the large number of NZ researchers focused on teaching and teacher education, and given this, (b) the need to ensure researchers focused on other aspects of adult and higher education had a clear space to connect and explore their distinct interests. The Adult and Higher Education SIG and the Teaching and Teacher Education SIG will from time to time come together (e.g. to host joint events) but also offer dedicated spaces for their respective communities of interest to meet, connect, and collaborate.

The Adult and Higher Education SIG will exist as a dedicated stream within the 2024 NZARE conference, allowing researchers to submit their abstracts to this stream and (subject to peer review) present in dedicated Adult and Higher Education-focused sessions. The SIG will also seek to organise one or more SIG events each year. These events will sometimes be for this SIG alone and will sometimes involve partnership with one or more other NZARE SIGs.

2024 Convenor

Dr Katrina McChesney

I am a senior lecturer in education at the University of Waikato. My research is focused on inclusive higher (particularly postgraduate and doctoral) education. I am currently co-leading a project on doctoral research by distance, collaborating on an investigation of how parents are represented in universities' online materials, and exploring the importance, principles, and practices of trauma-informed postgraduate supervision. Each of these lines of research reflects my commitment to inclusive, socially just, person-centred higher education. I teach concepts of teaching and learning within initial teacher education programmes as well as postgraduate research methods and educational leadership courses at the Tauranga campus and online. I supervise a number of postgraduate students and support our wider cohort of Masters students in education across Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. I received Division of Education Teaching Excellence Awards in 2019 and 2023, and was nominated for a further such award in 2021. I currently serve on the National Council of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and founded and co-edit the association's blog, Ipu Kererū. I am co-Editor in Chief of Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, an Emerald international journal, and serve on the editorial boards of Learning Environments Research and the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. In the wider community, I am Chair of the Board of Trustees at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Tauranga, New Zealand. With a team of colleagues, I co-host the Doctoral Research by Distance website and Facebook group, both of which relate to my research in this area as well as my passion for inclusive doctoral education that supports researcher success and wellbeing. I enjoy supervision but have very limited capacity at this time for further students and will only consider projects aligned strongly with my current areas of research.