Heidi Smith

UTAS Home Dr Heidi Smith

Heidi Smith

Adjunct Lecturer in Outdoor and Sustainability Education

Room A228, Building A, Newnham Campus

+61 3 6324 3511 (phone)

Dr Heidi Smith lectures in Teacher Education and Outdoor and Sustainability Education. Heidi's time at the University of Tasmania has seen her teaching predominantly in the area of Outdoor and Sustainability Education (2005-2016)0, but also in Teacher Education specialising in the transition from student to professional teacher (2011-current). In 2012, she undertook a 3 month guest lecturer/researcher position at the University in Marburg Germany within the Masters of Transcultural European Outdoor Studies Program and the Master of Arbentuer und Erlebnispedagoegik (Adventure and experiential learning). During Study Leave in 2017, she visited the University of Innsbruck, Austria and their Master of Arts Program in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation. Heidi brings a strong national and international perspective to her teaching and teacher education.


Prior to starting work at the University in 2005, Heidi had an extensive career teaching primary and secondary students as well as university students and adults in a range of education contexts including government and private schools, specialist programs (e.g., youth at risk,, prison transition, corporate business, people with disabilities/chronic and terminal illness) and skills training (e.g., facilitation, outdoor skills). During this time, Heidi taught in a range of states including NSW, Victoria, Queensland and overseas in London, UK.

Career summary


  • PhD (2012) 'Extraordinary outdoor leaders: An Australian case study' University of Wollongong, Australia.
  • Assessor and Trainer in Certificate II-Iv and Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (2004), Far North Queensland Technical and Further Education (TAFE).
  • Master of Arts, Outdoor Education (1999) Griffith University, Australia.
  • Bachelor of Education (Hons) (1996) Personal Development Health and Physical Education, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Languages (other than English)



Professional practice

  • Australian Tertiary Outdoor Educators Network (ATOEN)
  • Higher Education Research and Development Society Australasia Inc.
  • Outdoor Education Tasmania
  • Early Childhood Education Tasmania, North

Administrative expertise

Heidi has demonstrated an ability to manage research project teams, large teams of tutors in teaching, and supporting colleagues in the courses for which she has leadership responsibility (Bachelor of Education Primary and Associate Degree Education Support, and previously, Outdoor Education).


Extraordinary leadership, teacher education, improving teacher quality, praxis, online learning, ePortfolios, space architecture, place, outdoor learning, outdoor education, indigenous ways of knowing, reflective journal writing

Teaching expertise

Heidi has expertise in teaching outdoor and sustainability education, in particular she demonstrates strength in making theory come alive in practice. She also has demonstrated expertise in supporting students to transition from University student to Professional Teacher. Heidi is an empathetic leader who draws on years of teaching leadership to others (school age and adults) in a range of contexts (education and business), as well as providing leadership to the Faculty through Course Coordination roles, and as co-leader of the Professional Studies Stream (Curriculum and Pedagogy Units).

Teaching responsibility

Unit Coordinator and Lecturer (Bachelor of Education HPE, Primary, Early Childhood and Master of Teaching).

Heidi no longer leads or teaches the Outdoor Education Teaching Specialisation due to its closure in 2017.

View more on Dr Heidi Smith in WARP


  • Extraordinary Outdoor Leadership (Theory and Practice)
  • Outdoor Education/Learning
  • Deep Nature Connection
  • Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Pedagogical Praxis
  • Reflective Journal Writing
  • Online Learning and ePortfolios
  • Contemporary Pedagogies for Deep Learning

Research Themes

Heidi's research aligns with the University's research themes of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and Creativity, Culture and Society. Her research interests all work towards improving the quality of education in both schools and tertiary education in terms of leadership, curriculum and pedagogy. Heidi's doctoral research explored 'Extraordinary Leadership' and resulted in a new classification of leadership theories, three new levels of leadership and four key elements of extraordinary leadership. Other research projects she is currently undertaking include the following areas: transculturality, internationalisation, deep nature connection, building relationships with nature through indigenous knowledge, learning space architecture, ePortfolios, and contemporary pedagogies for deep learning. She has been awarded internal and external grants to support these projects. The majority of Heidi's research utilises case study, autobiography and narrative methodologies, however, she is open to all qualitative methodologies and working on mixed methods projects.


Heidi collaborates consistently with national and international colleagues through a range of research projects, visiting scholar opportunities, and through national and international conferences. These collaborations consistently result in changes to teaching practice, pedagogical understandings and research output.

Current projects

Chief Investigator:

  • Smith, H.A. Transforming education: Bush schools and nature connection.
  • Smith, H.A. Re-imagining online learning experiences: Using social media to support development of nature connection in an urban space.
  • Smith, H.A., & Segbers, T.  Transcultural experience of the students and staff of the Masters of Transcultural European Outdoor Studies program.
  • Smith, H.A. & Albert, A. Dealing with fear: Combining sports psychology mental training techniques with outdoor learning.


  • Moltow, D., Smith, H.A., Kinnear, V., & Aarons, H. Beyond a phenomenology of learning space architecture.
  • Dyment, J.E., Smith, H.A., O’Connell, T.‘On-line’ vs ‘Pen and Paper’ journals: Influences of reflective journal type on Quality of Reflection and Student Experience.

Completed projects:

  • Smith, H. A., Holmes, M., Forde, M., Exploring the effectiveness of the ‘BushSense Workshop’ on developing human-nature relationships in individuals incorporating indigenous knowledge and experiential learning.
  • Smith, H.A., Dyment, J.E., & Hill, A. Online Teaching and Learning in Outdoor and Sustainability Education Units:  An Investigation of Potential.
  • Smith, H.A., & McKenna, P. Improving Outdoor Leadership Practice: Developing awareness of self, others and environment.
  • Smith, H.A. & Drummy, M. Future pedagogies in higher education: 21st century pedagogical practice, learning environment and learning partnerships.

Fields of Research

  • Physical Education and Development Curriculum and Pedagogy (130210)
  • Education Systems (130199)
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
  • Sociology of Education (160809)
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
  • Specialist Studies in Education (130399)
  • Higher Education (130103)
  • Education (139999)
  • Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
  • Primary Education (excl. Maori) (130105)
  • Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy (130201)
  • English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL) (130204)

Research Objectives

  • Learner and Learning Processes (930102)
  • Education and Training (939999)
  • Teaching and Instruction (930299)
  • Learner and Learning Achievement (930101)
  • Teaching and Instruction Technologies (930203)
  • Equity and Access to Education (939903)
  • Learner Development (930103)
  • Syllabus and Curriculum Development (930302)
  • Learner and Learning (930199)


As a researcher Heidi has published research articles arising from her PhD 'Extraordinary Outdoor Leaders: An Australian Case Study, and from a number of research projects which have developed from her teaching practice both in schools and at university. Heidi regularly reviews for a range of journals and publishers.

  • Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education (JOEE) (previously, Australian Journal of Outdoor Education)
  • Journal of Experiential Learning (JEE)
  • Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning (JAEOL)
  • Human Movement, Health and Coach Education (HMHCE)
  • Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy (PESP)
  • Cambridge
  • Common Ground Publishing

Total publications


Journal Article

(10 outputs)
2018Dyment J, Downing J, Hill A, Smith H, ' I did think it was a bit strange taking outdoor education online': exploration of initial teacher education students' online learning experiences in a tertiary outdoor education unit', Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 18, (1) pp. 70-85. ISSN 1472-9679 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2017.1341327 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3

Co-authors: Dyment J; Downing J; Hill A


2018Smith H, Segbers T, 'The impact of transculturality on student experience of higher education', Journal of Experiential Education, 41, (1) pp. 75-89. ISSN 1053-8259 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1053825917750406 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2


2017Corbett M, Fraser S, Reaburn R, 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 1839-7387 (2017) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Corbett M; Fraser S; Reaburn R


2017Reaburn R, Fraser S, 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 R; Fraser S; Corbett M


2016Smith HA, Dyment JE, Hill A, Downing J, ' You want us to teach outdoor education where?' Reflections on teaching outdoor education online', Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 16, (4) pp. 303-317. ISSN 1472-9679 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2016.1147966 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Dyment JE; Hill A; Downing J


2015O'Connell T, Dyment JE, Smith HA, 'Students' appropriation, rejection and perceptions of creativity in reflective journals', International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 27, (1) pp. 1-13. ISSN 1812-9129 (2015) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Dyment JE


2014Clayton K, Smith H, Dyment JE, 'Pedagogical approaches to exploring theory-practice relationships in an outdoor education teacher education programme', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42, (2) pp. 167-185. ISSN 1359-866X (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/1359866X.2014.894494 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Dyment JE


2013Babaee M, Fan S, Smith H, 'Fostering Autonomous Learning: A Holistic View', International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, 19, (3) pp. 47-55. ISSN 2327-7963 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.18848/2327-7963/CGP/v19i03/48914 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Fan S


2013Dyment J, Morse M, Shaw S, Smith H, 'Curriculum development in outdoor education: Tasmanian teachers' perspectives on the new pre-tertiary outdoor leadership course', Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 14, (1) pp. 82-99. ISSN 1472-9679 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2013.776863 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2

Co-authors: Dyment J


2010Smith H, Penney D, 'Effective, exemplary, extraordinary? Towards an understanding of extraordinary outdoor leadership', Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 14, (1) pp. 23-29. ISSN 1324-1486 (2010) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Penney D

Conference Publication

(1 outputs)
2009Smith H, 'Learning from real life 'extraordinary' outdoor leaders', Outdoor Education Research and Theory: Critical Reflections, New Directions , 15-18 April 2009, Victoria, Australia, pp. 1-10. (2009) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(2 outputs)
2017Corbett M, Fraser S, Beswick K, Smith H, Wells J, et al., 'Dream Big evaluation: Final Report', University of Tasmania, Australia (2017) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Corbett M; Fraser S; Beswick K; Wells J; Reaburn R; McCarthy R; Roberts J; McLeod C; Sutton G; Smith C

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; Fraser SP; Beswick K; Wells Jill; Reaburn RL; McCarthy RJ; Roberts JV; McLeod CJ; Sutton GN; Smith CJ; Page LA


(1 outputs)
2011Smith H, 'Extraordinary outdoor leaders: An Australian case study' (2011) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Heidi has consistently applied for and received funding for a range of projects. In addition, she provided co-leadership to a large project with a significant funding allocation ($80,000) under the guidance of Professor Beswick (2015-2016) which resulted in an Evaluation Report and subsequent journal publications (in press). She continues to apply for funding and is open to working collaboratively with colleagues to achieve success.

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



The King Island Digital Stories (KIDS) Project (2016)$20,000
King Island District High School is a vibrant community-based school on an isolated island in the middle of Bass Strait. The children at the school benefit from living in a unique and pristine environmental setting but are somewhat disadvantaged by their isolation and lack of connection with the wider world. The purpose of this project is to harness digital technologies to enable the children to represent their ideas and perspectives about their special environment to share with a wider audience. Through this process the children will learn how to use technologies for communication and will develop their multi-literacy skills by preparing content for an authentic audience on a subject that is essential for the community environmental sustainability. The project will directly involve approximately 20 children and their teacher/s from the mid-primary range (Years 3-5) at King Island District High School. The first stage of the project will find out what the children already know about their environment. The children be asked to write about an aspect of the environment and then this understanding will be explored through interview and visits to the environment using a sensory ethnography approach. In the second stage the project team will bring together teachers, university mentors and local environmental experts to design a program to extend the childrens understanding of the environment. This process will be used to identify key issues and characteristics of King Island and determine what the children should be learning about this unique environment. The program will be implemented over a term, with the children and teachers working with university mentors and experts to investigate environmental topics. The children will be supported to collect and document material for their digital resources and then create their digital stories. The stories will be published as e-books that can be accessed freely on mobile devices and the web. These books will be promoted to the community and to a wider audience off-island and used to support further curriculum activity, possibly including connections with other schools.At the end of the project, the children will be asked to write again about their environmental understandings. It is anticipated that when a child produces informed content in an authentic context, they are more likely to communicate their ideas more effectively.
Tasmanian Community Fund ($20,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Masters JE; Smith H; Murfet B
Improving outdoor leadership practice: Developing awareness of self, others and the environment (2013)$6,000
Maroon Outdoor Education Centre ($6,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Smith H

Research Supervision

Heidi supervises Honours, Masters, Educational Doctorate, and Doctor of Philosophy students. She has several completions at Masters level, and two with First Class Honours at the Honours Level. As a supervisor, she is open to projects that focus on improving teacher/teaching quality in schools and higher education including leadership, outdoor learning, nature connection, praxis and online learning/ePortfolios. Heidi is keen to work with students on a topic that is relevant to them and something they are passionate about and also welcomes students to extend projects she is already working on. Heidi is open to working with new students, and welcomes them to come and interview her for the possibility of supervision.






PhDCan Teaching Ethical Principles, Values and Decision Making Models in an Upper Secondary Educational Setting Develop Active Ethical Awareness2017
PhDMotivation, Expectations and Realities of the Teaching Profession: Phenomenology of novice teachers in Ghana2017


EdDThe Facilitation of Self-Directed Learning inTeachers through Person-Centred Coaching
Candidate: Jamie Allan Schmitz
PhDThe Role of E-Portfolios in Higher Education: The experience of pre-service teachers
Candidate: Maliheh Babaee