Get to know Dr Annie Gowing, traveller, Bruce Springsteen enthusiast and Student Wellbeing Specialisation leader.
Q: Do you mind giving a short introduction to your background?
I grew up in Brisbane and studied French language and literature as part of an Arts degree at the University of Queensland. I went on to study Social Work and after working in England and Australia in a range of child and family agencies, I completed my education studies with French and English literature as my discipline areas. I then worked in a variety of school-based student support roles including school counsellor positions and commenced my PhD studies while working in a secondary school in Melbourne. I spent an idyllic few years as the Assistant Principal, Student Wellbeing and Engagement, at Bright P-12 College in the beautiful north-east of Victoria. Since 2014 I have been immersed in teaching in the Student Wellbeing suite of subjects in both the Master of Teaching and the Master of Education and currently lead the Student Wellbeing Specialisation at the Faculty of Education.
Q: Do you have a particular area of research/specialisation?
My PhD studies explored the concept of school connectedness and this continues to be an area of deep interest, along with school belonging, school climate and the ways in which student wellbeing is understood and addressed in schools. The interplay between wellbeing and learning is also an ongoing focus.
Q: Do you have a defining moment or influential person who encouraged you to pursue education?
A good friend from my school years became a teacher and observed that I loved working with young people so why not consider education, given almost all children and young people spend a large portion of their time in school. The logic was irrefutable and my path to education was set.
Q: What advice would you give to those students thinking about taking your course or specialisation?
Student wellbeing is a core component of the work of all school staff so I would invite anyone working in schools to consider this specialisation as it will enhance your everyday practice in working with students, parents, colleagues and the broader community. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought wellbeing into sharp focus and young people’s wellbeing in particular has drawn increased and urgent attention as changes in the delivery of learning have disrupted school life for all. Student wellbeing will continue to be a priority for schools post-pandemic and this specialisation will immerse you in a body of knowledge that is both theoretical and applied and from which you will be well positioned to make a positive difference to the physical, social and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Q: What are your passions outside of education?
My family, reading, travel (especially to remote and wild places), board games, letter writing, the collected oeuvre of Bruce Springsteen and Chopin, hiking/walking, French language and literature, and road trips anywhere.
Read Dr Annie Gowing's biography here.