Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Angela Fenton

Dr Angela Fenton

BEd (Hons), University of Leeds; MEd James Cook University (JCU); PhD, JCU

Dr Angela Fenton has a Bachelor of Education with Honours from the University of Leeds and a Masters of Early Childhood Education from James Cook University (JCU) in Queensland. In her Doctoral thesis Angela explored child protection and pre-service education using a Strengths Approach. Alongside her studies, Angela worked in early childhood classrooms and services for over twenty years as a teacher, director and training project officer. Angela has worked in inclusion roles with children with disabilities and was the state manager for the Indigenous Children's Services Unit in Queensland. She has taught in the United Kingdom and in Australia. In the tertiary sector of education, Angela has taught early childhood education in the TAFE and university sector for over ten years (at JCU previously and now for the eighth year with Charles Sturt University). Angela is passionate about teaching and researching in the early years of education and values an interactive approach to collaborative learning. Angela holds leadership roles within the School of Education as the Associate Head of School and the Presiding Officer for academic assessment and moderation.

Honours/Awards
  • 2016: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for: Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Inspiring pre-service teachers to engage with complex issues of child protection and development using an innovative Strengths Approach to teaching and learning
  • 2014: Faculty of Education Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for: For inspiring pre-service teachers to engage with complex issues of child protection and development using an innovative Strengths Approach
  • 2012: Excellence in Research in Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network Research Fellowship
  • 2008: James Cook University PhD Scholarship
  • 2005: Queensland Child Protection Award for Significant Education Initiative
  • 2005: Queensland Regional Achiever Award 

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Angela's doctoral research and subsequent publications are centred on strengths approaches, early childhood development and well-being, child protection and early childhood teacher education. She is examining the use of a Strengths Approach (more commonly used in social services) and the potential of this approach for use in pre-service teaching to prepare students for working with children who may be at risk or experiencing child abuse. Angela has published international journal articles, book chapters and papers in conference proceedings. Angela's most recent research examines the potential use of a Strengths Approach to complex issues in educational and community contexts. In 2017, Angela will further examine in her research the significant opportunities in using a Strengths Approach in early childhood education to enhance children's ability to thrive in all areas of development.

PhD Research

Angela's PhD research examined a Strengths Approach to Child Protection Education. Her doctoral studies were supervised by Associate Professor Melissa Vick and Professor Nola Alloway from James Cook University.

Research Grants/Projects
  • 2017:  Fenton, A., (Chief Investigator) Grover, P., & Smith, D. James Fallon High School/Charles Sturt University: Teaching for the Future Professional Partnership, Building Expertise and Innovative Practice: A Strengths-based Embedded Case Study, NSW, Department of Education and Faculty of Arts and Education, Research Income and Initiatives Grant.
  • 2016: Davidson, C., MacDonald, A., with Fenton, A. Everyday learning and interactions during family shopping experiences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Income and Initiatives Grant.
  • 2016: Spalding, N., with, Fenton, A. Enhancing child protection training for early childhood educators using a strengths approach, Community-University partnerships, CSU Head of Campus Grant, Regional Schools Development Program.
  • 2015/2016: Fenton, A., & Dalton, K. A strengths approach to child protection preparation: Online learning resources, Charles Sturt University, UImagine Innovation grant Scheme.
  • 2015: McFarland, L., & Fenton, A. Evaluation of a newly developed strengths-based, recovery-focused program for parents with mental health issues, Hume Partners in Recovery Innovation Fund
  • 2015: Ross Circuit Preschool with, Fenton, A., MacDonald, A., & McFarland, L: A strengths approach resource package for supporting children and families, Community-University partnerships, CSU Head of Campus Grant, Regional Schools Development Program.
  • 2013: Sumsion, J., Harrison, L., & Irvine, S., with Fenton, A., et al. An investigation of Goodstart's centre-based processes in engaging with the Australian Children's Education and Care, Goodstart Early Learning.
  • 2013: Reid, J., with Fenton, A., et al. Faculty of Education benchmarking project, University of Tasmania, Charles Sturt University, Curtin University, Griffith University and University of  Western Sydney.
RIPPLE Membership

Angela was a member of the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE) until its closure in 2016. RIPPLE was a multi-disciplinary research centre that conducted high-quality applied research and consultation in the field of professional practice and implications for professional learning and education.

CRN Membership

Angela was a member of the Excellence in Research in Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network (CRN), a collaboration between Charles Sturt University, Queensland University of Technology and Monash University. Angela was awarded a RIPPLE/CRN Research Fellowship in 2012.

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Teaching Experience

Angela has over 27 years' experience working in Early Childhood, Primary and Tertiary education sectors. Angela has previously been a classroom teacher in both the United Kingdom and Australia and has worked in educational leadership positions, for example in positions as Centre Director and Project Officer.

Undergraduate Teaching

Most recently Angela's area of teaching specialisation has been in preparing teachers using a strengths approach to child protection. Angela currently oversees subject assessment and moderation for the School of Education. Previous to this Angela was Assistant Course Director and taught in the internal Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) degree as well as teaching students in the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years). Angela's areas of teaching expertise include strengths approaches, child development, curriculum and pedagogy, historical and contemporary theories of education, health and safety, and child protection.

Higher Degree Research Student Supervision

2017: Scorgie, G., Doctor of Philosophy. The Changing Space of International Education: Investigating a Chinese-International School in Mainland China. Co-Supervisor.

2016: Welsh, S., Master of Education (Research Project). A Case Study of the Influence of Learning Analytics Feedback on Self-Regulated Learning Processes among University Students. Supervisor.

2015: McMaster, J., Master of Education (Research Project). First Nations Metis and Inuit Graduation Coach: Professional. Supervisor.

2015 – 2017: Examiner for Honours and Masters Research Dissertations.

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CSU Committees and Leadership Roles
  • School of Education Leadership Team – Associate Head of School (2017)
  • School of Education Assessment Committee - Presiding Officer and Chair (2017)
  • Faculty of Arts and Education Assessment Committee- Member (2017)
  • Previous Faculty of Education - Assistant Course Director
  • Previous Faculty of Education Courses Committee – Member
  • Previous School of Education – Deputy Chair Research Committee
Community Engagement
  • Invited Key Note Presenter 'Building Bridges' Early Years Conference (2017).
  • Previous conference contributor, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY),  Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) national conferences.
  • Conference contributor, Mobile Children's Services Association of NSW (MCSA).
  • Conference contributor, Higher Education Close Up (HECU) International Conferences.
Professional Membership/Affiliations
  • Abused Child Trust (ACT), subscriber;
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) – Networking Forum, member;
  • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), member;
  • Early Childhood Australia, (ECA) member;
  • Education Network Australia (EDNA), subscriber;
  • Higher Education: In-depth Research, subscriber;
  • Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), subscriber;
  • Royal Commission - Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, member
Reviewer for Publishers/Journals
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Pearson Education
  • Oxford University Press
  • Springer Publishing
  • Sage Publications
  • Australasian Journal of Early Childhood
  • Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling
  • Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) National Conference papers
  • International Journal Sex Education
  • Children and Youth Services Review
  • Teaching and Teacher Education
  • Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology

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PhD Thesis
  • Fenton, A. (2013). A Strengths Approach to Child Protection Education (Doctoral dissertation).
Scholarly Book Chapters
  • Fenton, A., (accepted, 2017). Human Flourishing Versus Failure to Thrive: Higher Education and Child Protection. In P. Ashwin & J. McArthur (Eds.), Locating Social Justice in Higher Education. University of Lancaster.
  • Fenton, A., Walsh, K., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Capacity building of early career researchers through cross-institutional mentoring. In B. G. Johannessen (Ed.), Global co-mentoring networks in higher education: Politics, policies, and practices. Switzerland: Springer. ISBN: 3319275089, 9783319275086
  • Fenton, A. (2008). Caution children crossing ahead: Child protection education with pre-service teachers using a strengths approach. In D.Bottrell & G.Meagher (Eds.), Communities and change: Selected papers (pp. 211-238). Sydney: Sydney University Press. ISBN: 1920898840, 9781920898847
Refereed Journal Articles
  • Wallis, K., Fenton, A., & Dockett, S. (2016). Focusing on strengths as children start school. What does it mean in practice? Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41(2), 103-111.
  • Fenton, A., MacDonald, A., & McFarland, L. (2016). A strengths approach to supporting early mathematics learning in family contexts. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41(1), 45-53.
  • Bone, J., & Fenton, A. (2015). Spirituality and child protection: A strengths based approach. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 20(2), 86-99. doi 10.1080/1364436X.2015.1030594.
  • Fenton, A., Walsh, K., Wong, S., & Cumming, T. (20154). Using strengths-based approaches in early years practice and research. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47(1), 27-52. doi:10.1007/s13158-014-0115-8
  • Fenton, A., & Piazza, L. (2014). Supporting early childhood pre-service teachers in their work with children, and families with complex needs: A strengths approach. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 35(1)22-38. doi:10.1080/10901027.2013.874384.
  • Fenton, A. (2013). Using a strengths approach to early childhood teacher preparation in child protection using work-integrated education. Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 14(3), 157-169.
  • Fenton, A. (2008). From strength to strength: An educational research journey using a Strengths Approach.International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4(5), 90-103.
Refereed Conference Papers
  • Fenton, A. (2016). Human flourishing versus failure to thrive: Higher Education and child protection. In Higher Education Close Up 8 International Conference 18th-20thJuly: Locating Social Justice in Close-Up Research, Lancaster University, UK, conference proceedings (No. 28, pp. 1-6).
  • Fenton, A. (2014). Teacher preparation for child protection: A strengths approach. In Higher Education Close Up 7 International Conference 21st-23rd July: Research making a difference, Lancaster University, UK, conference proceedings (No. 25, pp. 1-6). Retrieved from http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/events/hecu7/papers/fenton.pdf  
  • Fenton, A.  (2012). Using a strengths approach in collaborative education. In Campbell, M. (Ed.), Collaborative education – Investing in the future: Proceedings of the 2012 Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) National Conference. Geelong, October. Retrieved from ACEN website
Conference Presentations
  • Fenton, A. (2017). Providing advocacy and connections for children and families - A Strengths Approach. A Keynote presentation at the Building Bridges Regional Early Years Conference, 2017. Wodonga, VIC.
  • MacDonald, A., Fenton, A., & Davidson, C. (2017). Numeracy in action in family shopping experiences: A view from the trolley. Paper presented at the 40th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Melbourne, 2-6 July.
  • Fenton, A. (2015). Changing teacher preparation for child protection: A strengths approach Presentation at the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Conference, Coming together for Australia's children, Hobart, TAS.
  • Fenton, A. (2014). Capacity building of early career researchers through cross-institutional mentoring. As part of a Symposium presentation at Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, 2014. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.
  • Fenton, A. (2014). Strengths approaches to early childhood education. A paper presentation at Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, 2014. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.
  • Fenton, A.  (2013). Child Protection: A strengths approach. At the Mobile Children's Services Association (MCSA), Mobile Meet, 2013 Albury Entertainment Centre, NSW.
  • Fenton, A. (2013). Being in the Community: A strengths approach. A Keynote presentation at the Building Bridges a Regional Early Years Conference: The Magic of Being, 2013. Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW. 
  • Fenton, A. (2012). Using a strengths approach in collaborative education. Individual paper presentation at the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) National Conference. Geelong, VIC.
  • Fenton, A. (2011). Using a Strengths Approach in Early Childhood Education. Symposium session 4 presentation, AARE conference, Hobart, TAS.
  • Fenton, A. (2010). Methodological Opportunities: A Strengths Approach. Individual paper presentation at the annual AARE conference, Melbourne, VIC. 
  • Fenton, A. (2009). Strengths Based Education: Helping to Protect. Individual paper presentation at the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Conference, Transforming Australia for our children's future: Making Prevention Work. Melbourne, VIC.
  • Fenton, A. (2007).  Caution Children Crossing Ahead: Child Protection Education with pre-service teachers using a Strengths Approach: Findings to date. Individual paper presentation University of Sydney Conference Communities and Change. Sydney, NSW. 
  • Fenton, A. (2007). From strength to strength: An educational research journey using a Strengths Approach. Individual paper presentation at the University Southern Queensland: 3rd International Conference on Pedagogies and Learning. Springfield, QLD.

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