Western Australian Institute for Educational Research
President's Report 1999
1999 has been marked by a period of steady progress with WAIER. The key features were a continuation of the Forum, the Research Ands and the contribution to the production of the journal.
During the year two research ands were conducted, which is less than in previous years and perhaps was a reflection of the difficulty of obtaining information on the availability of speakers. It also points to the need for a change in direction of the Research ands. Rather than focusing on keynote addresses by visitors, it is important that we create our own research dissemination processes. To this end, the Committee has advocated a series of Research Ands on topics of interest to postgraduate researchers. It is hoped that, unlike University coursework on research methods, these will engender controversy regarding diverse methods. Local researchers and theorists will be invited to participate in these and dialogues established in order to challenge existing beliefs.
The Forum, held in August once again, was a good showcase for research being done in education in Western Australia. The venue, Notre Dame University, provides very suitable ambience for this sort of event. What was particularly pleasing was the teamwork in bringing the conference to fruition. The Committee members worked very hard to ensure the Forum flowed smoothly and delegates were able to participate fully in the presentations. The opportunity to engage web technology through the kind services of Roger Atkinson and Clare McBeath has been most effective, providing open access to the program and proceedings of the Forum.
For the 2000 Forum, there have been suggestions of alternative venues. While we should explore the possibility to make changes which will enhance the effectiveness of the Forum, perhaps we shouldn't stop at the location, but also venture to examine the timing. While it has been traditional to hold it on thelast weekend in August, perhaps we need to explore the possibility of a school holiday/university break event when teachers and postgraduate students are available to participate.
The Journal has continued to be a success for the Institutes across Australia, with editorship residing with NSW this year. Although the journal has been relatively expensive to publish, the move into on line publication promises more widespread access to the publication at a lower cost of production.
The executive of WAIER has worked well to ensure the continued existence of the Institute. During the year, the untimely death of Michael White has removed a strong supporter of the Committee. Michael was instrumental in bringing together WAIER and ANZHES in collaboration for the forum and he will be missed.
More recently, the withdrawal of Beverley Webster as minutes secretary is to be greatly regretted. Beverley has done an excellent job of keeping the minutes and ensuring the business of the executive has been effected. It is to be hoped she will remain as a committee member.
For 2000, it is important that we engage new members on the executive to carry out the tasks that exist. We can expect a fruitful year in 2000 and the participation of a strong committee to support the activities we will promote is desirable.
Dr Gary Partington