Dr Karen Maras
Arts, Design & Architecture
Dr Karen Maras is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. She is also Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching). Her research and scholarship specialisations include learning and development in Visual Arts education, as well as curriculum and assessment practice in school and higher education contexts. Her interest in curriculum theory and issues in education is also informed by her ongoing and extensive experience in state and national curriculum reforms, and involvement in national and international teacher education forums.
Karen began her career in teacher education at COFA UNSW, now the School of Art & Design. There she completed three degrees in art education. She was awarded a Bachelor of Art Education to qualify as an art teacher in NSW schools. After eight years of teaching Karen then returned to UNSW to complete a Master of Art Education to focus on the theoretical and psychological bases of art understanding. This study provided a basis for her further PhD research on the developmental constraints on student learning progression in art, a study that continues to inform current developments in art curriculum, teaching and assessment.
Before coming to UNSW Karen led programs in Visual Arts teacher education at Australian Catholic University. In 2011, she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Citation for outstanding contribution to Visual Arts teacher education through development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field, recognising her teaching excellence.
Karen has also held a range of leadership roles as Head of School at ACU and also as Deputy Head of School, Learning & Teaching at ACU and UNSW Sydney with particular responsibility for the accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs. Karen currently leads the Graduate Teacher Assessment Program in the UNSW School of Education, and, is also the Director of the UNSW Matraville Education Partnership.
Karen’s current interests include supporting and retaining early career teachers (ECTs) in schools. She has been awarded $90,000 over the last 3 years to establish and lead a Mentoring Program for ECTs. The program has gradually expanded to involve a team of experts from the UNSW School of Education who support newly graduated teachers to hone their practices in behaviour management, cognitive load and teacher self-efficacy, and curriculum and assessment.
As a Scientia Fellow Karen is committed to inspire education excellence by implementing a mentoring program for educators across the University in which teaching and learning is conceived as a creative practice. This initiative would support educators to build praxis-oriented teaching and emancipatory purpose through critical and creative curriculum design and evaluation, pedagogical reasoning, and assessment.