Staff Profile


Career Summary


I am currently a Doctoral Candidate and Sessional Academic in the School of Education. My research is in the field of Educational Psychology, particularly metacognitive and epistemic beliefs. I began working in this area during my Master of Education degree in 2010. I also work in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, advising staff and students about the effective integration and development of Academic Literacies. This role involves working with various discipline areas across the University, as well as organising and implementing workshop programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I have also conducted research into RHD Students' experiences of Academic Literacies development, which I presented in the UK in 2012. 


  • Master of Educational Studies, University of Newcastle, 02/02/2011
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Exeter - UK, 24/07/2003
  • Master of Applied Linguistics, University of Newcastle, 12/12/2008
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Exeter - UK, 01/07/2002


Research keywords

  • Epistemic Beliefs
  • Higher Education
  • Metacognition

Research expertise

My doctoral study focuses on individuals’ epistemic, metacognitive and affective characteristics, collectively referred to as dispositional attributes, and their relationships to learning in postgraduate education. It is hypothesised that postgraduate coursework students' academic achievement is influenced by the dispositional attributes they bring to their learning. I am exploring relationships between dispositional attributes and how they might interact to predict academic achievement. A second thread of this work is the examination of consistency of such relationships across different groups, with a particular emphasis on relationships between cultural background and both dispositional attributes and academic achievement. Ultimately, recommendations will be made for pedagogical application of these findings to promote cross-culturally effective teaching and learning. I am also actively engaged in the discipline of Academic Literacies, particularly at the postgraduate level.


  • English

Fields of Research

170103Educational Psychology60
139900Other Education30
130103Higher Education10


My PhD Supervisors are Dr Robert Cantwell and Dr Jill Scevak.


Administrative expertise

Primarily, my administrative tasks support my teaching in the School of Education and at the Centre for Teaching and Learning. I am involved in curriculum design and review, marking and assessment, and student consultations.

I am also a sub-editor for the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), and a member of the Centre for the Study of Research Training and Impact (SORTI), and the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE).


Teaching keywords

  • Academic Literacies
  • Educational Psychology
  • English as a Second Language

Teaching expertise

I have a strong background in education, having taught at High School as well as at the Language Centre and the School of Education at the University of Newcastle. My full-time position is as a Language and Learning Adviser in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. I also regularly teach in to an Educational Psychology class which forms part of the Bachelor of Teaching.



For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Chapter (1 outputs)

2014Cantwell RH, Scevak JJ, Spray EJ, ''I thought I knew this stuff but apparently I don't': Understanding transition into university-level thinking', Aspirations, Access and Attainment: Current International Perspectives on Widening Participation., Routledge, Abingdon 136-149 (2014) [B1]

Co-authors: JILL SCEVAK

Journal article (1 outputs)

2013Spray EJ, Scevak JJ, Cantwell RH, 'Personal epistemological and metacognitive awareness in first year preservice education students.', Australian Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, 13 44-57 (2013) [C1]

Co-authors: JILL SCEVAK

Conference (3 outputs)

2012Spray EJ, Hunt JW, 'Research students' experiences of Academic Literacies development.',, Celtic Manor, Wales, UK (2012) [E3]
2012Spray EJ, 'Connecting Concepts: A cross-cultural study of inter-relations between metacognition, affect and epistemic beliefs.', Postgraduate Research in Education: HDR Student Conference Proceedings, University of New South Wales (2012)
2011Spray EJ, Scevak JJ, Cantwell RH, 'Personal epistemological and metacognitive awareness (PEMA) in first year university students', EARLI 2011 14th Biennial Conference: Education for a Global Networked Society. Book of Abstracts and Extended Summaries, Exeter (2011) [E3]

Co-authors: JILL SCEVAK


Grants and Funding

No funding.


Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions0

No Supervisions.


Ms Erika Spray

Work Phone4921 7361
Fax4921 6827
Centre for Teaching and Learning
Academic Division
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Casual Academic
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaPsychology
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308