Celebrating achievements

Graduations are my favourite time of the academic year, and I recently celebrated the graduation of two PhD candidates. Congratulations to Dr Louise Kaktiņš and Dr Christa Jacenyik-Trawoger! It was an honour to supervise your research.

It was a special ceremony. Honorary doctorates were awarded to Kevin Guyurruyurru Rogers, Helen Gabibi Rogers, and the late Cherry Daniels, Elders and knowledge holders from Wiyagiba Bush Hub. The procession was led by a First Nations dancers and songmen visiting from south-east Arnhem Land.

You can see the graduation here (Christa, you are at 1:34:36 and Louise, you are at 1:35:04). I have a smile on my face just from watching the opening and the conferral of doctorates!

Louise’s PhD thesis is entitled Academic Identities of International Students in a Pathway Program: Perceptions of Students and Teachers. It offers a case study of the academic identity development of non-native-English speaking international students in a for-profit university pathway program in Australia. Louise published a whopping seven papers during her thesis, and her work was recognised in Campus Morning Mail and Times Higher Education (not once but twice). As well as the presenting the publications, Louise’s thesis included a literature review, theoretical foundations chapter, methodology, synopsis of findings and a discussion.

Christa’s PhD thesis is entitled Academics’ Perceptions of Peer Review of Teaching: A phenomenographic study. It explores variations in how peer review of teaching is perceived by academic and professional staff and extrapolates key ideas for peer review programs to ensure insights are implemented. Christa employed a phenomenographic research approach, which aims to identify and describe the limited number of qualitatively different ways a phenomenon (in this case, peer review of teaching) is perceived. Alongside this sophisticated and complex methodology, Christa told the story of her research in the genre of a mystery complete with an investigation, twist and breakthrough. I am looking forward to the forthcoming publications from the thesis!

Both Christa and Louise were part-time PhD candidates and a lot happened during the life of their PhD candidature. Congratulations on your dedication and endurance! Thank you to the examiners, supervisors, researchers, colleagues, participants, friends and family members who contributed to this research.

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