Update from the President – July 2015

A great deal has been happening with SPERA and I am happy to highlight these activities in the July edition of our newsletter.

This year has heralded the introduction of our online journal – that is right, the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education (AIJRE) has gone online and our first edition was released on Wednesday 20 May 2015. We are fortunate in having an effective and efficient editorial team. Tania Broadley, Aaron Drummond, Paula Jervis-Tracey, Jodie Kline, Sue Ledger, Elaine Sharplin and Di Gardiner have all worked hard to transition the journal from a hard copy to an electronic one and I thank them for their diligence. It is no easy feat. If you have not yet received your AIJRE access details – that is, your unique logon and password information – please contact me so that I can ensure that you receive it.

The second activity in which your Executive has been engaged is the development of the new SPERA website. After a tender process, we engaged the services of WA-based design company, Lodestone. The new website is mobile-responsive, search engine optimised, and social media integrated, providing an improved user experience.

Alongside the website redevelopment project was the development of a new logo for SPERA. This new logo is featured in this newsletter and it is intended that a range of colours be used to colour code the various portfolios or sections of SPERA. For example, the sky blue version will be used for core SPERA business and administrative aspects, while an ochre version now represents the Australian Rural Education Awards (AREA). The new colour palette was cleverly derived from a photograph of rural Australia, building the landscape into the SPERA brand.

Jodie Kline, our 2015 conference co-ordinator, is working hard on developing a stimulating program for this year’s conference. This year our conference will be held at Deakin University’s Waterfront Campus in Geelong, Victoria, from Wednesday 4 to Friday 6 November. I am looking forward to catching up with you all in person.

There many wonderful and innovative things relating to rural education which are taking place throughout our country and some of these are featured in this newsletter. I encourage you to keep the good news stories coming as I want to help you to celebrate your successful projects.

Why not consider nominating an innovative project for one of the categories of the Australian Rural Education Awards? As my school was awarded an AREA in 2011, I know the buzz that results from receiving this acknowledgement. Actually, I attended my first SPERA conference in 2011 to collect the award on behalf of my school and I haven’t missed a SPERA National Conference or an International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education (ISFIRE) since that time. The 2011 conference was held at Flinders University and was organised by Professor John Halsey. I couldn’t believe my luck; there I was meeting and having coffee with my heroes, the people whose articles I had read and admired – people like John Halsey, Colin Boylan, Elaine Sharplin, Simone White, Jo-Anne Reid, Maxine Cooper, Graeme Lock and Bill Green.

SPERA has amazing people as its members and they are people who do extraordinary things for education and rural education in particular. Two other such people are other heroes of mine, Professor Sue Trinidad and Dr Sue Ledger. Both ladies do amazing jobs and have provided me with terrific support ever since I joined SPERA. They epitomise everything that is so wonderful about our organisation.

Congratulations to Professor Sue Trinidad
Professor Sue Trinidad was recently presented with two awards in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education and for her continued contribution to her professional teachers’ association. Sue was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at the Australian Government’s 2014 Office for Learning and Teaching Australian Awards for University Teaching. Citations recognise and reward the diverse contributions made by individuals and teams to the quality of student learning. These awards are awarded to those people who have made a significant contribution to the quality of student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period.

Sue was also awarded an Outstanding Professional Service Award at the Professional Teaching Council of Western Australia’s (PTCWA) 2014 Presentation Ceremony. PTCWA awards for Outstanding Professional Service recognise the contribution to education in Western Australia, in a voluntary capacity to their professional teachers’ association.

Congratulations Sue, we are proud of you and thank you for your magnificent contribution to our profession!

Congratulations to Dr Sue Ledger and Murdoch University
Teacher educators play a significant role in society for they not only ensure the continuation of our profession, but by training teachers they also directly impact on the continuation of every other profession. Congratulations to SPERA Vice President, Dr Sue Ledger, and Murdoch University who were awarded the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) School/University Research Award 2015 at the recent ATEA conference. Murdoch was presented the award in recognition of their commitment in providing high quality rural internships. Sue and Murdoch University, along with O’Connor Primary School, were awarded a SPERA Category 3 citation in the Australian Rural Education Awards in 2014 in recognition of the rural practicums and internships.

Well done Sue, we are proud of your contribution to our profession and thank you for your sustained work in providing quality rural teaching experiences!