Ken Appleton initially qualified as a primary school teacher, and spent seven years teaching in large and small schools around Brisbane, Queensland. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry part time at the University of Queensland, and was seconded to the then Kedron Park Teachers’ College to lecture in science. Shortly after, he was seconded to the Curriculum Branch of the Queensland Education Department as chair of the Primary Science Syllabus Committee. His two-year tenure ended with the establishment of the Primary Science Project that led to the new 1979 Queensland Primary Science Syllabus, the in-service materials SCIM, and the Sourcebook teacher guides. In 1977, he commenced at the then Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education as a lecturer in science education located in Rockhampton, Queensland.
He completed his Master of Education degree over the next few years, and held several administrative positions over the next 25 years, including Head of School and Chair of the Academic Board. With the Capricornia Institute on track to become a University, he completed his PhD, mostly part time, in 1994. His research interests included children’s learning in science and pre-service science teacher education, but his primary interests centred on in-service science teacher education. He attended ASERA for the first time in 1975, and missed only a few meetings until his retirement. He and John Dekkers hosted ASERA in Rockhampton in 1988, which unfortunately coincided with a national pilots’ strike. He found ASERA to be a place where his developing research skills were encouraged, and was a fertile place for discussing ideas and research projects. He says he owes a considerable debt to people like David Symington and Keith Skamp who were valued colleagues that he looked forward to meeting. ASERA was also where he met international researchers such as Roger Osborne and Rosalind Driver, going on to take sabbatical periods with them. He served on the Editorial Board of RISE over many years, and contributed regularly to this and other journals.
I arrived at the University Waikato as one of the first appointments to the new School of Science in 1969. I set up teaching in Chemistry, focussing on first year and organic chemistry, and became involved in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Research, eventually directing that research group (starting in 1985). A major activity of SERU and the SMER Centre has been contract research for the Department of Education, now the Ministry of Education.
I was co-Director and then Director of the major LISP(Energy) contract, Director of LISP(Teaching) in its preliminary year, and then Director of the project on Learning in Technology Education.
I spanned chemistry and SMER for a number of years until I was made Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic), working with Wilf Malcolm and Bryan Gould before retiring. I had a long interaction with the NZ Ministry of Education over curriculum matters, writing syllabuses for senior chemistry, and being centrally involved in the development of the new Science and Technology curricula. The research from the Centre informed this curriculum development process. An interest in drama resulted in involvement in the foundation of Phoenix Players – an early staff-student drama group, and later acting in the Summer Shakespeare productions. I have been much involved over the last 10 years with the Alumni Revues.
Léonie Rennie is Emeritus Professor in Science and Technology Education at Curtin University. She has long been involved in science education outside of school, including a leading role in several nationally funded programs relating to raising science awareness in the community.
Her scholarly publications include over 200 refereed journal articles, book chapters and monographs, most recently co-author of Knowledge that Counts in a Global Community: Exploring the Contribution of Integrated Curriculum (Routledge) and co-edited Integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: Issues, reflections and ways forward (Taylor & Francis). She authored the definitive chapter on learning science in informal contexts in the Handbook of Research in Science Education. She has delivered keynote addresses to audiences in Australia, Brazil, Brunei, India, South Africa, Sweden, the US and the Netherlands on her research and she currently serves on the editorial boards of Research in Science Education, Studies in Science Education, and the International Journal of Science Education (Part B: Communication and Public Engagement). In 2009, she received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award from the US-based National Association for Research in Science Teaching.
Peter Fensham is Emeritus Professor of science education at Monash University, an honour bestowed on him when he retired after 25 years as Professor of Science Education, the first such appointee in Australia.
He has been involved with science teachers in every state, and in 1971 was the first nationally appointed President of ASTA. He has long time experience in serving on curriculum committees and reviews about many aspects of science education, and served as Patron of the Science Teacher Association of Victoria in the early 2000s.
In 1998 he was awarded the Distinguished Researcher Award of the North American Association for Research in Science Teaching.
He has worked in many overseas countries, both developed and developing, and in 2003 was National Visiting Professor at Kobe University in Japan. He served on the TIMSS Advisory Group for Science and has been a member of the Science Expert Group of the OECD’s PISA project since its inception.
At present he is an Adjunct Professor at QUT and was appointed at the end of 2003 as Science Education Ambassador for Queensland.
Richard Gunstone is Emeritus Professor of Science and Technology Education at Monash University. His first involvement with ASERA was the 1974 ASERA conference, in his first year of being a staff member at Monash and after 12 years of high school teaching of Physics, Science and Mathematics.
His research studies have included explorations of alternative conceptions, conceptual change and metacognition (including in tertiary level sciences and engineering); the nature of the intended science curriculum and the ways in which the complexity and contexts of ‘real-world’ applications of science can be validly incorporated; assessment and its interactions with curriculum and learning (particularly in science and in considerations of ‘relevance’ in science). He is a past organiser of an ASERA conference (1984, with the late Jeff Northfield), he was a member of the first ASERA Board after incorporation of the Association in 1995 and remained a Board member until 2005, he has been a member of the RISE Editorial Board since some point in the 1980s (and was acting editor at times in the 1990s), and with Peter Fensham established the ASERA Pre Conference Workshops for Research Students and Early Career Staff. In 2014 he was awarded the NARST Distinguished Contributions to Research Award.