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Sylvia Robertson image 2020Senior Lecturer

Tel +64 3 479 4993
Google Scholar Sylvia Robertson


I returned home to Dunedin in 2011 after 18 years teaching and studying in Sydney and the UK. I started working at the College of Education in 2016 as I completed my PhD. Prior to this, I held teaching and leadership roles in diverse primary school settings in New Zealand (Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata), Australia (Sydney) and the UK (Hertfordshire). As I travelled and taught across different countries, in independent and state schools, bilingual settings, all-boys and all-girls and co-educational settings, I became very aware of one constant in education everywhere – change. Thus my research interests include leadership preparation, leadership identity, and management of change. I have published and presented on the leadership self, teacher effectiveness, leadership for social justice, and leadership in high-needs settings.

At the University of Otago College of Education from 2016 to 2019, I taught across a number of different academic and professional practice papers at Bachelor and Masters levels. Currently, I lecture in Education Studies in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. I am Director, University of Otago Centre for Educational Leadership and Administration, and Co-Director, UCEA Centre for the International Study of School Leadership.

Teaching Sectors

  • Primary
  • Bachelor of Teaching / Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Education and Learning
  • Postgraduate supervision

Teaching Areas

  • Education Studies
  • Professional practice (Primary)
  • Educational leadership

Research Interests

  • Leadership of change
  • Leader identity
  • Leadership in high-needs settings
  • Leadership for social justice
  • Leadership preparation
  • Student metacognition


Robertson, S. (2023). Transforming pedagogy in uncertain times: Blended learning in a first-year university context. In N. Eteokleous, D. Ktoridou & A. Kafa (Eds.), Emerging trends and historical perspectives surrounding digital transformation in education: Achieving open and blended learning environments. (pp. 1-28). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4423-8.ch001 Chapter in Book - Research

Striepe, M., Thompson, P., Robertson, S., Devi, M., Gurr, D., Longmuir, F., … Cunningham, C. (2023). Responsive, adaptive, and future-centred leadership in response to crisis: Findings from Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand. School Leadership & Management. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2023.2171005 Journal - Research Article

Robertson, S. (2023). The leader-self: Two New Zealand principals respond to social justice issues. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 26(5), 904-918. doi: 10.1080/13603124.2021.1922756 Journal - Research Article

Robertson, S. (2021). Leading in uncertain times: Responding to the COVID crisis in a New Zealand School. Proceedings of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE): Reimagining Education Research. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Gurr, D., Drysdale, L., Longmuir, F., McCrohan, K., McNae, R., Morrison, M., & Robertson, S. (2021). Leading successfully in high-needs contexts: Australian and New Zealand cases. In B. G. Barnett & P. A. Woods (Eds.), Educational leadership for social justice and improving high-needs schools: Findings from 10 years of international collaboration. (pp. 135-152). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Chapter in Book - Research

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