I am passionate about improving students’ life chances through effective leadership and high quality, optimistic learning environments around the globe.
Link to Academic Optimism in Schools articles on BAM! Education Blogs
My Research in Academic Optimism and Community and Parent Engagement is cited in the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders by the Chief Council of State School Officers (USA).
The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Dissertation/thesis title: Academic Optimism and Community Engagement in Urban Elementary Schools A quantitative examination of the social context of 35 urban elementary schools in a low socioeconomic urban area in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Three years of course work across Education Policy (PK-Higher Education), Education Planning & Leadership(PK-Higher Education). Emphasis in Curriculum Leadership and a Cognate in Public Policy.
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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SFHEA: Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (UK) ~ from June 2020
An Overview of Me: The Teacher & the Learner
I am passionate about improving students’ life chances through effective education leadership and high quality, optimistic learning environments. This passion has held constant for over 20 years as I have worked as a Secondary English teacher, English Department Chair, Instructional Coach and Teacher Trainer in schools in New York and Virginia, USA. I began my university teaching in 2010 as a Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Canberra, Australia. In 2017, my passion for good teaching compelled me to submerge myself into the academic development space as a Lecturer, Learning & Teaching at Charles Sturt University in the Faculty of Arts and Education. In that role, I supported my academic colleagues’ professional development through a deepening of their capabilities for more inclusive, quality teaching and learning, thereby improving the lives of students.
Across my teaching career I have supported learning and professional development face to face, online and in blended modes. At times the strands of my work seem quite disparate, but they coalesce in my view of myself as a scholar. As part of my own praxis, there are a few questions I typically use to prompt my process of deep reflection. The primary question underscores my philosophical orientations as a teaching and learning servant leader. In servant leadership, a person wants to serve first; as a result of wanting to serve, they aspire to lead. The central question Robert Greenleaf, the father of servant leadership, posits as the ‘best test’ to determine how effective the servant leader is this:
The best test is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or at least, not be further deprived (1970/1991, p. 7)?
Through the process of preparing my Senior Fellowship for the Higher Education Authority (UK) application during 2019, I discovered intersections where I previously did not see them. I also took the opportunity to more deeply reflect on how my leadership style had yet again transformed from my former one as a Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Education. I had to adapt to yet another new dynamic environment where a lack of positional power, academic resistance to change and lack of support from leadership, an absence of leadership really, as well as poor communication do not support the building of relationships. I am encouraged that I have the capabilities to adapt and lead more inclusive teaching and learning, as well as academic and professional development. I value leading with intention, no matter my title. I look forward to continuing to build relationships in my current and future workplaces to improve the quality of teaching and learning. As one colleague stated
I have great confidence in Dr Kirby and her ability to work productively and collaboratively with academics in the production of high quality teaching materials for a wide-range of tertiary [Post Secondary] students. I have found her to be exemplary in her approach, and the collaborative climate she engenders has a range of positive outcomes.
Still connecting good teaching, theory and practice = praxis!
HOT off the presses!
Kirby, M. M., Slade, C.S., Brown Wilson, C., Downer, T., Fisher, M.B., Siddiqui, Z., Isbel, S., McAllister, L., & Miller, A. (2022). A call to action for eProfessionalism: developing the use of ePortfolio with emerging health and education practitioners. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09326-1
Link to BAM! Education Blogs
in the February 2015 newsletter
Video from the DLP: ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Showcase of Innovative Use of Technologies in Education @ ANU
Program from the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
on Dr. Anita Collins’ Music Website
Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (UK), awarded June 2020
Member, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
Associate Editor, Multicultural Education Review (hosted by the Korean Association for Multicultural Education)
Member, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Principal Investigator, ePortfolios Australia Community of Practice
Facilitator, The Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL)