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Viv Anderson Professor, Dean College of Education

DipTch, BEd, PGDipArts, PhD

Dunedin Campus
Tel +64 3 479 5360


I began my career in education as a primary school teacher during the 1990s and early 2000s. Following a stint in the USA as an international scholar's partner, new mother and secondary alien, I became interested in internationalisation policy, and in particular, the intersections between policy, education and women's lives.
In 2008, I completed a doctorate in Education and Anthropology, which explored women's experiences in internationalised higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Since then, I have worked in a range of academic roles at the University of Otago, including as an educational researcher at the Faculty of Dentistry, lecturer and senior lecturer at the College of Education, and senior lecturer and academic developer in Higher Education. In 2020, I returned to the College of Education as Associate Dean, to teach across initial teacher education and education studies programmes, and supervise postgraduate students.  I commenced the role of Dean in February 2022.

Teaching areas

I teach in the areas of educational sociology; intercultural education; diversity and inclusion; gender and education; critical theoretical perspectives; and qualitative research methods.

Postgraduate supervision

Current students

  • Guinevere Alai (EDUC 591 dissertation) – How can non-Pacific teachers support Pacific students’ success?
  • Anna Burgin (PhD) – Volunteering with refugees through a peace-building lens
  • Fiona Humphries (EdD) – Wellbeing of teachers
  • Chloe Mackenzie (PhD) – Arts-based peacebuilding and refugee integration
  • Emma Osborne (PhD) – The experiences, motivations and needs of students who are studying or researching aspects of their lived experience
  • Jill Turner (DBA) – Exploring structural gender discrimination through the experiences of academic women at the University of Otago

Past students

  • Lien Trinh (PhD) – The provision of sexual health information to international students in the New Zealand homestay environment
  • Emma Osborne (PhD) – The experiences, motivations and needs of students who are studying or researching aspects of their lived experience
  • Olivia MacLean (BA Hons) – School-based suicide prevention
  • Charmaine Kwan (PhD 2017-2020) – A study of the Fiji higher education sector
  • Yvonne Brouwer (EdD 2015-2021) – Narratives of experience: Beginning teachers developing biculturally responsive pedagogy
  • Salmah Kassim (PhD 2020) – The Impact of International Experiences on Women's Career Development
  • Naoko Inoue (PhD 2019) – The experiences of native English speaking teachers who work and live in Japan
  • Farhana Binti Abu Bakar (PhD 2018) – The use of humour in teaching and learning in higher education
  • Rafaela Rabello (PhD 2018) – An exploration of the Oil and Gas sector's social investment in host countries
  • Tracy Rogers (PhD 2018) – Exploring educational persistence: What factors support girls to remain in secondary school in Cambodia?
  • Mary Furnari (PhD 2018) – Medical students' reflective thinking and intercultural learning in online discussions
  • Lee Adam (PhD 2015) – University students' understandings of plagiarism
  • Shona Waterhouse (MEd 2013) – Young mothers at high school in New Zealand
  • Jayaram Subramanian (MHealthSci 2012) – Student and graduate perceptions of the DClinDent programme: a qualitative research project

Research interests

My research explores questions relating to educational mobilities; education pathways; gender, equity and education; migration and education; and education policy.

Current Research

I currently lead a project, funded through a University of Otago Research Grant, exploring effective practices for refugee-background students in school settings.

Research grants

  • 2023–2024 – University of Otago Research Grant for the project: ‘Effective teaching for refugee-background students in schools: an Appreciative Inquiry’, with Anna Burgin (College of Education).
  • 2020–2023 – 'Refugee-background students in Aotearoa — Supporting successful secondary to tertiary education transitions'. Funded through a Ministry of Education Teaching & Learning Research Initiative Grant (Principal Investigator). Other investigators included Dr Jo Oranje (University of Otago), Amber Fraser-Smith (Otago Polytechnic), Jarrah Cooke (NZ Red Cross), Pip Laufiso (Ministry of Education), Angela Watts (Carisbrook School), and Dr Rachel Rafferty (University of Derby).
  • 2020–2021 – 'Arts and migration: Women's experiences of resettlement and integration'. Funded through a Centre for Global Migrations Collaborative Research Grant (Associate Investigator). Dr Pooneh Torabian (Tourism) is Principal Investigator. Other Associate Investigators include Ali Mostolizdeh (Education), and Neil Vallely (Centre for Global Migrations).
  • 2018–2019 – 'Improving university processes, practices and pedagogies through attention to the narratives of international women students and former refugees'. Funded through a University of Otago Quality Improvement Grant (Principal Investigator).
  • 2016–2017 – 'How do successful university students conceptualise “good teaching” and “effective learning”? Funded through an Ako Aotearoa Regional Hub Grant (Principal Investigator).
  • 2014–2015 – 'Internationalised higher education in place: beginning teacher journeys in Malaysia and New Zealand'. Funded through a University of Otago Research Grant (Principal Investigator).
  • 2012–2013 – 'How effective is Facebook as a research tool for examining pre-service teachers' future thinking?'. Funded through a Humanities Research Grant (Associate Investigator, with Associate Professor Karen Nairn).
  • 2012–2013 – 'How is the term “secular” understood in a New Zealand context?'. Funded through a University of Otago Research Grant (Associate Investigator, with Professor Andrew Bradstock).
  • 2012–2013 – 'Oranga niho me nga tangata whaiora'. Funded through Health Research Council Maori Health Joint Venture Maori Oral Health Research funding (Associate Investigator, with Professor John Broughton, Mr Martin Steinmann, Dr Rudi Downs, Ms Minnie McGibbon, and Dr Mark Lawrence).
  • 2011–2015 – 'Oranga niho, oranga tinana, oranga whanau: What are the implications of final-year dental student outplacements with Maori Oral Health Providers for students, hosts and whanau?'. Funded through a Ministry of Health Oral Health Research Fund grant (Principal Investigator).
  • 2010 – 'Collaborative studies of people on the move: Transitions, connections and mobilities'. Funded through a BRCSS Seeding Social Science Research Initiatives Grant (joint Principal Investigator, with Dr Martha Bell and Dr Tara Duncan).
  • 2010 – 'Supporting students' study-work transition in Oral Health and Dental Technology'. Funded through a University of Otago Quality Advancement Improvement Grant (Principal Investigator).
  • 2008–2011 – 'Tracking Study on Asian Business Graduates from New Zealand'. Funded through the Asia NZ Foundation (Associate Investigator, with Mr Terry McGrath, Mr Chze Pheng Ching, Mr Akira Doi, and Mr Paul Stock).


Bowden, N., Dixon, R., Anderson, V., de Bock, M., Boucsein, A., Kewene-Edwards, M., Gibb, S., Kokaua, J., Palmer, O., Paul, R., Taylor, B., Vu, H., & Wheeler, B. J. (2024). Associations between type 1 diabetes and educational outcomes: An Aotearoa/New Zealand nationwide birth cohort study using the Integrated Data Infrastructure. Diabetologia, 67, 62-73. doi: 10.1007/s00125-023-06026-y

Schaaf, R., Kalavite, T., Lei-Mata'afa, S., Nafatali, K., Alai, G., & Anderson, V. (2023, November). Teu le vā Tauhivā: Pacific relationality as a model for ethical practice in academia. Verbal presentation at the 51st Annual Conference of the Oceania Comparative & International Education Society (OCIES), Apia, Samoa.

Anderson, V., Ortiz Ayala, A., & Mostolizadeh, S. (2023). Refugee-background students in southern New Zealand: educational navigation and necessary self-sufficiency. In H. Pinson, N. Bunar & D. Devine (Eds.), Research Handbook on Migration and Education. (pp. 310-322). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. doi: 10.4337/9781839106361.00029

Anderson, V. (2023, November-December). How (not) to welcome strangers: Insights from research with refugee-background young people. Keynote presentation at the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania (APTO) Conference, [Hybrid].

Anderson, V., Ortiz-Ayala, A., & Mostolizadeh, S. (2023). Schools and teachers as brokers of belonging for refugee-background young people. International Journal of Inclusive Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2023.2210591

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