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Research Chair in Early Childhood, University of South Australia

Professor Pauline Harris is the Lillian de Lissa Research Chair, Early Childhood (Research) at the University of South Australia, in partnership with South Australia Department for Education and Childhood Development.

Professor Harris has an outstanding international record in early childhood research, with particular expertise in children's language, literacy and literature; children's voices, participation and citizenship; and matters related to the nexus of early childhood research, policy and practice.

She has authored five books, the latest being Children as Citizens: Engaging with the Child’s Voice in Educational Settings (Harris and Manatakis, 2013, Routledge).

As lead researcher of collaborative teams, Professor Harris has led development of new knowledge and methods for:

• Engaging with young children as citizens to enhance their participation – supported by de Lissa funds, with outcome pending for ARC Linkage Proposal; and leading to 20 publications, including Children as Citizens (2013, Routledge).

• Operationalising socio-culturally inclusive and educationally, sociologically and linguistically informed models of language/literacy development and education– supported by current Category 1 AusAID ADRAS grant, an ARC Large, four ARC Smalls/Strategic and two university grants, producing over 50 publications, invited keynotes, and most recently an invited book chapter (Springer, 2015).

• Strengthening relationships among research, policy and practice in early childhood and language/literacy education – supported by two ARC Discoveries and three Faculty Research Grants; leading to over 20 outputs.

Professor Harris currently is the Lead Chief Investigator of an ARC Discovery Grant, The National English Curriculum: Understanding the development, interpretation and implementation of disciplinary knowledge, one of seven ARC Grants (three Discovery/Large and four ARC Small/Strategic) she has been awarded as Lead CI during her career. She also leads an AusAID Category 1 ADRAS-funded research project, Developing a Community Approach to Supporting Literacy for Preschoolers in Fiji. In total,

Professor Harris has earned $1.35 million in research funding. Further details of her research grants can be found at the end of this Introduction. Professor Harris completed her Doctoral studies at the University of California Berkeley, supported by two scholarships and a fellowship. She had previously completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Sydney, where here studies were supported by a teacher education Scholarship and where she won two education Society prizes during the course of her studies and graduated Dux of her graduating year

She worked as an early years’ teacher for the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities for several years She then took up an academic appointment at the University of Wollongong, where she worked for 20 years prior to commencing her current appointment. In her role as de Lissa Chair and with a focus on early childhood (birth to eight years), Professor Harris:

• Leads the development and implementation of research projects and their application to policy and practice • Encourages and conducts research that is of strategic importance

• Facilitates collaborative and cross-disciplinary research with academics, policymakers, educators and other early childhood professionals, government agencies, and non-government and civic organisations

• Advises on implications of research findings for policy and practice

• Leads the formulation of professional development programs, postgraduate studies and postgraduate research.


  • –present
    Research Chair, Early Childhood , University of South Australia