Matthew Flinders Anglican College officially launched its new research institute, the Flinders Discovery Institute (FDI), on Thursday, 12 October on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
The launch event was part of the two-day program for the Research-Invested Schools National Conference, which Flinders co-hosted with St Andrew’s Anglican College on Thursday, 12 October and Friday, 13 October 2023.
Attending the launch were more than 50 guests from leading schools and universities across Australia, including school principals, teachers, school research leads, university lecturers and research fellows, as well as students, staff and parents from the Flinders community.
The new Flinders Discovery Institute (FDI) helps bring to life the College’s own research projects and connects the school with cutting-edge projects initiated by leading innovators, tertiary educators and researchers.
Flinders' interest in research is part of a growing commitment by future-focused schools across Australia to actively build a culture of collaboration and innovation.
The College is also keen to support its staff team's expertise and strengthen education policy and practice within and beyond the campus.
Research Projects in Progress at Flinders
Flinders has three major research projects in progress with research teams at the Australian Catholic University, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The collaboration with the Australian Catholic University connects Flinders with the ACU’s Institute for Positive Psychology and Education on a project guided by Professor Johnmarshall Reeve, an American psychologist and author regarded as a leader in educational psychology and human motivation.
Professor Reeve’s research project is focused on Flinders’ reinvigorated Year 9 curriculum program, the Flinders Year to RISE, that launched in January this year to spark curiosity and enable innovation to flourish. The school designed the Year to RISE to address the traditional dip in student engagement observed in the Middle School years in schools across the country.
The ACU research team will gain and analyse data from Flinders Year 9 cohorts over three years of the Year to RISE program, from 2023 to 2025, to understand how student engagement is impacted by the program.
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Launch of the Flinders Discovery Institute, Thursday, 12 October
The FDI launch featured Flinders students who shared their perspectives on being involved in innovation and research projects at the College.
A group of seniors also presented their winning pitch - a humorous skit - from the 2023 Flinders Inspiring Women in Health and Science conference as part of National Science Week in August.
College Principal Stuart Meade delivered the keynote and there were presentations by the Head of the FDI, Dr Louise McCuaig; the Head of Primary, Mrs Trudi Edwards; and the Head of Secondary, Mrs Anita Gibson.
The more than 50 guests included delegates from the Research-Invested Schools National Conference.
The FDI has joined the Research-Invested Schools Network (RISN), which brings together research leads in schools around Australia to encourage the sharing of practice and collaborative projects.
The RISN reported, “In the last seven years, more than 30 Australian schools have either established a research centre or institute, and/or appointed a ‘research lead’ to explicitly focus on building research literacy and capacity within the school.”
Dr McCuaig said she was delighted to shine a spotlight on the innovative projects the College is investing in and planning for 2024 and beyond.
“Through the Flinders Discovery Institute, Matthew Flinders Anglican College is keen to share research initiatives, insights and data with our students, staff, parents and the wider community,” Louise said.
“As a leading co-educational school, we are committed to actively supporting the development of expertise and enhancing policy and practice within and beyond Flinders,” she said.
“We believe this investment in research will help to support a stronger education industry and to grow the learning and teaching opportunities available to students and staff.”
Presentations at the FDI launch focused on the following innovation and research projects at Flinders:
- Flinders Design for Impact Summit design thinking immersion experience in the Primary School
- Learning Wellbeing and Self Determination Theory in the Flinders curriculum and the new Flinders Year to RISE curriculum for Year 9 students
- The annual Flinders I-WiSH conference (Inspiring Women in Science and Health)
- The new Flinders Inspiring Futures - UQ Youth Game Changers program to be held in November 2023 at the University of Queensland
Other innovation and research projects at Flinders include the following:
- English - Excellence in Writing Skills Project
- Science - Metacognition in Science education
- Design and Technologies: Pathways to manufacturing excellence in Australia with the Flinders Powered by Design conference
- ‘The Impact of curriculum innovation on the learning wellbeing of middle years students (2023 - 2024)’ with the University of Sunshine Coast, led by Professor Merrilyn Goos.
- ‘Teacher-led pain science education in schools (2023 - Secondary Health and Physical Education Department Initiative) with the University of Technology, Sydney, led by doctoral student Mrs Rebecca Fechner, Paediatric Physiotherapist and Supervisor Dr Joshua Pate - Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Pain Researcher.
Learn more about Flinders Discovery Institute.
Cover photo: All hands on deck! Cutting the Flinders Discovery Institute (FDI) cake at the launch event on Thursday, 12 October 2023!
L-R: Australian Catholic University Professor Johnmarshall Reeve, Flinders Principal Stuart Meade, Year 12 student Emily, Year 5 student Theo, Flinders Head of the FDI Dr Louise McCuaig