Principal Research Fellow, Policy Analysis & Program Evaluaton
Before joining us in 2001, Sam taught in American and Australian schools and universities and worked in a variety of roles with state education departments in both countries. Since then he has applied his expertise to a variety of high profile projects at ACER. Sam also holds the informal title of most notable ACER team member in Lycra, supporting a number of workplace health initiatives, including the annual Ride to Work Day.
Let’s get to know our fitness enthusiast a little better…
What do you do in your role?
SR: I conduct research and manage research projects on behalf of a number of organisations, such as the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and other state education departments. I concentrate on quantitative analysis to answer research questions. The major focus of my work is the transition from school to work and further education, but I’ve done research work at other levels, including early childhood education, postgraduate study and adult training.
I taught in country New South Wales for around 8 years. For most of that time I worked exclusively with students with reading problems. I’m still concerned with the education in rural and remote areas.
What do you love most about your role?
SR: Opportunities to develop creative solutions to research questions. I like working with younger staff who have recently started their careers. This allows me to pass on some of my knowledge.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
SR: Convincing clients that we are able to provide a finding to their research questions, and that our findings do not necessarily constitute the results they’re expecting. We always need to ensure that any result has a sound education base.
How did you end up in your current field?
SR: I was a teacher and began reading about education. I was particularly interested in why some groups of students continued to achieve at a lower level, even though Australian education prided itself on equity. I then had some questions of my own, which led me into research. I had some excellent mentors in statistical analysis while doing my doctoral studies.
How would you describe ACER, its culture and its people?
SR: Everybody at ACER, in his or her own way, is committed to ensuring that all people achieve in education and training.
When you’re not busy enjoying life at ACER, what keeps you occupied? Any hobbies?
SR: Cycling. I ride about 20km to work every day, then 20km back. And on the weekends, when I’m not cutting the grass or planting vegetables or pruning yet another overgrown tree, I’m out on the roads around the Macedon Ranges, trying to squeeze in a 100km ride or riding up and down Mount Macedon. In the evening I like to relax with some ScandiNoir while enjoying a glass of red.