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Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

President's Report 1998

Gary Partington

1. Membership

The ongoing maintenance of membership of the Institute is reassuring. Much of our membership comes from higher degree students, most of whom are working full time while they study part time. With all the changes going on in schools, it is pleasing to see that sufficient students regard participation in the dissemination sufficiently highly to join the Institute.

We need to focus on our core membership in the forthcoming year to ensure they get value for money out of belonging to WAIER. The journal and preferential fees for the forum are the key features of their benefits. In an education sector with some forty thousand workers, a membership of 100 or so is not significant. We seem to be limited to university academics and teachers/administrators with experience in research. Increased membership can come from securing more members among academic staff of the universities - difficult because of the cutback in staff - and through gaining a higher profile for research in the schools.

2. Forum

There is no doubt that the Forum was the high point of the year. There was universal agreement that the excellent organisation, the congenial venue and the range of quality papers contributed to an excellent Forum. Particular thanks for the success of the Forum must go to the organisers, particularly Deidra Young, John Carrigg, Beverley Webster and Marguerite Cullity who put in a sterling effort. There was a team spirit throughout the Forum, however, and this was due to the efforts of all members of the executive.

The success of the venue has resulted in a decision to hold the Forum at the same venue in 1999. We may need to review charges for participation but the general format was effective. The awards were well received and the new medals have been most effective, particularly those mounted in display frames.

The decision to make the papers available on the web has been an ambitious one which really needs additional resources if it is to be done expeditiously. Despite their best intentions, Beverley and Tony Fetherston might find the size of the task means that external assistance is essential. Perhaps this is an area we need to address in the coming year.

3. Research Ands

A diversity of Research Ands have been held this year. Attendance has varied according to a range of factors that should be researched to determine their contribution to the numbers attending. The year commenced with a session presented by
Roger Slee: February
Geoff Masters: March
Karl O'Callaghan: April
Gary McCulloch: July (In association with UWA)
Mairtin Mac an Ghaill: August
Peter Coleman: November
The range and quality of the presentations was very pleasing and met the needs of many researchers. The need for specific research topics which address the needs of researchers is an area that could have been addressed by the conduct of a Research and.... Possibly in 1999 we can look at offering one or more on key issues in the conduct of research, such as in methods of data processing, paradigms of inquiry or the directions of educational research.

4. Journal

The Issues in Educational Research was a problem in 1998, mainly because of issues associated with funding. After extensive discussions with the business manager, John McCormick, in NSW, it appears that these issues may now be resolved and we can look forward to a less problematic future for the journal. Particular thanks go to Judy MacCallum and Deidra Young for their untiring efforts in resolving the problems related to finances for the journal.

The need to maintain the production of issues that are on time is essential, and the editor, Sid Bourke, is aware of this. He has one year to go in his editorship, and it is essential that we search for a new editor to replace him well before the changeover at the end of 1999.

We need to get all the WA university libraries to subscribe to the journal and to ensure our students publish in it. Also, there is room for us to publish there as well. It has been accepted as a quality journal on the Australian scene. Now it needs to be more widely disseminated.

5. Executive

The executive has been diligent in maintaining the work of the Institute. The great efforts of Deidra to keep the agenda flowing and her keen eye for detail has ensured that the Institute is richer now than 12 months ago. In particular, her work on ensuring the constitution reflects the structure and process that we want has been most useful.

Also, Beverley's excellent work in maintaining the minutes has been an excellent contribution. Judy has picked up the treasury with great aplomb and has sorted out the problems with our budget and especially the journal. It is clear that we will be in a better financial position in 1999 than we were this year. It has been a pleasure to work with a great team this year.

6. Future

A good association meets the needs of its members. Our goal is the dissemination of research. We have several vehicles for this: the Forum, the Research ands, and the journal. We need to keep on target with these, endeavour to get more members, and more attendance at functions, so that we can do a better job of them. For 1999, let us try for some interesting Research ands, some exciting topics at the Forum, and all try to get a postgraduate student to present at the Forum and publish in the journal.

Dr Gary Partington

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