Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Alan Bain

Associate Professor Alan Bain

B Ed Dip Teach (SACAE), M Ed (UMaine), Ed D (WMich)

My career is focused on addressing the perplexing whole-of-organisation challenge of making schools and universities better at learning and teaching. I have been engaged in the design and/or leadership of major organisational change projects in Asia, the Americas, and Australia. My theory and practice approach has attracted over 20 million dollars in grants, contracts and direct funding for software system development, transforming  learning spaces, human resource models, curriculum innovation, and comprehensive organisational design.

My background includes serving as a strategic educational adviser to two major international computer corporations (at different times) and as a strategic consultant and speaker on educational change internationally. My books include Transforming the Measurement of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Routledge  (Bain  & Drengenberg, 2016); Rising to the Challenge of Transforming Higher Education. Springer (Bain & Zundans-Fraser, 2016); The Learning Edge: What technology can do to educate all children. Teachers College Press (Bain & Weston, 2011); The Self-Organizing  School. Rowman & Littlefield (Bain, 2007). I am currently co-writing the higher education sequel to the Self-Organizing School, The Self-Organizing University (Bain & Zundans-Fraser, forthcoming 2017). My portfolio of scholarly research includes publications in international peer-reviewed education, psychology, and technology journals that describe theory, and research-to-practice projects for  technology mediated change in educational organisations. I enjoy doctoral supervision and currently lead a team of students working on a range of  projects related to my theory to practice approach.

In addition to my work at CSU, I have held continuing faculty appointments at the University of Western Australia and Lehigh University in the USA and received competitive Faculty, University, State and National awards for leadership and innovation, teaching, and research in the United States and Australia. I served as Associate Headmaster of Brewster Academy, a college preparatory school in the United States, leading a multi-million dollar comprehensive school design and change project for over a decade.

When not teaching, researching or consulting, I am a keen very amateur adventurer and have sailed the Pacific from the US to Hawaii and across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand as well as completing a number of long distance cycling adventures in the US and Australia.

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Book Cover: Rising to the Challenge of Transforming Higher Education I am a research practitioner. This means that I research and write about what I do in applied settings working with colleagues and communities building better theory and practice to create change in educational organisations. As such, my work is an emergent expression of engagement with the profession. Most recently, I served as Director of the Smart Learning Initiative at Charles Sturt University working with university leadership, the Smart Learning team, and faculty members of the university to take on the challenging task of becoming a leader in learning and teaching. That work has produced two books (below) with one in progress entitled the Self-Organizing University and a suite of software tools.

Prior to the Smart Learning Initiative, I worked with the Inclusive Education Team at CSU on innovative approaches to course design that has produced two doctoral theses with two in progress as well as numerous publications. This work also resulted in three successful competitive tenders for the team, two from the NSW Department of Education and one with the Catholic Education Office - Parramatta.

Book Cover: Transforming the Measurement of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

I served as Associate Headmaster of Brewster Academy working for over a decade with the community to build a comprehensive model of school change and innovation. This included designing a software operating system for the school, designing the model of career progression and remuneration, professional development, and curriculum development as well as consulting on the design of physical space for a school focused on research-based learning and teaching. This work transformed the school educationally in a manner that also secured its fiscal position in the competitive US independent school marketplace. Further, the experience created the opportunity to engage with a learning community in a deep and sustained authentic change process described in my 2007 book, the Self-Organizing School as well as many journal publications.

Book Cover: The Self Organizing School

In addition, I have consulted on major change projects in Thailand, Hong Kong, Brazil, and the US and led an international educational consulting group for five years that provided organisational design, including technology planning, software design, and professional development to school leaders from Europe, Canada, The United States, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. The work undertaken in a consulting capacity stemmed from the testing of ideas and concepts derived from the self-organising school project. Working with colleagues and organisations, my work has attracted extensive direct and indirect funding. Following is a sample of the grants and contracts that have either funded my work in collaboration with colleagues or resulted from those efforts.

  • Dell/Intel Outcomes Project: Classroom Technologies and School Reform. Co-Principal Researcher. Software Architecture and Research Design 3,000,000.00 US Dollars.
  • Roy Foundation - Development of the School Design Model
  • Classroom Space and Network Video Pilot- field-testing video-based classroom feedback system employing emerging video-telephony technology. 245,000 US dollars
  • Special Education Teacher Retraining and Accelerated Teacher Training Programs for the NSW Department of Education and Training Program. 500,000.00 dollars
  • Catholic Education Office Parramatta-Design, Retraining and Research Inclusive Education Teachers 80,000.00 dollars
  • Morris Foundation - Distance Learning Software Design 50,000 US Dollars
  • The Edward E. Ford Foundation - School Tools Operating
  • System Curriculum Development. The development of a network of software tools for the evolution of a self-organizing schools. 100,000 US dollars
  • Carlisle Foundation – School Tools Operating System. Development of a Suite of Tools for Personnel Evaluation, Curriculum Authoring and Enrolment Management. 100,000 US dollars

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I enjoy teaching in all formats. My teaching has been recognised with the following awards:

  • Australian Award for University Teaching (OLT) – National Award (Bain, Zundans-Fraser, McDonagh, Lancaster, Auhl & Newell)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award The University of Western Australia, Perth Western Australia
  • Charles Sturt University - Faculty Teaching Award

I have taught in the following areas:

  • Inclusive Studies;
  • Designing and Managing Inclusive Learning Environments;
  • Assessment and Evaluation for Learning;
  • Collaboration and Team work;
  • Teaching and Learning in the Inclusive Classroom;
  • School Design and Reform;
  • Technology and School Reform;
  • Change Agency and Leadership;
  • Curriculum Design and School Reform;
  • Technology Policy and Planning;
  • Performance Appraisal and Feedback;
  • Models of Teaching and Instruction;
  • Classroom Behavior Management;
  • Program Evaluation;
  • Behavioral Assessment;
  • Education of the Gifted and Talented;
  • Research Issues in Education;
  • Teaching and Assessing Individuals with Mild Handicaps;
  • Computers in Special Education;
  • Assessment of Individuals with Mild Handicaps;
  • Research and Evaluation Techniques;
  • Writing the Honors Degree Proposal

Designed and co-implemented Brewster Summer Institute, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, a field based training program for teachers including training in authentic assessment, technology, cooperative and collaborative learning and curriculum design. Designed and co-implemented FutureSchool Institute, an international training program for school change agents including the design of policy, needs assessment, curriculum and personnel programs. The program included public and private school and system level leaders from eight nations.

I have served in the following leadership capacities:

  • Director, Smart Learning Initiative - Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Charles Sturt University.
  • Sub-Dean Curriculum and Faculty Development - Faculty of Education. Charles Sturt University.
  • Graduate Programs Co-ordinator (Inclusive Education) Charles Sturt University
  • Associate Head of School - Brewster Academy Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. USA

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Major publications (2010- current)

Bain, A., & Zundans-Fraser. The Self-Organizing University.  Under contract

Bain, A., & Drengenberg, N. (2016). Transforming the Measurement of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.  New York: Routledge 

Bain, A., & Zundans- Fraser. (2016).  Rising to the Challenge of Transforming Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: The Learning and Teaching Design of Higher Education Organizations. Singapore: Springer.

Bain, A., & Weston, M.E. (2012). The learning edge: What technology can do to educate all children. New York: Teachers' College Press.

Bain, A. (2011, June) The self-organizing school theory: Leading change for learning. In T. Townsend & J. MacBeath (Eds.), International Handbook of Leadership for Learning, London: Springer Verlag.

Bain, A. (2010). Understanding learning and communication difficulties. In J. Higgs, R. Ewing & T. Lowrie, (Eds.) Communicating in professional experience contexts in teacher education. Oxford University Press.

Bain, A.  (2010). A longitudinal study of the practice fidelity of a site-based school reform. Australian Educational Researcher, 37 (1), 107-124.

Bain, A ., Walker, A., & Chan, A. (2011). Self-Organization and Capacity Building: Sustaining the Change. Journal of Educational Administration, 49( 6), 701-719.

Grima-Farrell, C., & Bain, A.,  & McDonagh, S. (2012). Bridging the research to practice gap: A review of the literature focusing on inclusive education, Australasian Journal of Special Education, 35 (2), 117-136.

Lancaster, J., & Bain, A.  (2010).The design of pre-service inclusive education courses and their effects on self-efficacy: a comparative study. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 38(2), 117-128.

Weston, M. E. and Bain, A.  (2014). Bridging the research-to-practice gap in education: A software mediated approach for improving classroom instruction. British Journal of Educational Technology . doi:10.1111/bjet.12157

Weston, M. & Bain, A.  (2010). The end of techno-critique: The truth about educational change and 1:1 laptop initiatives. The Journal of Technology Learning and Assessment, (9) 6, http://escholarship.bc.edu/jtla/vol9/6/

Zundans-Fraser, L., & Bain, A. (2016). How do institutional practices for program design and review address areas of need in higher education. Higher Education Research and Development. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2015.1137883

Zundans-Fraser, L., & Bain, A. (2016). The role of collaboration in a comprehensive programme design process in inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education. 20, 2, 136-148 doi: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1075610

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