Alliance Patron and renowned educator, speaker and author Professor Erica McWilliam has received an AM in the 2021 Queen’s Honours list for significant service to education, and to pedagogy and gender equity.
Erica has been an education professional for more than 50 years, beginning her career as a classroom teacher, holding many roles at both schools and universities and is currently Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Education within the Queensland University of Technology. The Alliance benefit from her expertise in her role as Program Designer and Evaluator (On-Line) of our Introduction to Girls’ schools, online, on-demand course for teachers new to girls’ schools.
Erica has worked as an educational consultant to numerous Australian and New Zealand single-sex and co-educational schools for more than two decades. Among the many educational institutions she has served, she has conducted professional learning programs in more than 20 Australasian girls’ schools. Her contribution to the theory and practice of leadership in and for girls’ education continues to be demonstrated through her active engagement as a speaker and writer in education. In her numerous presentations to educational leaders, teachers, parents and students, she elaborates on the challenges faced by all those who are seeking to ensure that our young people, and particularly our young women, will live, learn and earn well in this demanding century. In particular, she stresses the importance of providing ‘low threat, high challenge’ learning environments that assist girls to welcome error and the instructive complications of unfamiliarity and complexity. Her service has been recognised through the awards she has received as a Fellow of the Australian Council of Education, an Honorary Fellow of the Australia Council of Educational Leadership and an Associate Fellow of the Learning and Teaching Council of Australia.
In her role as Assistant Dean Research, Erica actively advocated for the advancement of women in the academy, with a strong emphasis on broadening the racial and ethnic profile of tenured academics. When she was promoted to professorships in 2001, only 1 in 9 university professors were women. She sought to address this and other inequities in the university sector through providing Women’s Re-entry Fellowships and mentoring programs in support of women with interrupted academic careers. She also worked at Cherbourg State School with the indigenous principal Chris Sarra, to promote high quality education for the disadvantaged children in that school, creating the first post-doctoral fellowship for indigenous women.