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Dr Kate O'Connor Lecturer, Leadership and Policy, Education

Kate O’Connor is a Lecturer in the School of Education at La Trobe University. Her research interests are in curriculum policy and practice in schools and universities, sociology of education, educational technology and digital scholarship.

Kate's research is located within the broad field of education policy studies and also takes up theoretical perspectives drawn from curriculum inquiry, higher education, sociology of education, organisational studies and political science. Her work is principally concerned with issues of curriculum and contemporary education policy, with a strong focus on the conceptions of knowledge and education informing particular practices and contemporary debates.

Kate's PhD, “Remaking the university curriculum: what counts as knowledge in the new forms of online learning”, took up the burgeoning of online learning in higher education, and brought to it an original set of questions and theoretical perspectives drawn from curriculum theory: what is happening to knowledge? It was awarded the 2019 University of Melbourne Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis, the 2019 Melbourne Graduate School of Education Doctoral Research Prize and the 2018 AARE Ray Debus Award for Doctoral Research in Education Special Commendation. In 2020, Kate also received the La Trobe ASSC College Early Career Researcher Research Excellence Award in recognition of her research achievements.

Prior to commencing at La Trobe University, Kate worked as a research fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education on a range of projects. The topics these focused on included changes in the school curriculum over time, history and physics teaching in schools and universities, the implications of new public management forms of governance, school funding debates, school autonomy, the nationalisation of schooling reform in the context of Australian federalism and young people’s aspirations in urban and rural areas. Her current work is concerned with developments in data sharing and digital scholarship.


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