From her earliest work in Literacy teaching, lecturing and research, Sue has sought to develop holistic and meaningful tools for understanding and capturing how individuals make sense of their world and themselves in that world and as a consequence, how they achieve and judge any action to be effective or ineffective. From her initial training as an Infant Teacher through Bachelor of Education with Distinction and a Master of Studies in Education, Sue has established a deep understanding, firstly, of how people learn and change and secondly, the nature of conditions that are necessary for supporting this learning process.
Having realised very early in her career, that established systems cannot develop new and more effective ways of doing things unless it can be demonstrated that these new ways have value, Sue used her Masters work to develop just such a tool. The holistic literacy evaluation framework and tools that Sue developed, were published in professional literature and adopted as a reliable strategy for finding out just how children were making sense of those marks on the pages, and in the process, it became clear to their teachers: what was working for them; what wasn’t working well for them; and what they and their teachers might be able to do to help them to be more effective readers. So it was that Sue came to see the ‘evaluation’ process essentially, as a ‘learning’ activity rather than one of evaluation as judgement for without this learning component, evaluation can be blind.
With her interest in Evaluation, Sue became one of the original members of the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) and then, an active member of the Australian Association for Action learning, Action Research and Process Management Association (ALARPM). These two Associations and the work that they did, inspired Sue to search for evaluation tools that could serve to name, measure and manage what counts as meaningful and effective action. As complementary to this work, Sue also sought to develop an action learning infrastructure for self-directed, self-managed change in pursuit of more effective action or ways of doing and of valuing what had been done. For Sue, this is learning in its most meaningful and essential form and the driving force behind her PhD research.
Working with elite research teams in Higher education, Sue refined holistic evaluation frameworks and processes to enable elite researchers to name, measure and manage the conditions that were necessary for effective action in research at the highest level. These research groups ranged from Medical Research to Egyptology, Advanced Electronics and Biodiversity. The methodology that Sue developed was later used for a national study of research management practices for elite research teams across the Australian Higher Education system. This work led to a focus on research management, credentialing in higher education, leadership and leadership learning for professional organisations, team learning and program evaluation.
The frameworks that lay behind the work that Sue completed in research programs, allowed for publication in journals as broadly ranging as an advisory Paper for the OECD, collaborative research journals, professional journals in Higher Education, Literacy and Psychology, Human Resources and publicly available Program Evaluations that have been nationally recognised. In conjunction with these activities, Sue has also maintained her own professional accreditation pathway by becoming an accredited provider and consultant in: Team Management Systems; Compatibility Communication System; Australian Values Inventory. Sue maintains her current status as a Certified Consultant in the Australian Human Resource Institute and has completed the initial accreditation program with the Flinders Model- Chronic Condition Self-Management Education and Training Program. Her current research and development work is focusing on collaborative development of Coach-the-Coach resources and programs for continuing professional development in fields where authentic communication and self-managed change are the keys to demonstrably effective action.
For Sue, in her everyday practice, there is a merging of horizons between Mentoring and Coaching. This is because her field of expertise is that of establishing the meaning and value in action for intended purposes – whatever they may be and in whatever field of interest they may be located. This approach requires a discovery methodology where questions and authentic, undistorted feedback are vital to the development of shared understanding necessary for an appropriate and effective professional Coaching relationship.