Sharon Fraser

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Assoc Prof Sharon Fraser

Sharon Fraser

Associate Professor in Science Education

Room A233a, Building A, Newnham Campus

+61 3 6324 3083 (phone)

+61 3 6324 3303 (fax)

Associate Professor Sharon Fraser is a lecturer in science education in the Faculty of Education. Sharon began her academic career as a scientist. After a number of years working in related fields, and teaching in secondary schools, she proceeded into the area of science and more recently STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education research. Sharon has widespread experience in the quality assurance and enhancement of learning and teaching and expertise in the development, conduct and management of strategic education and research projects in higher education. Her research and teaching is centred on raising the awareness about science pedagogical content knowledge, and improving learning through its enhancement.


Prior to re-engaging with her research and teaching in science, Sharon spent six years as the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) for the Faculty of Education in the University of Tasmania. In this role, she was responsible for the leadership of the quality assurance and enhancement of learning and teaching within the Faculty.  Previous to taking up this position in 2008, Sharon was the Program Director of the (e)Learning and Teaching Development Program, and Academic Coordinator of the Teaching Evaluation for Development Service (TEDS) within the Centre for Professional Development (CPD), (now the Learning and Teaching Centre), at Macquarie University. At that time, she was also a senior lecturer in the Institute of Higher Education Research and Development (IHERD), Australian Centre for Educational Studies.  

Sharon's early research focused on the nature of innovation and curriculum change in higher education, particularly in relation to organisational development needs.  More recently, Sharon's research focus has shifted back to science education, with a particular focus on teaching (from early childhood to university) and how the enhancement of science pedagogical content knowledge improves learning. Sharon has published in the field of education and more specifically, science research and education. She has widespread experience in developing professional development resources and mentoring academic staff within universities and other education systems.  In years past, Sharon taught science, mathematics and ICT in high school, and she currently teaches into initial teacher education and postgraduate courses, and supervises honours and postgraduate research students.

Career summary


  • PhD (1986) 'Behavioural and physiological thermoregulatory attributes of an Australian skink, Egernia Cunninghami' University of New England, Australia
  • ScEdD (2008) 'Exploring the meaning that lies within: The essence of innovation for university science educators' Curtin University, Australia
  • BSc (Hons) (1981) 'Insights into the physiological and behavioural thermoregulatory abilities of small lizards' University of Sydney, Australia
  • DipEd (1991) University of Tasmania, Australia


Professional practice

  • Australian Science Teachers Association
  • Affiliate of the Institute for the Study of Social Change
  • Affiliate of the Peter Underwood Centre

Administrative expertise

  • Leadership and project management of large research grants;
  • Leadership of learning and teaching within university faculties / organisational units;
  • Membership Academic Board, Academic Senate, state audit committees, university committees;
  • Assessor - Office of Learning and Teaching (and previous iterations of this organisation);
  • Oversight of course accreditation;
  • Coordination undergraduate and postgraduate units.


Science education; curriculum enhancement and innovation; teacher education; science and mathematics learning and teaching; qualitative and mixed methods research; online learning and teaching

Teaching expertise

Sharon's coursework teaching is mainly focussed on science education as it is experienced in primary, early childhood and secondary initial teacher education degrees.  In these courses, she has also taught into units relating to curriculum and pedagogy (lecturer and tutor) and foundations of teaching (tutor), with the latter role being undertaken in both the Bachelor of Education and Master of Teaching initial teacher education courses.  Her postgraduate teaching has focussed on science education, curriculum development and leadership in learning and teaching.

Teaching responsibility


View more on AssocProf Sharon Fraser in WARP


  • Science education
  • Science pedagogical content knowledge
  • Science and mathematics learning
  • Initial teacher education
  • Curriculum and innovation
  • Mixed methods research

Research Themes

Sharon's research aligns with two of the University's research themes - Creativity, Culture and Society (CCS), and Data, Knowledge and Decisions.   Her research is focussed on facilitating improvement at all levels of learning and education in society broadly, and science teaching and curriculum design more specifically, to ultimately improve the learning experiences and outcomes of students.  Improvements in science education will enhance the scientific literacy of learners and ultimately society as a whole, which will enable citizens to make informed and efficacious choices based upon a thorough interest in and understanding of science. To this end enabling science educators and teachers more generally, to use existing systemic and local information and generate and use new data to inform their practice is a key goal.


Sharon is currently involved in an international project led by the University of Reading, and several national projects in collaboration with other Australian universities, which are aimed at exploring science and mathematics education.

Current projects

The aim of Sharon's research is to improve the outcomes of teaching and learning, particular in science. Sharon is interested in working with like-minded scholars from all levels of education in order to achieve this goal.  Specific aspects of the educational endeavour which provide a focus for her interest include the concepts of science pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), authentic learning and the interrelationship of the disciplines of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Much of the research Sharon is engaged in is detailed via the following website:

Fields of Research

  • Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
  • Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
  • Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
  • Learning Sciences (130309)
  • Sociology of Education (160809)
  • Higher Education (130103)
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
  • Preventive Medicine (111716)
  • Specialist Studies in Education (130399)
  • Religion Curriculum and Pedagogy (130211)
  • Continuing and Community Education (130101)
  • Education (139999)
  • Community Child Health (111704)
  • Health Promotion (111712)
  • Family Care (111707)
  • Educational Administration, Management and Leadership (130304)
  • English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL) (130204)
  • Secondary Education (130106)
  • Primary Education (excl. Maori) (130105)

Research Objectives

  • Teacher and Instructor Development (930202)
  • Learner and Learning (930199)
  • Syllabus and Curriculum Development (930302)
  • Education and Training Systems (930599)
  • Health Education and Promotion (920205)
  • Pedagogy (930201)
  • Learner and Learning Processes (930102)
  • Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum (930301)
  • Workforce Transition and Employment (939908)
  • School/Institution Community and Environment (930402)
  • School/Institution Policies and Development (930403)
  • Equity and Access to Education (939903)
  • Education and Training (939999)
  • Learner and Learning Achievement (930101)
  • Child Health (920501)
  • Rural Health (920506)
  • Education and Training Systems Policies and Development (930501)
  • Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) (920408)
  • Learner Development (930103)
  • Teaching and Instruction Technologies (930203)
  • Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions (930401)
  • Resourcing of Education and Training Systems (930503)


Over the years Sharon's publication output has related closely to the roles she has undertaken in the workplace, the research grants she has participated in and the students' research that she has supervised.  Hence their focus, albeit related to the education or educative endeavour, is eclectic.  Sharon is particularly delighted to write collaboratively and she currently has a number draft papers that she is working on with colleagues.  

One of Sharon's current interests is to research collaboratively with colleagues from other faculties within the university and school sectors (particularly colleagues from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines).  Sharon believes that bringing together the understandings and epistemologies of such diverse scholars and people working within the discipline of Education, can only improve our ability to enhance practice and improve the learning outcomes of our students.

Total publications


Journal Article

(15 outputs)
2017Corbett Michael John, Fraser SP, Reaburn RL, Smith H, Roberts J, et al., 'Building a new generation: Community Expectations on raising aspirations in rural Tasmania', Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27, (3) pp. 8-24. ISSN 1036-0026 (2017) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Corbett Michael John; Reaburn RL; Smith H

2017Reaburn RL, Fraser SP, Smith H, Roberts J, Fielding-Wells J, et al., 'Aspire High: Impacting student aspirations in a regional community', Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 27, (3) pp. 73-89. ISSN 1036-0026 (2017) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reaburn RL; Smith H; Corbett Michael John

2016Beswick K, Fraser S, Crowley S, ''No wonder out-of-field teachers struggle!' - Unpacking the thinking of expert teachers', Australian Mathematics Teacher, 72, (4) pp. 16-20. ISSN 0045-0685 (2016) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Beswick K; Crowley S

2016Fraser S, 'Discovering and advancing school students' perceptions of the relationships between science and religion', Dialogue Australasia, 36 pp. 30-33. ISSN 1832-1976 (2016) [Professional, Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2016Fraser SP, 'Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK): Exploring its usefulness for science lecturers in higher education', Research in Science Education, 46, (1) pp. 141-161. ISSN 0157-244X (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11165-014-9459-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2016Mainsbridge CP, Cooley D, Fraser SP, Pedersen SJ, 'A workplace intervention designed to interrupt prolonged occupational sitting: Self-reported perceptions of health from a cohort of desk-based employees over 26 weeks', International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 9, (2) pp. 221-237. ISSN 1753-8351 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1108/IJWHM-01-2015-0005 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mainsbridge CP; Cooley D; Pedersen SJ


2016Seen A, Fraser S, Beswick K, Penson M, Whannell R, 'Marketing an alternate model for science and mathematics initial teacher education', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41, (11) pp. 77-89. ISSN 0313-5373 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.14221/ajte.2016v41n11.6 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Seen A; Beswick K; Penson M; Whannell R


2015Fraser SP, 'Transformative science teaching in higher education', Journal of Transformative Education, 13, (2) pp. 140-160. ISSN 1552-7840 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1541344615571417 [eCite] [Details]


2014Mainsbridge C, Cooley PD, Fraser SP, Pedersen SJ, 'The effect of an e-health intervention designed to reduce prolonged occupational sitting on mean arterial pressure', Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56, (11) pp. 1189-1194. ISSN 1536-5948 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000243 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Mainsbridge C; Cooley PD; Pedersen SJ


2014Mainsbridge C, Swabey K, Fraser S, Penney D, 'Youth physical activity and health interventions: Ineffective and ill-conceived action?', Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport & Physical Education, 5, (2) pp. 133-150. ISSN 1837-7130 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/18377122.2014.906058 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mainsbridge C; Swabey K


2013Klebansky A, Fraser SP, 'A strategic approach to curriculum design for information literacy in teacher education - implementing an information literacy conceptual framework', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38, (11) Article 7. ISSN 0313-5373 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.14221/ajte.2013v38n11.5 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Klebansky A


2012Cooper G, Kenny J, Fraser S, 'Influencing intended teaching practice: Exploring pre-service teachers' perceptions of science teaching resources', International Journal of Science Education, 34, (12) pp. 1883-1908. ISSN 0950-0693 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2012.698762 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Cooper G; Kenny J


2006Fraser SP, 'Shaping the University Curriculum through Partnerships and Critical Conversations', International Journal for Academic Development, 11, (1) pp. 5-17. ISSN 1360-144X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/13601440600578748 [eCite] [Details]


2006Fraser SP, Bosanquet AM, 'The Curriculum? That's just a unit outline isn't it?', Studies in Higher Education, 31, (3) pp. 269-284. ISSN 0307-5079 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/03075070600680521 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 67Web of Science - 52


1998Collis KF, Jones BL, Sprod TJ, Watson JM, Fraser SP, 'Mapping Development in Students' Understanding of Vision using a Cognitive Structural Model', International Journal of Science Education, 20, (1) pp. 45-66. ISSN 0950-0693 (1998) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/0950069980200104 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Collis KF; Jones BL; Sprod TJ; Watson JM


Chapter in Book

(2 outputs)
2016Fraser S, 'Constructing an Identity: A Key to Learning', What is Next in Educational Research?, Sense Publishers, S Fan, J Fielding-Wells (ed), The Netherlands, pp. 71-78. ISBN 9789463005227 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

2014Fraser SP, 'Investigating teachers' experiences', The Future of Educational Research, Sense Publishers, N Fitzallen, S Fan & R Reaburn (ed), Netherlands, pp. 79-85. ISBN 978-94-6209-512-0 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Conference Publication

(12 outputs)
2017Chand D, Kenny JDJ, Fraser SP, 'Drawings as a vehicle for student generated representations to learning of sciences in Fijian primary schools', ASERA 2017 Conference Book, 27-30 June 2017, Sydney, Australia, pp. 4. (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kenny JDJ

2016Fraser S, ''Yeah now that I've thought about it I'll probably think about it more'', Science and Religion in Education Conference 2016 - Abstracts, 28 October 2016, Oxford, UK, pp. 1. (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2016Fraser S, Penson M, Seen A, Beswick K, Whannell R, 'Cross faculty collaboration in the development of an integrated mathematics and science pre-service teacher education program', Proceedings of the 4th International STEM in Education Conference, 26-28 October 2016, Beijing, China, pp. 49. (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Penson M; Seen A; Beswick K; Whannell R

2016Reaburn R, Kilpatrick S, Fraser S, Beswick K, Muir T, 'What's happening in Australian mathematics professional learning?', Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, 27 November - 1 December 2016, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pp. 1-13. ISSN 1324-9320 (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reaburn R; Kilpatrick S; Beswick K; Muir T

2016Fraser S, 'An alternative model for mathematics and science initial teacher education', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, 28-30 September 2016, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1. ISBN 978-0-9871834-4-6 (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2012Jones SM, Skalicky JL, West ML, Fraser SP, Walls JT, et al., 'Developing a scholarly approach to teaching and learning leadership through a Peer Professional Learning Program', Developing a scholarly approach to teaching and learning leadership through a Peer Professional Learning Program, October, 22 - 27, 2012, Hamilton Convention Centre & Sheraton Hamilton Hot, pp. 110. (2012) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Jones SM; Skalicky JL; West ML; Walls JT; Yates BF

2011Mainsbridge C, Cooley P, Pedersen S, Fraser S, Cosgrove M, 'The effect of a computer-based workplace health and wellbeing program on workplace health culture', Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, 27 November - 1 December 2011, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 1-14. ISSN 1324-9320 (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mainsbridge C; Cooley P; Pedersen S

2007Bilgin A, Fraser SP, 'Empowering Students to be the Judges of their own Performance Through Peer Assessment', Proceedings of the IASE Satellite Conference on Assessing Student Learning in Statistics, 19-21 August 2007, Portugal, pp. 1-10. ISBN 978-90-73592-27-8 (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Harvey M, Fraser SP, 'Building Capacity for Sustainable Leadership in Higher Education Assessment', AARE 2007 Focus Conference Proceedings, 13-14 June 2007, Canberra, pp. 1-13. ISBN 978-0-9775685-1-2 (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2004Fraser SP, 'Conversations for Shared Understanding - Academic Developers and Faculty working in Partnership to Shape the Curriculum', International Consortium for Educational Development 2004, 21-23 June 2004, Canada, pp. 1-18. ISBN 978-1-4020-9731-7 (2004) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2003Jamie I, Fraser SP, Haklani C, 'Catalysing the Transition into the Unknown: A Student Advocate in Chemistry Education', Learning for an Unknown Future, 6-9 July 2003, New Zealand, pp. 316-325. ISBN 0-90-8557-55-8 (2003) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

1995Jones BL, Collis KF, Watson JM, Sprod TJ, Fraser SP, 'Mapping development of students' understanding of vision', 25th AARE Conference, Hobart, pp. 1 - 15. (1995) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Jones BL; Collis KF; Watson JM; Sprod TJ

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(1 outputs)
2017Corbett Michael John, Fraser SP, Beswick K, Smith H, Wells Jill, et al., 'Report of the program evaluation of Dream Big'', Burnie City Council, Launceston, Tasmania, Final (2017) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Corbett Michael John; Beswick K; Smith H; Wells Jill; Reaburn RL; McCarthy RJ; Roberts JV; McLeod CJ; Sutton GN; Smith CJ; Page LA

Grants & Funding

2015 – 2017  University of Tasmania: Strategic Research Funding 'Creating and Researching a culture of Educational Attainment in Tasmanian Education (CREATE)'  $,500,000

Awarded to:      Faculty of Education, UTAS   Contribution: Project team member

2014 – 2018 Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc.  'Being human: Discovering and advancing school students' perceptions of the relationship between science and religion'.

Funds:                  £613,656 GBP / $1,045,714 AUD

Awarded to:      University of Reading, UK    Contribution: Project team member

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Towards Educating Mathematics Professionals Encompassing Science and Technology (TEMPEST) (2014 - 2016)$1,738,070
This project (TEMPEST) will provide teachers of mathematics K-12 including in the VET sector with: a collaboratively developed national framework for the creation, implementation, and evaluation of quality professional learning (PL); and quality PL resources addressing identified needs particularly related to the applications of mathematics in science, ICT (particularly informatics) and engineering (STEM disciplines).
Department of Industry and Science ($1,738,070)
Grant-Aust Maths and Science Partnership Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Beswick K; Fraser SP; Callingham RA; Kilpatrick SI; Seen AJ; Muir T; Chick HL; Reaburn RL; Wells J; Fitzallen NE; Oates GN
2014 - 2016
Being Human: Discovering and Advancing School Students' Perceptions of the Relationships between Science and Religion (2014 - 2017)$1,173,127
The proposed project will be the first major research project to study primary and secondary school students' perceptions of what science and religion say about the soul and free will, a domain that is relatively 'untouched' in educational research. The project will seek to identify ways to support young people's curiosity in this area and to foster their developing insight into the relationships between science and religion on the question of what it means to be human. The motivation for the project comes in part from our previous research which shows that in schools today, most children have few if any opportunities to ask questions about how science and religion relate. This theme is one which for many reasons seems to have considerable potential as a way to strengthen and increase children's access to ideas and discussion.
Templeton World Charity Foundation ($1,173,127)
Administered By
Canterbury Christ Church University
Research Team
Bellingsley B; Fraser SP; Davies Paul; Riga F; Newdick H
2014 - 2017
Improving Literacy and Numeracy across Years 5 to 8 in response to the outcomes of the NAPLAN results in Years 7 and 9 (2013 - 2015)$200,000
The aim of this project is to work with four secondary schools and one district high school and their associated primary schools as a cluster, in an actioned-based research approach, that has a strong focus on teacher staff professional learning using the school principal as curriculum leader as a key element. The project will work to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes of high school students targeting the transition from primary to high school as a key determinant of likely success. The purpose of the action research is to explore issues, share best practice pedagogy, beliefs and practices to investigate how the performance of students in Years 7 and 9 can be improved.
Department of Education Tasmania ($200,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Fraser SP; Callingham RA; Beswick K; Hay I; Moltow DT; Chick HL; Brett P; Muir T
2013 - 2015
Inspiring mathematics and science in teacher education (2013 - 2016)$2,200,000
This project aims to: 1) identify ways in which interdisciplinary relationships between mathematics and science educators and mathematicians and scientists can develop and be maintained both within and between universities; 2) identify characteristics of initial teacher education programs that enhance the confidence and knowledge of pre-service teachers to teach mathematics and science; and 3) identify characteristics of successful science course innovations that increase the numbers of science graduates aspiring to teaching careers.
Department of Industry and Science ($2,200,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Beswick K; Fraser SP; Seen AJ; Hilder EF; Penesis I; Thomas GA
2013 - 2016
Evaluating and selecting STEM resources: capacity building for teachers in rural and regional schools (2013)$378,000
The project aims to establish a sustainable model for building confidence and capacity of rural and regional primary and junior secondary teachers of science, technology and mathematics (STEM) through a teacher and expert jointly-developed framework for teacher analysis, critique, and evaluation of STEM resources.
Department of Industry and Science ($378,000)
Grant-Aust Maths and Science Partnership Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Kilpatrick SI; Fraser SP; Beswick K; Chin CKH; Fitzallen NE; Fluck A; Penesis I; Leon de la Barra BA; Ranmuthugala SD; Seen AJ; Thomas GA; Harte D

Research Supervision






EdDParamedic Preceptors - A Question of Work Readiness in Graduate Paramedics2010
EdDDeveloping Robust Flexible Methodologies that Assess the Limits of Knowledge and Understanding of Neonatal Nursing Practice; Incorporating Cognitive Processes Required of Professional Practice, Interpersonal Competence and Intrapersonal Qualities2012
PhDTasmanian Coastal Waste and Marine Debris: An investigation into causal factors and educational strategies to address coastal waste and marine debris in Tasmania2013
PhD'So are we all clear on that?'How Does the Communication between Teachers, Students and Parents Impact on Student Success?2014
PhDBecoming an accomplished professional: a narrative, spatial and visual understanding in a learning-deprived culture2014
PhDSo What About STEM Skills in the Workforce: Perspectives from Industry2017


PhDOvercoming Barriers and Making Higher Education More Accessible to Vocational Education and Training Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds: A Malaysian perspective
Candidate: Choon Lin Chong
PhDThe Effect of a Workplace Intervention Designed to Interrupt Prolonged Occupational Sitting on the Health of Desk-based Employees
Candidate: Casey Peter Mainsbridge
PhDScience Fiction Texts, Gender and Transformation
Candidate: Matthew John Coleman
PhDI am a YouTuber A netnographic approach to profiling teen use of YouTube
Candidate: Sun Hee Jang
PhDEngagement, Technology and Tutors: Experiences of Distance Online Students
Candidate: Allan David Herrmann
PhDTransition to Secondary School: Student Achievement and Teacher Practice
Candidate: Belinda Hopwood