Professor Eacott leads an interdisciplinary research program that seeks to develop tools for educators, systems, providers, and individual organisations to better understand the provision of education through relational theory, most notably, his Relational Inquiry into the Provision of Education (RIPE) analysis.
Fields of Research (FoR)Specialist studies in education, Educational administration, management and leadership
An enduring issue for governments and systems has been how best to organise education to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all. Professor Eacott's research program has been dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory resources (e.g., relational theory) to respond effectively to the empirical question of how best to organise education. A key contribution has been the development of the Relational Inquiry into the Provision of...view more
An enduring issue for governments and systems has been how best to organise education to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all. Professor Eacott's research program has been dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory resources (e.g., relational theory) to respond effectively to the empirical question of how best to organise education. A key contribution has been the development of the Relational Inquiry into the Provision of Education (RIPE) analytical framework. This relatively new theoretical approach for organizational theory in education offers a methodological framework for the study of the provision of education at multiple levels.
Building from his relational approach, RIPE analysis comprise five phases:
- Articulating the underlying generative assumptions on the purpose(s) of education (or a given topic);
- Locating assumptions within different perspectives on the topic;
- Investigating how those assumptions play out in practice;
- Describing and explaining activities without imposing judgement; and
- Using all of the above to show how things are and could be different.
Working at the intersection of education, sociology, demography, economics, planning, among others, and therefore leveraging cutting-edge analytical methods from multiple disciplines all held together through relational theory, Professor Eacott's ambitious research program aims to move beyond individual disciplinary based ways of understanding education and its impact to not just inform policy decisions but explicitly contribute to re-designing the provision of education to deliver equitable and inclusive education at scale.
Professor Eacott's distinctive relational approach has led to invitations to run workshops and give talks in Norway, Canada, the USA, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico and throughout Australia. He has authored more than 100 publications, led major research projects and contributed to teams winning over $3.8M in external funding and successfully translated his research into policy and practice. Typical projects employing his RIPE analysis involve working collaboratively with systems, school leadership teams, and school communities to co-design plans to best meet the needs of all involved.
A representative sample of externally funded grants since 2015 includes:
- Eacott, S. & Baldry, E. (2022). Building education systems for equity, excellence, and inclusion. Academy of Social Sciences Australia Workshop Program.
- Eacott, S. (2021). Steiner Education Australia Leadership (SEAL) project. Steiner Education Australia.
- Beswick, K., Piccoli, A., Roberts, P., Holden, R., Eacott, S., Loughland, T., & Alonzo, D. (2020-2021). Rural and Remote Education (RaRE) project. New South Wales Department of Education.
- Keddie, A., Blackmore, J., Wilkinson, J., Gobby, B., Niesche, R., & Eacott, S. (2019-2021). School autonomy reform and social justice in Australian public education. Australian Research Council Discovery Project [DP190100190],
- Eacott, S., Niesche, R., Loughland, T., Durksen, T., Heffernan, A., & Gobby, B. (2019-2020). School leadership and teaching incentives and impact. Australian Department of Education and Training.
- Wainer, C. & Eacott, S. (2019). Regional secondary school consolidation: experiments in leadership. New South Wales Institute for Educational Research Grant.
- Eacott, S., & Davison, C. (2018-2021). Griffith secondary school reform. New South Wales Department of Education.
- Eacott, S., Davison, C., & Morsy, L. (2017-2018). Secondary school reform: a scoping study. New South Wales Department of Education.
- Eacott, S. (2016-2017). School-university partnerships. External Industry Partners.
- Gallagher, R. & Eacott, S. (2015). Relations, organizing and leadership in education. New South Wales Institute of Educational Research.
Doctor of Philosophy (Education). Supervisor: A/Prof James G. Ladwig
Master of Leadership and Management in Education
GradCert in the Practice of Tertiary Teaching
Bachelor of Teaching / Bachelor of Social Science
- Neil Cranston Lecture, Australian Association for Education Research - Educational Leadership Special Interest Group, 2021
- Education Research Award, Australian Council for Educational Leaders (NSW), 2021
- Most outstanding reviewer, International Journal of Educational Management, 2020
- The Educator's Hotlist, 2019
- Australia's leading researcher in the field of Educational Administration (The Australian Research Magazine), 2018
- Visiting Scholar, University of Saskatchewan (Canada), 2018
- Visiting Scholar, Western University (Canada), 2018
- Hedley Beare Award - Most Outstanding Educational Leadership Writing (Australian Council for Educational Leaders), 2015
- Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper of the Year (2013, International Journal of Educational Management), 2014
- Book Editor of the Year, Untested Ideas Center (Niagara Falls, NY), 2013
- Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (NSW), 2012
- Emerald / ALCS African Management Research Award, 2012
- Highly Commended, Emerald Literati Outstanding papers of the Year (2011, International Journal of Educational Management), 2012
- Emerging Research Leaders Program, 2011-2012
- Australian Leadership Award (AusAID), 2010
- Highly Commended, Emerald / EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, Educational Leadership and Strategy (Sponsor Journal of Educational Administration), 2009
- Runner-up, 7th Annual Emerging Scholar in Educational Leadership Award, 2009
- The University of Newcastle Teaching and Learning Fellowship, 2007-2008
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Professor Eacott is constantly seeking outstanding researchers to undertake doctoral (PhD, EdD), research masters and/or honours projects that advance his relational theorizing through rigorous and robust social science. Additionally, he welcomes proposals from highly motivated and talented researchers who believe they have the potential to contribute to make a significant contribution to advancing scholarship through post-docs, research assistants, visiting scholars, and collaborations. If you are interested in working with Professor Eacott and the relational approach, see here and then please send an email to discuss possibilities.
Professor Eacott is currently looking for higher degree researchers (PhD, Honours) to work on two projects:
Project 1: Building alternative school systems
In partnership with Steiner Education Australia (SEA), Montessori Schools and Centres Australia (MSCA), and Montessori Australia (MA), this project focuses on what data and evidence is required to build school systems focused on more than academic outcomes. Working at the intersection of education, sociology, geography, demography, economics of education, existing datasets (e.g., AURIN, ACARA, ABS) and newly generated data with schools and communities, all through relational theory, this work will be of enormous benefit to providers in planning the resourcing, supporting and promotion of schools. Significantly it is about shifting narratives from MySchool to OurSchools. The expected outcomes include establishing novel theoretical frameworks for the design of alternative school systems that can withstand internal and external pressure towards a narrow focus on standardised testing outcomes; state-of-the-art relational models of the provision of schooling integrating contemporary and historical data from diverse disciplines to support the functionality of schools; and the generation of a body of theoretical and empirical evidence to inform policy decisions at a national and international level.
Project 2: Small schools for equity and inclusion
Small schools are a large part of the educational landscape. Using my path breaking relational approach, this project aims to investigate and enhance our understanding and practice of small schools for the purpose of equity and inclusion. The implications of these findings are far-reaching nationally and internationally, with many applications to diverse modes of small school delivery (e.g., rural areas, special purpose, newly formed). The expected outcomes include establishing novel theoretical frameworks for the design of equitable and inclusive education at scale that can withstand internal and external pressure towards consolidation of resources and cost efficiencies; state-of-the-art relational models of the provision of schooling integrating contemporary and historical data from diverse disciplines to support the functionality of schools; and the generation of a body of theoretical and empirical evidence to inform policy decisions at a national and international level.
If interested in either of the above projects, and eligible, consider applying for a Scholarship. The next round closes on 04 February 2022 for a T3 start (then 13 May and 30 Sept for T1 or T2 2023 start). Details for scholarships can be found: Key Dates | UNSW Research. The ideal candidate will have: i) A 1st class Honours degree, or equivalent, in education, sociology, history, community development, public administration, politics, public policy, cultural studies or related fields; ii) Previous experience with either empirical research (e.g., GIS analysis, data mining of ABS and/or education statistics, qualitative skills in interviews or focus groups) and/or the application of social critical theoretical frameworks to social problems. Particular preference would be given to candidates with a working knowledge of (or willingness to work with) Eacott’s relational approach; iii) Excellent time, data management, and interpersonal skills; and iv) Evidence of well-developed verbal and written communication skills. If you have any queries about the positions, please contact Professor Scott Eacott.
Current supervised topics include:
- Regional secondary school reform;
- Middle leaders in regional and rural schools;
- School reform in urban alternative schools; and
- Alternative schools and context.
MEMBERSHIP OF EDITORIAL BOARDS
- Educational Management, Administration & Leadership (2017-)
- Educational Leadership Theory book series (Springer, Founding Co-Editor, 2017-)
- Relational Sociology book series (Palgrave, 2015-)
- Journal of Applied Social Theory (2015-)
- Research in Educational Administration and Leadership (Section, Australia/Pacific Editor, 2015-)
- International Journal of Educational Management (2013-)
- Leading & Managing (2013-)
- Journal of Educational Administration and History (2013-, including Book Review Editor 2013-2017)
- International Journal of Leadership in Education (2013-)
- Leadership and Policy Quarterly (2012-)
- Perspectives in Educational Leadership (2011-2014)
- Journal of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (2009-2015)
- American Educational Research Association 2010-
- British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society 2010-2015
- Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management 2010-2015
- Australian Association for Educational Research 2008-
- Australian Council for Educational Leaders 2003-2016
One of Professor Eacott's key areas of contribution and research interest is school leadership preparation and development. He has published in the area, has ongoing projects in Australia and overseas (with collaborators), successfully attracted funding through the Emerald African Management Research Award programme and used his scholarly approach to tertiary teaching to secure an AusAID funded project to bring 20 Filipino leaders to Australia for an intensive educational leadership programme. In 2007-2008 Professor Eacott was awarded an inaugural Teaching and Learning Fellowship at the University of Newcastle (Australia) to develop an entirely online educational leadership course. He has subsequently held multiple competitive teaching and learning grants while at ACU and UNSW for innovative educational leadership course and program designs.
Using a variety of approaches in his teaching, Professor Eacott's classes are distinctive for their privileging of rigorous and robust discussion and debate of key issues. Unlike traditional lecture or tutorial models, Professor Eacott explicitly engages with participants by challenging their ways of thinking and seeking to develop a commitment to public intellectualism. Following Michael Oakeshott, his central belief is that to be educated is to join the conversation of the world.
Courses taught in the Master of Educational Leadership include:
He also offers a term-long course on his relational approach entitled: