Research with Global Impact

Avondale University Partnership Alliance provides opportunities to support the university’s internationally recognised research and innovation initiatives.

Wellbeing in Schools
What is the project? From its very inception, Seventh-day Adventist Education has had a mandate to develop the whole person. Ellen White challenges teachers to see education as an expansive undertaking and a process that impacts the whole person (White, 1903, p 13).
Adventist educators have responded to this challenge in a number of ways over the years by implementing a variety of pedagogical and curriculum strategies. These have focused on leading young people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as developing the student’s character, developing social responsibility, developing physical, emotional, and social health and developing a service ethic in life (Knight, 2016).

A key recommendation from research is that schools should provide evidence-based universal mental health prevention and intervention programs for young people (Mission Australia, 2016). These programs have been informed by contemporary psychological approaches that recommended that student wellbeing is a whole of person endeavour. This research study aims to investigate the levels of student wellbeing in Adventist schools and the factors that contribute to student wellbeing.

Benefits of this research: This research project will help us further understand the many factors that impact the wellbeing of students. It will give schools an informed understanding of strategies that positively impact the wellbeing of their students.

Partnership Opportunity: There is an opportunity to support this research project by contributing to the wages of the lead researcher and research assistants and the expenses associated with a project of this size and scope.

Character Development in Students
What is the project? The Avondale Character Experience Laboratory (ACE lab) aims to develop the character of young people while they are at University so that they can be resilient future leaders and change-makers. Students in the ACE lab engage in experiences that promote connection (through social activities, mentorship and spiritual connection), challenge (through outdoor experiences) and contribution (through service activities). The project builds on Avondale’s long-term emphasis on wellbeing, which is one the University’s core values.

What is the benefit of the project?  The ACE lab supports Avondale’s mission to inspire and equip students for service. Underpinned by a research effort, the ACE Lab also informs best-practice with regards to developing the character of young people.

Partnership Opportunity: Your support of the ACE lab provides funding for high-end student experiential learning activities as well as resourcing the project with capable, caring and passionate staff.

The Anzacs and Religion Project
What is the project? This project explores:
• Anzac attitudes to religion and spirituality;
• A biography of the extraordinary life of Anzac chaplain Walter Dexter;
• A history of Anzac chaplains in World War One;
• The work of the YMCA during World War One;
• The sermons preached to the soldiers, and their reception;
• Hymns and the Anzacs

Daniel is the lead researcher in this project and one of Avondale’s most published researchers. He has published widely on Anzac themes, including 21 academic articles, 16 book chapters, 6 books, 9 It Is Written Oceania episodes, as well as many articles in newspapers and magazines. He has won a number of national and international awards for his writing.

Benefits of the research:  Anzac history is the cornerstone of the Australian identity. It is the one national narrative that unites Australians, particularly now that Australia Day is controversial over its labelling as Invasion Day.
Having a better knowledge of Anzac history allows Australians to celebrate with a richer understanding of what draws us together as a nation. Highlighting the role of Christianity in the Anzac story broadens our grasp of what the Anzacs themselves valued, and lifts the profile of faith in the public view, where it has often been overlooked.

Partnership Opportunity: There is an opportunity to support this research project by contributing to ongoing expenses associated with this project

Avondale and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

What is the Project? Avondale University has a long history of caring for our earth and its population. With the continued world focus on climate change and sustainability, we seek to further our emphasis in this area but to also align our learning and teaching, research, and community service to the United Nation Sustainability Goals (SDGs). To this end we are undertaking a longitudinal research project that seeks to document our current alignment to the SDGs and to investigate ways to further address global challenges. We want to make sure our students and staff can contribute to a society that is environmentally healthy and free of discrimination in all its forms.

Benefits of the research:  It is our hope that we can investigate, teach, and implement ways of reducing any damaging impact on our environment or on people and communities, and that we can practice the sustainable use of energy, water, and food. This research project will help Avondale assess its current level of sustainability using the SDGs as a framework. It will then help upskill all staff – both academic and professional – to further align their practices and teaching to a sustainable model. The impact of this will be national and worldwide as our graduates move into the workplace with sustainability in the forefront of their practice.

Partnership Opportunity: There is an opportunity to contribute to this project by providing for the costs involved in the project. These include payments for a project leader, consultants, research assistant, web restructuring, professional learning workshop costs, rebranding, assistance with teaching materials, and communications.

Spirituality in Schools

What is the Project? As well as attending to expected educational outcomes, faith-based schools seek to impart a living spirituality to their students. Indeed, concerns about the need to foster the spirituality in their children is close to the heart of why such schools systems as those run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church were established in the first place, and remain a key difference between a faith-informed education and many other schools.
This multi-stage projects seeks to first understand what educators, parents and pupils understand to be practices associated with spirituality, and the place that it should have in the day-to-day activities of faith-based schools. It then will set up a process whereby the current level of practice of such spirituality-related behaviours exists among educators and students, as well as considering what strategies are proving most effective in fostering spirituality among students.

Benefits of the research:  This research project will help us further understand the many factors that impact the spirituality of students. It will give schools an informed understanding of strategies that positively impact the spirituality of their students.

Partnership Opportunity: There is an opportunity to support this research project by contributing to the wages of the lead researcher and research assistants and the expenses associated with a project of this size and scope.

The Impact of School Organisational Climate in a Christian school

What is the Project? In his article, ‘Criteria for an effective Christian school’ Ken Dickens (2015) identified that while much educational literature has been devoted to the subject of school effectiveness, there is a dearth that “takes into account the distinctiveness of Christian schooling” (p. 5). While discussing ten criteria underpinning effective Christian schools in the Australian educational setting, attention is drawn to an enabling environment that “will provide a learning environment and climate that is conducive to learning and growth as a person” (p. 6).

Given the fields of Christian education and organizational psychology and management both explore aspects of climate, questions arise around how to optimize a strong Christian culture that is consistent with evidence-based principles, and how this can impact on areas such as: the wellbeing and engagement of teaching staff; enhanced student outcomes; increased organizational effectiveness; and school improvement initiatives within Australian faith-based education systems. This research will explore links that exist between aspects of organisational climate and authentic Christian values, and their impact in the Australian Christian school setting.

Benefits of the research:  This research study has the potential to inform education and pedagogical practices, as well as further understand the nature of climate in a Christian schools educational setting. With the concept of ‘climate’ being a relatively new and underdeveloped area in both Christian education and organizational psychology and management settings, this project has the potential to create new knowledge in this space across a range of outcomes: educational system, schools, staff, students and parents.

Partnership Opportunity: : There is an opportunity to contribute to this project by contributing to the costs involved in the project. These include payments for a project leader, consultants, research assistant, web restructuring, professional learning workshop costs, rebranding, assistance with teaching materials, and communications

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