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School of Education

Dr Kerry-Ann O'Sullivan

Dr Kerry-Ann O'SullivanTitle: Senior Lecturer
Qualifications: PhD (Macquarie), B.A. Dip.Ed. (Macquarie)
Phone: 02 9850 8702
Office: 29 Wallys Walk (X5B) 364



Kerry-Ann is the Associate Head of Department: Learning and Teaching.

Kerry-Ann joined Macquarie in 1999 as a former Head of English who had enjoyed teaching English, History and Drama. The words, "I touch the future - I teach" spoken by Christa McAuliffe, the teacher aboard the ill-fated space shuttle, Challenger, encapsulate the motivating desire behind Kerry-Ann's teaching philosophy.

In a core unit, EDUC260: Language, Literacy and Learning, Kerry-Ann focuses on literacy in its various modes and evolving forms. The repertoire of practices in English language and literacies are viewed as a foundation of learning. Curriculum, pedagogical development and professional identity, also key areas of Kerry-Ann's teaching and research, are explored in her postgraduate unit EDCN813: Advanced Pedagogy, and in the Education capstone unit, EDUC399: Professional Capability: Policy, Theory, Pedagogy.  

Kerry-Ann is an elected member of the University's Academic Senate and a member of the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee and is a Departmental representative on the Faculty Standards, Quality Assurance Committee and the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.


  • 2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2009 Vice Chancellor's Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2006 NSW Institute for Educational Research Award for Excellence in Educational Research
  • 2005 Vice Chancellor's Commendation for a doctoral thesis of Exceptional Merit
  • 2003 Macquarie University Outstanding Teacher Award

Kerry-Ann's research program is unified by an interest in English and multiliteracies education; the representations of discursive perspectives and identity constructions of learners and teachers; and the enhancement of pedagogy and learning within a changing curriculum landscape. She has an ongoing research focus on the ways in which subject English changes over time, the nature of its relationship to curriculum policy and decision-making, and the implications for professional learning.

Current Research

Kerry-Ann's research investigates the impact of educational policy and curriculum change on pedagogy and student learning. She is interested in the discourses and pedagogies of English and multiliteracies education and in enriching students' learning, especially in times of change. This is particularly relevant with the current emphasis on standardisation and testing, and the narrowing of curricula that occurs as a consequence. She has an ongoing interest in the nature of curriculum decision-making, in particular, the text selections for English, and the discourses surrounding these decisions.

"Voices from the contested territories of English and literacy education in times of change" is Kerry-Ann's current project, to be conducted during an external research fellowship in the second half of 2017. This research investigates the ways experienced English and literacy educators seek to find a balance between external expectations, contemporary pressures, professional aspirations, and personal values and involves participants in New South Wales and in England.

Kerry-Ann is fascinated by the identity constructions of educators and learners and the ways these are represented in different forms. My Education: My Future is exploring the ways graduates see themselves, the professional identities they construct and their visions for the future as they emerge from their university studies.

In a recently completed project Kerry-Ann was the Chief Investigator and Leader of the Future Pedagogies project, working in partnership with the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre and the NSW Department of Education. This research explored how educators develop, employ and evaluate pedagogies to meet the evolving needs of their school communities. In particular, the study examined the relationship between pedagogical change and evidence-based practice.


Community Outreach

Kerry-Ann is a Director on the governing Board of Brigidine College, St.Ives, and a member of the National Educational Advisory Board for the Bell Shakespeare Company. As a representative on the National English Advisory Committee, she participated in the development of the Australian Curriculum for English F-10 and advised on the Senior Syllabuses. Kerry-Ann is an expert consultant on matters of curriculum and assessment for the NESA- New South Wales Education Standards Authority and the NSW Department of Education, and she was the Chief Examiner of NSW HSC English for the Standard and Advanced Courses, 2001-2006.

As an education advisor to The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature, Kerry-Ann developed the Anthology's accompanying Teaching Guide. She peer reviews for a number of journals including Teacher Development, English in Australia, English Teaching: Practice and Critique and the journal of the Institute of Educational Research. Kerry-Ann is an honorary member of the Arts, English and Literacy Education Research Network (AELE), Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney.

Recent Publications




2016   O'Sullivan, K-A. Contested Territories: subject English, teacher education, and professional standards in Australia.  English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 15, 1, 55-73.
2016   Portelli, L. & O'Sullivan, K-A. (2016). Teachers' perceptions of the influence of assessment on their teaching of Year 9 English. English in Australia, 51,1, 71-80.
2016   O'Sullivan, K-A. (2016). Capturing Poetry in J. Aquilina (ed.) Tadpoles in the Torrens. Poems for young readers. Teachers' Edition. (p.123).  South Australia: Wakefield Press.
2016   Stevenson, M., Hedberg, J.G., O'Sullivan, K-A., & Howe, C. (in press 2016). "Leading learning: the role of school leaders in supporting continuous professional development", Professional Development in Education
2015   Stevenson, M., Hedberg, J.G., O'Sullivan, K-A., & Howe, C. (2015) Development to learning: semantic shifts in professional autonomy and school leadership. Educational Media International, 52,3, 173-187.
2014   O'Sullivan, K-A, (2014). The online identities and discourses of teenagers who blog about books. In A. Goodwyn, L. Reid, and C. Durrant (eds.). International Perspectives on Teaching English in a Globalised World. (pp.79-92). Oxon and New York: Routledge.



O'Sullivan, K.A. (2012). Books and blogs: Promoting reading achievement in digital contexts. In J. Manuel & S. Brindley (Eds.)Teenagers and reading: Literary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices, South Australia: Wakefield Press/AATE, pp. 191-209.

2012   Mackenzie, E., McMaugh, A. & O'Sullivan, K-A. (2012). Perceptions of Primary to Secondary School Transitions: Challenge or Threat? Issues in Educational Research, 22 (3), 298-314.



O'Sullivan, K-A. (2010). The e is for english website: Supporting a new professional community. English in Australia, 45(3): 21-30.



O'Sullivan, K-A. (2008). Seeking the self: professional identity and the teaching of English. Illuminations: Journal of the Arts, English, Literacy Education Research Network, 1(1): 44-54.



O'Sullivan, K-A. (2008). Metaphoric patterns in the representation of preservice English teachers' professional identities. International Journal of Educational Practice and Theory. 30(1): 93-106.



O'Sullivan, K-A., Carroll, K., & Cavanagh, M. (2008). Changing teachers: Syllabuses, subjects, and selves. Issues in Educational Research, 18(2): 167-181.



Lane, R., Kleeman, G., & O'Sullivan, K-A. (2007). Mega Cities: Infrastructure deficits and the implications for public health. Asian Social Science, 11(3).



O'Sullivan, K-A. (2007). Unmasking the professional identities of English teachers. International Journal of Educational Practice and Theory. 29(1): 5-16.



O'Sullivan, K-A., & Gibbs, D. (2006). Examining e-texts in English examinations. English In Australia, 41(1): 31-36.



Gibbs, D., & O'Sullivan, K-A. (2005). Thinking outside the square: Using LAMS to teach a concept.  Curriculum and Teaching, 20(2): 41-57.



Gibbs, D., Mullins, T., & O'Sullivan, K-A. (2005). Reinventing English: Text lists and curriculum change. In J Zajda. (Ed.). International Handbook on Globalization, Education and Policy Research Vol. 2. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 567-583.






2016 School of Education Teaching Enhancement Fund Enhancing Personal Preparation for Literacy Skills $3,155
2014 School of Education Teaching Enhancement Fund Expectations of the multiliteracy practices of undergraduates in Education $2,500
2010 ACES Teaching Development Grant e is for english website $12,500


Macquarie University New Staff Grant

What are the boys doing in HSC English?



Macquarie University Research Degree Release Scheme

Macquarie University Research Degree Release Scheme



Australian Centre for Educational Studies seeding grant

Who's reading what now? Irish and Australian English HSC Text List Choices.