Dr Susen Smith

Senior Lecturer in Gifted and Special Education, GERRIC Senior Research Fellow, MEdGifted Ed Advisor
PhD, MSpecEd., BEd, Diploma of Teaching
School of Education

Contact

+61 2 9385 1037
+61 2 93851946
Room 120, Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus

Consultation

Please email for an appointment.
Fields: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Special Education and Disability
Tags: Pedagogy, Early childhood education, Curriculum

Dr Susen Smith has three decades of leadership, teaching and research experience from Pre K to Tertiary. She has a diverse teaching background having worked across Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary, Gifted and Special Education, Education for Sustainability, and Aboriginal Studies. Her research interests include: Differentiating curriculum and pedagogy for gifted students using dynamic cognitive and affective taxonomies and matrices. She has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, CUNY, and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, has been the guest editor of the Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, published and presented at national and international conferences, most recently as an invited keynote speaker at the Sino-Australian Gifted Education Forum, China, the Ignite the Spark, Fuel the fire: Differentiation for Diversity Conference and the Chinese Association of Gifted Education (CAGE) Conference Taiwan. Hence, her work on Curriculum Differentiation is recognised in Australia and internationally. Susen has acquired several competitive research grants and received the UNE ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievements in Interdisciplinary Research Innovation’ and the UNSW Excellence in Postgraduate Research Award from the UNSW Arc Postgraduate Council "in recognition of my exemplary supervisory conduct and invaluable contributions to the supervision of higher degree research candidates”. Susen also organised the UNE TalentEd conferences, chaired the inaugural GERRIC Gifted Futures Forum for Talent Enhancement and is currently on the organising committees for the 2016 AAEGT National conference and the 2017 22nd WCGTC Biennial World Conference.

Her UNSW, School of Education role is as a Senior Lecturer in Gifted & Special Education and GERRIC Senior Research Fellow, and MEdGifted Ed Advisor. Her previous roles were as a Sessional Lecturer in Special Education at the University of Newcastle, where she completed her PhD, Lecturer in Learning, Teaching & Gifted Education at the University of New England (UNE) and Associate Professor for a project at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. 

Dr Smith has successfully supervised several postgraduate research projects to timely completion, with Dr Michelle Bannister Tyrrell receiving both the 2015  John Geake Outstanding Thesis Award presented by the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented and the 2014 Beth Southwell Research Award for outstanding thesis: NSW Institute for Educational Research for her PhD thesis. Susen supervises PhD and Masters students’ research that focuses on Differentiation, Acceleration & Grouping, Metacognition & Critical Literacy, Underachievement, Creativity for at-risk gifted children, Visual-spatial learners, Twice-Exceptionality, Giftedness & English Language learners, Identification and Dabrowski. Please contact her if you are interested in postgraduate studies in gifted education or including special education. 

 

Research

Dr Susen Smith has three decades of leadership, teaching and research experience from Pre-K to Tertiary. She has a diverse teaching background having worked across Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary, Gifted and Special Education, Education for Sustainability, TESOL and Aboriginal Studies. Her research interests include: Differentiating pedagogy for students with gifts, including underachievers, using dynamic cognitive and affective taxonomies. She has been invited as a visiting scholar to Columbia University, CUNY, and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, is published internationally, has presented at national and international conferences, and most recently was an invited keynote speaker at the Sino-Australian Gifted Education Forum, China.

Susen has acquired several competitive research grants and her most recent award was the ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievements in Interdisciplinary Research Innovation’. Her previous roles were as a Sessional Lecturer in Special Education at the University of Newcastle, where she completed her PhD, Lecturer in Learning, Teaching & Gifted Education at the University of New England (UNE) and Associate Professor for a project at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Her UNSW, School of Education role is as a Senior Lecturer in Gifted & Special Education and GERRIC Senior Research Fellow, MEdGifted Ed Advisor, 4th Year BA BEd, BA(Dance)BEd, BEcBEd & BComBEd Convenor, and School of Education Indigenous Winter School Convenor.

Dr Smith has successfully supervised several postgraduate research projects to timely completion. She currently supervises PhD, Masters and Honours students’ research that focuses on Differentiation, Effective Pedegogy in Inclusive education, Acceleration & Grouping, Metacognition & Critical Literacy, Underachievement, Bibliotherapy, Creativity for at-risk gifted children, Visual-spatial learners, Twice-Exceptionality, Giftedness & English Language learners, Identification and Dabrowski. Please contact her if you are interested in postgraduate studies in gifted education or special education.

Publications

    Book Chapters

    • Smith SR, 2017, 'Responding to the unique social and emotional learning needs of gifted Australian students', in Frydenberg E; Martin A; Collie R (ed.), Social and Emotional Learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific: Perspectives, programmes, and approaches, edn. 1, In E. Frydenberg, A. Martin, & R. Collie (Eds),, Springer Singapore, pp. 147 - 166, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3394-0_8
    • Smith SR, 2017, 'The Model of Dynamic Differentiation (MoDD): Innovation Education for Talent Development', in Yamin T; McCluskey KW; Lubart T; Ambrose D; McCluskey KC; Linke S (ed.), Innovation Education, edn. 1, The International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE)., Ulm, Germany, pp. 41 - 66
    • Smith SR, 2015, 'Differentiating teaching for sustainability for diverse student learning', in Taylor N; Quinn C; Eames C (ed.), Educating for sustainability in primary schools: Teaching for the future, edn. 1st, Sense Publishers., Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 65 - 87, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6300-046-8

    Journal articles

    Conference Papers

    • Blackburn A;Cornish L;Smith SR, 2016, 'Meeting the educational needs of gifted and talented English language learners in Australian secondary schools', in Csermely P (ed.), Meeting the educational needs of gifted and talented English language learners in Australian secondary schools, 15th International ECHA Conference, Vienna, Austria, presented at 15th International ECHA Conference, Vienna, Austria, 02 - 05 March 2016, http://www.echa2016.info/
    • Hardy, J ;Quinn, F ;Smith S, 2013, 'A case study of staff perceptions of sustainability in an Australian regional university', in A case study of staff perceptions of sustainability in an Australian regional university, The 1st PSU Phuket International Conference Multidisciplinary Studies on Sustainable Development, Phuket, presented at The 1st PSU Phuket International Conference Multidisciplinary Studies on Sustainable Development, Phuket, 10 - 12 January 2013
    • Smith S, 2013, 'Teachers’ voices on best practice in differentiating literacy teaching and learning for talented primary school students', in Teachers’ voices on best practice in differentiating literacy teaching and learning for talented primary school students, 20th Biennial World Conference, Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity Louisville Kentucky, presented at 20th Biennial World Conference, Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity Louisville Kentucky, 10 - 14 August 2013
    • Smith S, 2013, 'The missing link: Seeking support for gifted underachievers through innovative teaching practices within creative learning environments', in The missing link: Seeking support for gifted underachievers through innovative teaching practices within creative learning environments, 20th Biennial World Conference, Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity Louisville Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, presented at 20th Biennial World Conference, Celebrating Giftedness and Creativity Louisville Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, 10 - 14 August 2013
    • Smith S, 2013, 'Unhiding gifts to nurture talent: Dynamic differentiation to support achievement!', in Unhiding gifts to nurture talent: Dynamic differentiation to support achievement!, G.A.T.E Conference: Unleash the Gifted Potential, Sydney, presented at G.A.T.E Conference: Unleash the Gifted Potential, Sydney, 21 - 23 July 2013
    • Blackburn, A ;Cornish, L ;Smith S;Merrotsy, P, 2013, 'Meeting the educational needs of gifted English language learners in Australian schools', in Meeting the educational needs of gifted English language learners in Australian schools, Gifted and Talented Education Conference, Darling Harbour, Sydney, presented at Gifted and Talented Education Conference, Darling Harbour, Sydney, 21 - 23 July 2013
    • Blackburn A;Smith S;Merrotsy P, 2012, 'Giving a voice to the voiceless: Ascertaining the educational needs of gifted and talented English language learners in Australian secondary schools', in Giving a voice to the voiceless: Ascertaining the educational needs of gifted and talented English language learners in Australian secondary schools, Excellence & Equity for All, GTCASA 13th National Gifted and Talented Children's Association Conference, Adelaide, presented at Excellence & Equity for All, GTCASA 13th National Gifted and Talented Children's Association Conference, Adelaide, 11 - 14 July 2012

    Other

    Conference Presentations

Teaching

Teaching

Undergraduates

BA/BEd

EDST4096 Responding to Gifted & Talented Students 

 

Postgraduates

Master of Education Gifted Education & Graduate Certificate in Education (Gifted Education) (COGE)

EDST5805 Curriculum Differentiation and Assessment in Gifted Education 

EDST5807 Social & Emotional Development of Intellectually Gifted Students

EDST5457 Literature Review in Education

EDST5888 Research Project

Honours and prizes

Awards 

  • Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award from the UNSW Arc Postgraduate Council (2015)
  • Green Globe award;
  • UNE Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievements in Interdisciplinary Innovation (co-awarded);
  • Award for Outstanding Commitment and Continued Excellence in Teaching.

Professional contribution

 

  • On the Advisory board of the Quad Preparatory School for students with Twice-exceptionalities, New York (2015-present);
  • Australasian Journal of Gifted Education Editorial Panel, AAEGT  (2015-present);
  • Guest Editor for the Australasian Journal of Gifted Education (2015);
  • International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity (IJTDC) Editorial Board (2014-present);
  • TalentEd Editorial Board, UNE, (2005-2012).

Affiliations and membership

  • Australian Member of the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children (WCGTC) (2009-2017);
  • Member of the UNSW, School of Education, GERRIC Research Group (2013-present)
  • Affiliated member of the School of Education Educational Psychology Research Group (2015-present)
  • Member of the International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) (2015- present);
  • Affiliated Member of the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT) (2015-present);
  • Member of the NSW Gifted Families Support Group Inc. (GFSG)  (2015-present);
  • Australian Delegate of the Asia-Pacific Federation of Giftedness (2010-2014);
  • Asia-Pacific Association of Gifted and Talented Education (2009-2012);
  • Australian National Representative of the International Institute of Elemental Ethics and Education (2008-2012).

Related links

  • UNSW, SoE Associate Dean Representative on the Network of Associate Deans of Learning & Teaching in the discipline of Education (NADLATE) (2012-2014);
  • School of Education Representative on the FASS Faculty Standing Committee (2012-2014);
  • Member and Chair of the School of Education Community Engagement Committee (2013-2014); 
  • UNSW, SoE GERRIC Management Committee & Advisory Board.

 

Other information

Supervision of Endeavour Fellow PhD

Lynn Dare Endeavour Fellow and Visiting PhD candidate to GERRIC, UNSW Australia, from Western University, Ontario, Canada, Joint supervision with Dr Elizabeth Nowecki

Postgraduate supervision

Current HDR students and their research topics:

PhD students

Yasir Alsamiri
Supervisors: Susen Smith & Iva Strnadova as co-supervisor
Topic: Saudi primary teachers’ perspectives of identifying and supporting students with giftedness and learning disabilities.

Abdullah Alshehri
Supervisors: Susen Smith & Colin Evers as co-supervisor
Topic: Collaborative interrelationship dynamics associated with gifted and talented enrichment programs in Saudi Arabia.

Thuy Hong Cao
Supervisors: Jae Jung & Susen Smith as joint supervisor
Topic: Career choice intentions of gifted english as a foreign language (EFL) high school students.

Rashedul Islam
Supervisors: Susen Smith & Chinhsieh Lu as co-supervisor
Topic: The role of science teaching in promoting excellence in scientific literacy in primary education.

Past students successfully completed research projects
Susen Smith has supervised jointly the following projects to successful conclusion:

Completed PhD 

Anoma Ariyaratne
Topic: Identification of gifted & talented children in Sri Lanka.

Aranzaza Blackburn (under examination)
Topic: Meeting the educational needs of Gifted and Talented English Language Learners in Australian Secondary Schools.

Michelle Bannister-Tyrrell
Topic: The engagement of metacognition during critical literacy discourse by young talented readers, won the 2015 John Geake Outstanding Thesis Award presented by the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented and the 2014 Beth Southwell Research Award for outstanding thesis: NSW Institute for Educational Research.

Selena Gallagher
Topic: Inventing the wheel: Portraits of acceleration and grouping provisions for the socioemotional and intellectual needs of gifted students in Queensland primary schools.

Ben North (under examination)
Supervisors: Susen Smith & Miraca Gross as co-supervisor
Topic: Under Pressure: Senior secondary student responses to academic pressure in high stakes assessment contexts.

Completed Masters and Honours degrees

Michelle Clayton
Topic: Led by the eye or the ear: Using I-HEAR to assess how children learn.

Kerry Harding
Topic: Underachieving gifted children: Intergenerational issues.

Amanda Harper
Topic: The development of empathy in gifted children, through the lens of Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration.

Julia Prykaza
Topic: Gifted and Talented education: The effects of genre specific bibliotherapy on social justice and moral reasoning. First Class Honours.

Nicole Walters
Topic: Contributing factors in the underachievement of gifted middle school students.

Current and past research projects encompass the following areas: 

  • Acceleration and grouping provisions for the socio-emotional and intellectual needs of gifted students
  • Achieving, underachieving and selective consuming gifted students
  • Bibliotherapy and video therapy for socio-affective development
  • Career decisions of Gifted EFL students
  • Contributing factors in the underachievement of gifted middle school students
  • Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration: A theory of personality development
  • Differentiation for talent development
  • Engagement of higher order reading processes by young talented readers
  • Enrichment programs for gifted and talented students
  • Gifted education in a Confucian cultural context
  • Gifted senior secondary student responses to academic pressure in high-stakes assessment contexts
  • Issues of twice-exceptionality
  • Opinions about gifted education and skills with differentiation of classroom teaching.
  • Policy and curriculum influences on talent development
  • Predictors of teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration
  • Profoundly gifted students and like minded peers
  • Pro-social reasoning and empathy in gifted children
  • Teacher attitudes and effective teaching practices for gifted students
  • Teachers’ understandings of the cluster group models
  • Teachers' views of Curriculum Differentiation, pedagogy and assessment and teachers’ professional learning needs
  • Teaching strategies for supporting the socio-affective needs of early childhood gifted students
  • The engagement of metacognition during critical literacy discourse by young talented readers. (2014 AAEGT John Geake National Award for best thesis and 2014 Beth Southwell Research Award 2014 for outstanding thesis: NSW Institute for Educational Research.)
  • The forced choice dilemma of gifted youth early university entry for gifted adolescents
  • Twice-exceptionalities and effective differentiation
  • Underachieving gifted children: Intergenerational issues