Dr Katrina McChesney

Katrina McChesney

Senior Lecturer


Culture; Education; Education Research; Learning and Education; Pedagogy; Professional Learning; Reform in Education; Schools (Primary/Secondary); Teacher Education; Teacher Professional Learning/Development; Teaching; Teaching and Learning; Tertiary Education

Doctoral Education; Educational Experience; Learning Environments; Resilience; Socio-Emotional Outcomes; Wellbeing

Qualifications: BA, BSc, GradDipTchg(Sec), PhD

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: Tauranga CBD campus, Durham St, Tauranga

Papers Taught

About Katrina

I am a senior lecturer in education at the University of Waikato. I teach concepts of teaching and learning within initial teacher education programmes at the Tauranga campus and online. I also teach postgraduate research methods, supervise a number of postgraduate students, and support our wider cohort of Masters students in education across Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. I was a 2019 recipient of a Division of Education Teaching Excellence Award.

I am passionate about helping teachers be the best they can be for the sake of our ākonga (learners) at all levels, from early childhood to higher and doctoral education. Having spent time outside NZ and worked on international benchmarking projects, I'm proud of the education system we have here in Aotearoa and want to see it continue to improve for all students. I have particular commitments to social justice and inclusion within educational spaces and settings.

I currently serve on the National Council of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and founded and co-edit the association's blog, Ipu Kererū. I am a member of the editorial board of Learning Environments Research, a Q1 Springer journal, and the chair of the Board of Trustees at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Tauranga, New Zealand. I also co-host the Doctoral Research by Distance website and Facebook group which relate to my research in this area as well as my passion for inclusive doctoral education that supports researcher success and wellbeing.

Research Supervised


Tanith Gordon - Doctor of Philosophy, 2021- (chief supervisor)
Homelessness in New Zealand: A child’s voice: The effect of transient homelessness and transitional housing on Māori and Pasifika children 
Winner, University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship

Tara Malone - Master of Education, 2022- (sole supervisor)
Do mindfulness-based interventions reduce stress among first-year nursing students?

Michelle Marston - Doctor of Philosophy, 2022- (chief supervisor)
A case study of principal leadership that produces positive academic and wellbeing
outcomes for Māori students in secondary schools.

Winner, University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship

Jo McMillan - Doctor of Philosophy, 2019- (chief supervisor)
Collective teacher efficacy in international education reform contexts

Kelvin Mills - Doctor of Philosophy, 2019- (co-supervisor)
Mathematics in workplace settings: Numeracy in the mechanical engineering trades

Lorraine Sands - Master of Education, 2020- (sole supervisor)
Learning stories and their relationship to learner identities
Winner, University of Waikato John Allan Scholarship 2020

Katherine Souness - Master of Educational Leadership, 2021 (co-supervisor)
The impact of school leaders on transition to school
Winner, University of Waikato John Allan Scholarship 2021

Katie Virtue - Doctor of Philosophy, 2022- (co-supervisor)
Lessons for teachers through intergenerational Māori and Pasifika voices through
Aotearoa’s education system

Winner, University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship

Tania Yorke - Master of Educational Leadership, 2022- (sole supervisor)
Exploring a middle leader's one-to-one coaching practice and its impact on teacher and student outcomes


Michelle Marston - Master of Educational Leadership, 2021 (sole supervisor)
Māori student perceptions of school leaders' efforts to support their wellbeing and academic achievement

Piper Mejia - Directed Study, 2021 (sole supervisor)
How secondary students' activities outside the classroom link to their academic achievement

Tanith Gordon - Directed Study, 2020 (sole supervisor)
In what ways do adverse childhood experiences impact children’s health and education?

Tania Berryman - Master of Education, 2019 (sole supervisor)
Embedding employability skills into pedagogical practices in vocational training contexts

Victoria Hiini - Master of Educational Leadership, 2019 (sole supervisor)
Effectively leading pedagogical change within primary schools in the unique bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand

Research Interests

My research centres on people's experiences of educational spaces, processes, and activities. I am interested in the fundamental question: What is it like for you? across a range of stakeholders/participants in various aspects, processes, spaces or types of education. Understanding people’s educational experiences is important for informing educational improvement as well as for supporting social justice, wellbeing, and educational outcomes.

I am currently involved in three major research projects:

- Investigating teachers' experiences of professional development and the barriers that they report as inhibiting professional development's impact

- Investigating the experiences of students preparing for, and transitioning into, careers in caring professions (currently, preservice teachers and social workers), including their wellbeing, resilience, transition experiences, and perceptions of the university environment

- Investigating students' lived experiences of doctoral research by distance.

Other research projects I am or have previously been involved in include:

- Investigating how school climates are associated with outcomes including student mental health and wellbeing, bullying and antisocial behaviours, resilience, and life satisfaction

- Investigating teachers' and students' experiences within a professional development initiative focused on culturally responsive teaching mathematics teaching

- Developing and validating questionnaire tools for examining students' perceptions of their learning environments and teachers' perceptions of their professional learning / professional development

I am open to inquiries about supervision of postgraduate research related to any of the areas mentioned above and/or research that aligns with my interest in people's educational experiences and the key question: What is it like for you? I am open to supervising both monograph theses and theses with publication.

Recent Publications

  • McChesney, K. (2022). The environment as third teacher: Features of a high-quality early childhood learning environment. Retrieved from

  • McChesney, K., Burford, J., Frick, L., & Khoo, T. (2022). Doctoral research by distance [website]. Retrieved from

  • McChesney, K., & Burford, J. (2022). Supporting the wellbeing of doctoral researchers who study at a distance. Retrieved from

  • McChesney, K., Burford, J., Frick, L., & Khoo, T. (2022). Reframing doctoral research by distance: No longer second best. In 8th Postgraduate Supervision Conference. The Centre for Higher and Adult Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa [online].

Find more research publications by Katrina McChesney