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Professor Sivanes Phillipson

Chair of Education


Sivanes Phillipson is currently Chair of Education and formerly Dean International at Swinburne University of Technology. For nearly 20 years, Sivanes has enjoyed an international reputation in higher education with a focus on teacher education academic positions in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Australia. Prior to higher education, she has had a successful track record in international corporate roles in public relations and marketing for nearly 10 years. Building on this unique blend of experience, she has led global partnership and recruitment strategies in higher education with commercial acumen and sensitivity that is informed by institutional culture, industry needs, and market intelligence. Sivanes has led and supported the development and implementation of initial teacher education programs in her academic roles across multiple higher education contexts. She has also maintained a strong research and teaching track record, and mentored colleagues and students in the broad field of multicultural family studies and teacher education whilst holding senior leadership roles.

Sivanes has a PhD in Education along with a teaching qualification, and Law and Arts Honours degrees. As Professor of Education, Sivanes has led and mentored action research projects and innovative course developments in initial teacher education across the span of her extensive tertiary career.  Her research interest and experience focus on comparative family studies in particular parent and community of culturally diverse and disadvantaged children and at-risk youth. Sivanes’ research expertise comprises of mixed-method approaches and analysis including Leximancer verbatim analysis, Rasch modelling, meta-analysis, and structural equation modelling. 

Sivanes is the Routledge Series Editor for Evolving Families Book Series. She has served as an assessor for multiple international grants as well as the Australian Research Council competitive grants. She has published widely especially in leading journals such as the Journal of Child and Family Studies and Educational Psychology, with over 150 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and conference papers. She also has 11 published books. Sivanes' latest books focus on teacher expertise (The Power of Expert Teaching 2020, Routledge), a parent-teacher program for early intervention (Growing Children’s Social Emotional Skills 2022, Routledge), and parental engagement (Parental Engagement and Early Childhood Education Around the World, 2022, Routledge).

Sivanes has been awarded multiple international and national Category 1 research grants that is interdisciplinary in nature, and working closely with local governments and community organisation. To date, the research funding gained totals to AU$3.4 million. Most recent award as lead investigator is for the Safer Community Round 6 Early Intervention grant named Sa’ili le ala: 21st Century career discovery sprint for Pasifika youths is in partnership with National Rugby League and Centre for Multicultural Youth. Past research includes 2014-2018 ARC Linkage Project titled Numeracy@Home as the lead chief investigator. This project is still active with further funding from industry partner, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools. She has also led and consulted on multiple projects in Australia and internationally focusing on responding to culturally responsive models of intervention for diverse and disadvantaged children and youth. 

Sivanes has supervised over 30 higher degree students to completion at Swinburne, Monash, Hong Kong Baptist University, The Education University of Hong Kong and University of Tasmania since 2008. Recognizing the quality supervision and generous support she extends to her students, she was nominated by Swinburne for the Australian Graduate Research Council Award in 2020. Between 2017-2023 alone, she has had 15 PhD completions. She currently supervises PhD candidates across comparative and international education, psychology and design at Swinburne. 

Research interests


PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Curriculum And Pedagogy Theory And Development - 390102
  • Learning Sciences - 390409
  • Pacific Peoples Education - 451400

Teaching areas



Also published as: Phillipson, Sivanes; Phillipson, S.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2022: Sa’ili le ala: 21st Century career discovery sprint for Pasifika youths *; DISER - Safer Communities Fund: Early Intervention
  • 2022: STEM Hub *; Invergowrie Foundation
  • 2021: Access Quality Teaching initiative *; VIC Department of Education and Training
  • 2021: Supporting Pasifika islander youth towards positive life trajectories *; Department of Justice - Building Safer Communities
  • 2019: Acorns to Oak Trees: Creative approaches to teaching STEM to advance female students *; Invergowrie Foundation
  • 2019: Learning@HOME with Children: A sustainable approach to improving educational outcomes through partnerships between education settings and families *; Catholic Education Melbourne

* Chief Investigator

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