Research at Avondale: Here For Good

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Historian Associate Professor Daniel Reynaud speaks about his latest book Anzac Spirituality on the first episode of Avondale College of Higher Education's new Here For Good podcast series. (Credit: Brenton Stacey)

The launch of a podcast series this past Sunday (April 21) will reinforce a new brand that aligns the mission of Avondale with its research agenda. 

The series, called Here For Good, will feature researchers at Avondale College of Higher Education in conversation with Associate Dean (Research) Dr Carolyn Rickett and guest presenters. In the first episode, historian Associate Professor Daniel Reynaud talks about his latest book Anzac Spirituality, which explores the spiritual beliefs and experiences of the Anzacs largely through their own words. In other episodes, Dr Darren Morton discusses wellbeing and The Lift Project, Dr Warrick Long highlights aspects of effective leadership, and Associate Professor Maria Northcote reflects on the benefits of co-constructing rubrics with students.

Each 15-minute episode will “communicate our individual and institutional purpose for research; that we are here for good,” says Dr Rickett. “This humanly-connected narrative consolidates and unifies our motivation, and locates our research beyond individual scholarly pursuit, to embrace a larger, more altruistic concern of improving the world around and within us.”

Dr Rickett consulted with Avondale’s administrators and research centre directors to develop the Avondale Researchers: Here For Good brand. “Research can often be perceived as an activity that’s abstract, individualised and impractical,” she says. “But our Here For Good narrative highlights the kind of research designed to connect with real-world issues, challenges and possibilities. Many of our academic staff members bring their professional experience in schools, hospitals, churches, not-for-profits and corporate industries to the projects on which they’re working.”

The brand supports the philosophical framework and practical focus of Avondale’s key research fields—society and culture, education and health—and the motivation and scope of its four research centres.

“Our research addresses issues and needs so that we can make positive changes,” says Professor Stephen Currow, vice-president (Academic). He notes how the research centres contribute to understanding of areas—Christian education, health and wellbeing, spirituality and worship, teaching and learning—Seventh-day Adventists find significant. “Research at Avondale is never an end in itself. It provides applications for enhancing the mission of the Church through practical strategies.”

As an entity of the Church, Avondale is part of the Adventist education system. “So, our research helps inform best practice in Adventist schools and the wider Christian education sector,” says Dr Peter Kilgour, chair of the Academic Board and director of the Christian Education Research Centre. “We also attract higher degree research students who are committed to transforming their school communities.”

Informing best practice, enhancing mission, improving the world: “we’re proud our research touches the peak points of quality,” says Professor Jane Fernandez, vice-president (Quality and Strategy). “That quality is evident by the impact of our research and the intent of our research to serve the greater good.” In this sense, she adds, the Here For Good brand sends a strong message about Avondale’s reason for being. “We have sought and continue to seek through the benevolence of knowledge the higher moral purpose for learning and being. If our research is here for good, it is especially here for the cause of good.”

New Here For Good episodes will be released on Avondale’s news blog and Apple’s iTunes Store each month. Sound engineer Dale Willis, an award-winning alumnus of Avondale, is producing the series.