Researcher

Professor Scott Eacott

My Expertise

Professor Eacott leads an interdisciplinary research program concerned with the intersection of the teacher shortage, the housing crisis, and the organisation of education. The central question of How accessible are schools for their workforce? Work within this program seeks to develop tools for educators, systems, providers, and individual organisations to better understand how best to meet legal, social, and cultural expectations in the provision of education.

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Specialist studies in education, Educational administration, management and leadership, Education systems

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Biography

Scott Eacott, PhD is Professor of Education in the School of Education at UNSW Sydney and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Saskatchewan. He has previously worked at the University of Newcastle and Australian Catholic University and prior to academia, the New South Wales Department of Education as a teacher and school leader in primary schools.

Building on his experience working in...view more

Scott Eacott, PhD is Professor of Education in the School of Education at UNSW Sydney and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Saskatchewan. He has previously worked at the University of Newcastle and Australian Catholic University and prior to academia, the New South Wales Department of Education as a teacher and school leader in primary schools.

Building on his experience working in schools and studies across the social sciences, Professor Eacott's work is primarily concerned with the organisation of education. To this end, his research has been dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory tools and resources to respond effectively to the empirical question of how best to organise education. This work has led to advocacy for the pursuit of equitable excellence in school provision based on threshold questions (e.g., does this make us more equitable and excellent) with matching tests of legitimacy and strength, as the basis for systemic design which can be applied at the system, school or even team level. 

More recently, in working with a consortium of education researchers, geospatial analysts, data visualisation experts, sociologists, economists, and data scientists, Professor Eacott has been conducting groundbreaking work on the impact of housing affordability on the teacher shortage. This work has demonstrated that many teaching positions are located in areas where it is unaffordable for the school education workforce (especially early career teachers) to live. Without large-scale inter-departmental co-operation, and multi-factor intervention, many schools will be unable to find staff as housing and transportation costs make cities unaffordable for the school education workforce.    

Professor Eacott's distinctive approach has led to invitations to run workshops and give talks in Norway, Canada, the USA, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica and throughout Australia. He has authored more than 100 publications, led major research projects and contributed to teams winning over $4.45M in external funding and successfully translated his research into policy and practice. Typical projects involve working collaboratively with governments, systems, and professional associations to co-design plans to best meet the needs of all involved.


My Grants

A representative sample of externally funded grants since 2015 includes:

  • Eacott, S. & Soundararaj, B. (2023-2024). Building a Unique Integrated Linked Dataset of Education and social Reporting [BUILDER]. Research Infrastructure Scheme.
  • 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.

My Qualifications

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


My Awards

  • 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 Activities

There is a global teacher shortage. UNESCO modelling estimates an additional 44M teachers are needed by 2030. Australian Government modelling indicates a >4,000 shortfall by 2025. 61% of Australian schools report daily activities being compromised by staffing issues, and 10,000 lessons go uncovered a day in New South Wales alone. $328M has been invested in a National Teacher Workforce Plan. However, initiatives to attract and retain teachers mean little if teachers cannot afford to live within commuting distance of their workplace. Professor Eacott's research program is dedicated to developing the necessary explanatory tools and resources to respond effectively to the systemic implications of housing affordability on the teacher shortage. This research program has the following aims:

  • Establish novel estimates of the distribution of the school education workforce and the accessibility of schools.

Our researchers seek to develop tools for government, systems, schools, and educators to better understand the intersection of housing affordability, the teachers shortage, and the accessibility of schools.

  • Develop state-of-the-art models of the accessibility of schools for their workforce to support the functionality and effectiveness of systems to deliver educational and social outcomes.

We bring broad interdisciplinary and methodological expertise to enrich the methodological toolkit for research and generate unparalleled data to enhance the validity of sensitive and controversial policy decisions regarding workforce distribution, housing affordability, and the accessibility of schools.

  • Generate a body of robust empirical evidence to inform policy at a national and international level, locating the team as an international authority on systemic design and its impact.

We aim to increase the quality of systemic decision-making through the provision of high-quality research accessible to multiple audiences. Through attention to fundamental concerns for policy makers at a national and international level our research will facilitate targeted and tailored intervention design.

Working at the intersection of education, geospatial analysis, economics of education, urban planning, sociology, demography, among others, and therefore leveraging cutting-edge analytical methods from multiple disciplines, Professor Eacott's ambitious research program aims to move beyond individual disciplinary based ways of understanding educational issues 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.

FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, AND RESOURCES

In addition to standard office facilities and computing equipment, Professor Eacott has a Mobile Interactive Touchscreen Workstation (65" Commbox Pulse touch display and Motorised tilt stand / trolley) and in 2024 will be adding a 75" wall mounted Commbox display screen. This equipment enables interactive team meetings working with data and showcasing research data and evidence to visiting collaborators, partners, and university guests.

Existing resources include the Steiner and Montessori Schools Dashboard (built on collaboration with colleagues from the City Futures Research Centre), and in 2024 we will be launching the Building a Unique Integrated Dataset of Education and social Reporting [BUILDER] project which is a cloud-based interactive portal utilising education, social, and housing data.  

GET INVOLVED

Doctoral, masters by research, and honours candidates

Please see the 'My Research Supervision' section below.

Visiting scholars, post-doctoral fellows, research interns, and collaborators

Professor Eacott welcomes proposals from highly motivated and talented researchers who believe they have the potential to contribute and make a significant contribution to advancing his research through post-docs, research internships, visiting scholars, and collaborations. If you are interested in working as part of the program, please send an email to discuss possibilities to Professor Eacott.

School systems

If you work in government or a school system and wish to partner with the team to undertake research, please contact Professor Eacott to discuss options. These can range from including your system as a site for the projects through to a targeted and tailored project.

Individual or groups of schools

If you work in a school and want to undertake a sub-set of the projects in your school or across a group of schools, please contact Professor Eacott to discuss options. These can range from including your school(s) as site within the larger project or a targeted and tailored project.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Professor Eacott is constantly seeking outstanding researchers to undertake post-doctoral, doctoral (PhD, EdD), research masters and/or honours projects that advance his research program on the provision of education through rigorous and robust social science. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for fellowships / scholarships in their country of origin, or from Australia, that would allow them to travel to Sydney. UNSW offers several highly competitive scholarships for researchers. These range from annual stipends, living allowances, and coverage of tuition fee costs, as well as funding for travel. Further details can be found at the UNSW Graduate Research Scholarship Page.

In addition, Professor Eacott welcomes unfunded applicants wanting to work in the research program. Most importantly, we are looking for highly motivated and talented researchers who believe they have the potential to make a significant contribution to the team.

Professor Eacott's research program is concerned with the deceptively simple question of How accessible are schools for their workforce? Within this agenda, he is currently looking for higher degree researchers (PhD, Honours) to work on multiple projects:

Project 1: School education workforce distribution and H+T costs
Two fatal vulnerabilities in existing teacher shortage discussions are not knowing the current distribution of the workforce and limitations in ratio-based analysis of salaries to costs. As a result, it has proven difficult to develop, implement, and evaluate processes and incentives to match the workforce to schools. This project will deliver, at sale, and overtime, the geospatial profile of the school education workforce and link that to context specific housing and transportation costs.

Project 2: Teacher housing policy and reforms
The complexity of housing and education policy responsibility has made it difficult to assess the impact of initiatives on groups within the workforce. As a result, it is unclear what policies and initiatives have and have not delivered measurable changes overtime. This project will audit and synthesize existing evidence on policies and initiatives aimed at increasing accessibility of workplaces for teachers (and other essential workers) and curate evidence to inform targeted and tailored interventions.

Project 3: Data visualization and infrastructure
Traditional two-dimensional and print presentations often fail to capture the complexity, disparities, and burdens experienced by teachers and other essential workers in accessing their workplaces. We are developing expertise in building integrated data infrastructure and intuitive visualizations to enable policymakers and other stakeholders to identify patterns, make informed decisions, and advocate for targeted interventions. This project will build data infrastructure capable of visualizing hidden trends, highlighting spatial variations, and depicting the interconnections between H+T costs for educators, ultimately leading to more equitable policies, improved supports, and enhanced quality of life.

 

If interested in any of the above projects, and eligible, consider applying for a Scholarship. The next round closes on 26 April 2024 for a T1 2025 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, urban science, data science, social econometrics, public administration, public policy, 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 science frameworks to social problems; 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.


Currently supervising

Current supervised topics include:

- Designing systems to address identify and support vulnerable students

- Re-organising schools to improve equity and excellence

- Improving school conditions for teacher well-being

- Systemic incentives for middle leader recruitment.


My Engagement

Based on his research expertise, Professor Eacott has been engaged by a number of government and industry organizations including:

  • UNESCO 2024/25 GEM Report
  • Commonwealth Department of Education
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Australian Academy of Social Sciences
  • National School Resourcing Board
  • Data Insights Across Departments (DESE)
  • New South Wales Department of Education
  • Steiner Education Australia
  • Montessori Australia
  • Montessori Schools and Centres Australia
  • Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office
  • RMIT Fact Check
  • Major print, radio, and online media (e.g., ABC, Fairfax, NewsCorp) 

 

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) 

MEMBERSHIP

  • 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

My Teaching

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. Current courses taught include:

EDST5142 Education in Context [post-graduate, Term 3 2024]

The claim that context matters is ubiquitous in education. What that means and how it plays out in the provision of education across the lifespan and within and beyond traditional education sites is far less known. This course is designed to deepen your understanding of the intimate relations between education and context. Whether you work in early childhood, schools, tertiary environments or non-traditional spaces (e.g., health, military, non-for-profit, corporates), understanding contexts is imperative to achieving the best possible outcomes. This requires you to think beyond the boundaries of any individual educational site and consider the interplay of demography, geolocation, socio-economic status, access to services, among others, and the provision of education. To do this, you will systematically engage with large-scale education and social data to bring to life the theoretical and conceptual tools necessary to analyse, evaluate, problematise and reconstruct the provision of education.

EDST5433 Organizational Theory in Education [post-graduate, Term 3 2024]

In this course, you will engage in the application of organisation theory to education, and consider scientific management theory, bureaucracy and professional educators, human relations, open systems theory and contemporary critiques of conventional theories of educational organisations. In addition, you will consider important aspects of organisation, including educational goals, organisational culture, educational technology, the educational environment, inter-organisational linkages, organisational effectiveness, and alternative theories of educational organisation.

EDST5608 Instructional Leadership [post-graduate, Term 2 2024]

Judgements regarding effective schools, leaders and teachers have long been grounded in ideas of instructional leadership. In this course, you will examine the research literature relevant to instructional leadership as well as providing practical strategies for building school capacity. Criteria used to evaluate instruction will be considered as well as the relationship between leadership, culture and student outcomes. Contributions made by the principal, team leaders, teachers, community, systems, peers and individual students will be examined. Leadership processes which contribute to improved student outcomes will be analysed. Case studies, both nationally and internationally, of effective and ineffective schools and systems will provide the basis of a strategic framework for future planning. You should be able to relate the knowledge you gain from this course to your own personal and professional contexts.

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