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Career Summary


Rachel Buchanan is a teaching and research academic in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her teaching specialisation is educational foundations, and she has published in the areas of educational philosophy, ethics, pedagogy, sociology, and education policy and politics. Her research interest centres on social justice and equity in education, leading to her work in projects on academic literacy, widening participation, educational policy, digital identity and the equity implications of the increased use of digital technologies.


  • PhD (Education), University of Newcastle, 13/12/2010
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours), University of Newcastle, 31/01/2001
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), University of Newcastle, 03/12/1999


Research keywords

  • Digital Identity
  • Digital Knowledge
  • Education Policy
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Educational Technology
  • Equity and Social Justice
  • Politics of Education
  • Professional Ethics
  • Teacher Education

Research expertise

Rachel is an early career researcher who applies critical interdisciplinary social theory to research in education. Her research spans the applied areas of Teacher Education, Widening Participation, Digital Identity and Educational Policy. She is particularly interested in the intersection of educational philosophy and educational policy around the use of technology and how this impacts upon the practice, education and identities of educators and students. The central focus of her research is on the equity and social justice implications of education policy and the increased deployment of digital technologies within the education sector.

Her previous research projects include an examination of the digital identities of education students; an investigation into the academic literacy skills of first year students; and an exploration of the impact of policy upon the deployment of educational technologies. Rachel has successfully secured a number of research grants and has presented her work nationally and internationally. She is currently involved in projects that critically examine the digital footprint awareness of primary and tertiary students, parents and carers, and educators.

Fields of Research

200299Cultural Studies Not Elsewhere Classified50
160809Sociology Of Education50


Body relevant to professional practice.

  • Member - Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
  • Member - Australian Teacher education Association



2014University of Newcastle
Faculty of Education and Arts (Australia)
Vice-Chancellor's Awards for teaching excellence and contribution to student learning - Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.


Rachel welcomes research collaboration, particularly in the areas of teacher education, educational technology, and educational policy and has been involved in a number of funded collaborative projects.

She is currently working with Dr Amy Chapman from the Australian Catholic University to examine the Widening Participation Policy agenda in Australian higher education.

Rachel is a founding member of the DICE network, a scholarly research collective exploring Digital Identity, Curation, and Education.

Rachel is also a member of the NuLearn Group, a collaborative research group who are researching and promoting innovative approaches to learning in the 21st Century.


Administrative expertise

Rachel been course coordinator on a variety of courses, from first year through to Masters level. She was one of the course coordinators for one of largest foundational first year courses at the University of Newcastle (800+ education students) and she co-coordinated a large teaching team on this course, as well as designing and managing the course's Learning Management System.

Rachel was previously the Chair of TERN, the Teacher Education Research Network.

She is the current Director, Student Experience for the School of Education and is an elected representative on the School of Education's Board.


Teaching keywords

  • Education politics and policy
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Ethics and Professional Practice
  • Foundations of Education
  • Globalisation of education
  • ICT and Education
  • Sociology of Education

Teaching expertise

Rachel is an experienced lecturer, course coordinator and tutor, and has taught for several years across the foundational areas of the sociology of education, philosophy of education, educational leadership, ethics, education policy, professional studies, and education and ICT. Rachel's teaching experience covers a variety of contexts from face-to-face teaching with large (800+ students) and small cohorts through to blended and online delivery at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. She supervises Honours and Research Higher Degree students.

She is currently teaching and cordinating the sociology of education course for Callaghan-based education undergraduate students and education policy and leadership courses for online post-graduate students.



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 (2 outputs)

2015Buchanan RA, Holmes K, Preston G, Shaw K, 'The Global And The Local: Taking Account Of Context In The Push For The Technologization Of Education', Critical Perspectives on Technology and Education, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke 227-244 (2015)
2012Chapman A, Buchanan RA, 'FYI ...Virtual space has a context: Toward an alternative frame for understanding cyberbullying', Rethinking School Violence: Theory, Gender, Context, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK 56-68 (2012) [B1]

Journal article (9 outputs)

2015Chapman AK, Mangion A, Buchanan RA, 'Institutional statements of commitment and widening participation policy in Australia', Policy Futures in Education, 1-15 (2015)
2014Buchanan RA, Chapman A, 'The Political Ontology of Cyborgs: Considering Implications of Posthumanism for Education', Creative Approaches to Research, 7 7-20 (2014) [C1]
2014Southgate E, Buchanan R, 'Editorial: This century becomes you: qualitative inquiry, being/there and social becoming in the 21st century', Creative Approaches to Research, 7 4-6 (2014) [C6]


2013Holmes K, Preston GD, Shaw K, Buchanan R, ''Follow' Me: Networked Professional Learning for Teachers', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38 54-65 (2013) [C1]
2013Chapman A, Forster D, Buchanan R, 'The Moral Imagination in Pre-service Teachers' Ethical Reasoning', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38 (2013) [C1]
2013Buchanan RA, Chapman KA, 'Opinion', Professional Educator, 12 25-27 (2013) [C3]
2012Buchanan RA, Holmes KA, Preston GD, Shaw KM, 'Basic literacy or new literacies? Examining the contradictions of Australia's education revolution', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37 97-110 (2012) [C1]
2011Buchanan RA, 'Paradox, promise and public pedagogy: Implications of the federal government's digital education revolution', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36 67-78 (2011) [C1]
2001Laura RS, Buchanan RA, 'Towards an Epistemology of Ecofeminism', Education Research and Perspectives, 28 57-70 (2001) [C1]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

Show 6 more

Conference (14 outputs)

2014Buchanan RA, Southgate, 'What lurks beneath?: An exploration of the Neoliberal University and the Ethics of Engagement.', PESA Conference 2014 Programmes and Abstracts, Hamilton, New Zealand (2014) [E3]


2014Buchanan RA, Southgate EL, 'It's more than computer hubs: Equity, learning, and digital technologies in Higher Education', European Access Network, Edinburgh (2014) [E3]


2012Laura RS, Buchanan RA, 'Set free by the word of God', God, Freedom and Nature, Strathfield, NSW (2012) [E1]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

2012Buchanan RA, Laura RS, 'Theo-critical feminism, Mother Nature and epistemological patriarchy', God, Freedom and Nature, Strathfield, NSW (2012) [E1]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

2012Laura RS, Buchanan RA, 'God, Freedom and Nature: Transdisciplinary reflections on the discourse of religion and theology', God, Freedom and Nature, Strathfield, NSW (2012) [E1]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

2012Buchanan RA, 'Digital dilemmas and professional practice: implications for pre-service teacher ethics education', 2012 International Teacher Education Dialogue Conference. Conference Abstracts, Coffs Harbour, NSW (2012) [E3]
2012Chapman A, Buchanan RA, Forster DJ, 'The moral imagination in pre-service teachers ethical reasoning', AARE 2012 Conference Proceedings & Program, Sydney, NSW (2012) [E3]


2012Buchanan RA, Holmes KA, Preston GD, Shaw KM, 'Shifting horizons: A critical examination of projects, policy and progress towards digital education in Australia', Learning with New Media Inaugural Conference. Critical Perspectives on Learning with New Media Conference, Glen Waverley, Vic (2012) [E3]
2012Laura RS, Buchanan RA, Chapman AK, 'Conference Editors', God, Freedom and Nature, Strathfield, NSW (2012) [E4]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

2011Buchanan RA, Chapman AK, 'Utopia or dystopia? A critical examination of the Melbourne Declaration', PESA Conference 2011 Programme and Abstracts, Auckland, NZ (2011) [E1]
2011Chapman AK, Buchanan RA, 'Accountability frameworks in Australian education: Utopia or dystopia?', PESA Conference 2011 Programme and Abstracts, Auckland, NZ (2011) [E3]
2010Buchanan RA, Chapman AK, 'Globalisation and social justice: The exploitation of the digital native', Learning for Life: Sustainability, Global Citizenship and Social Justice. SEAA Biennial Conference with SASOSE Annual Conference, Adelaide, SA (2010) [E1]
2009Buchanan RA, Chapman AK, 'Dialogue and difference: The sorry story of the digital native', Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia Annual Conference 2009: Program, Honolulu, HI (2009) [E3]
2009Laura RS, Buchanan RA, 'Setting free the word of God', Religious Communication Conference: Abstracts, Melbourne, VIC (2009) [E3]

Co-authors: RON LAURA

Show 11 more

Other (1 outputs)

2014Southgate E, Buchanan R, 'Editors: Special Issue: This century becomes you: qualitative inquiry, being/there and social becoming in the 21st century', Creative Approaches to Research: Association for Qualitative Research (2014)


Report (1 outputs)

2012Shaw K, Holmes K, Preston G, Buchanan R, 'AIS Building Relationships Grant: Final Report', Association of Independent Schools,, 26 (2012)

Grants and Funding


Number of grants5
Total funding$159,462

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2015 (2 grants)

Equity and Digital Footprint Project$107,287
Funding Body: Department of Education

HEPP NPPChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Best Footprint Forward$25,000
Funding Body: auDA Foundation

Project Team
Doctor Rachel Buchanan, Doctor Erica Southgate, Doctor Shamus Smith
Research ProjectChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2012 (2 grants)

Establishing effective and sustainable links between enabling and undergraduate programs by examining the transition of ELFS students$9,950
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Teaching and Learning Project GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

People, Places, Pedagogy, Paradigm and Purpose: Evaluating Innovation and Building Research Capacity within a K-12 School $7,350
Funding Body: Association of Independent Schools

Project Team
Doctor Kylie Shaw, Doctor Kathryn Holmes, Doctor Rachel Buchanan, Mr Greg Preston
Independent Schools Centre for ExcellenceInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2011 (1 grants)

Academic Literacy of First Years$9,875
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Teaching and Learning GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions4
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL1.2

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20152019PhD (Education)Co-SupervisorEquity, Opportunity and Experience: Negotiation of the Higher Education Learning Environment by Students with Learning Difficulties and Differences
20142018PhD (Education)Co-SupervisorGirls and Secondary Education in Rural Tanzania: Perceptions, Obstacles and Future Possibilities
20142018PhD (Education)Co-SupervisorProviding Female Education to Empower Women and Develop Society in Remote Areas of Vietnam.
20092014PhD (Education)Co-SupervisorA Study of School and Aboriginal Community Collaboration and its effect on Teacher Professional Knowledge

Dr Rachel Buchanan

Work Phone(02) 4921 6411
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Hunter Building,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308