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Christian Education Research Centre

Established in 2013, the Christian Education Research Centre (CERC) seeks to promote Christian education research both within the university and by partnering with other institutions, particularly Christian schools, Christian tertiary institutions, and their administering entities.


  • Serve and inform Avondale University stakeholders with research seen as vital to their operation and development.
  • Mobilise research teams on campus to take up Christian education research.
  • Facilitate cross-discipline and cross research centre cooperation in the area of Christian education.
  • Foster research collaboration with national and international Christian tertiary institutions.


The director of the Christian Education Research Centre is appointed by the Vice-Chancellor of Avondale University, in consultation with the Research Dean. The Vice-Chancellor, Research Dean and Research Centre Director will select the members of the Board.

The responsibilities of the Board are:

  • To establish and provide advice on the overall strategic direction for the Centre and its activities in accordance with its purpose and objectives.
  • To set and amend as necessary the Centre’s objectives.
  • To set and review overall management and delivery of the Centre’s activities against annual plans and budgets.
  • To oversee the Centre’s compliance with Avondale’s procedures and policies.
  • To approve any spending against the budget.
  • To recommend annual budgets to the finance office.

Annual Report

The latest Annual Report documenting the activities of this Centre can be viewed on the Strategy and Performance page.


Dr Peter Beamish
Lake Macquarie Campus, Avondale University
Telephone: +612 4980 2179
Email: [email protected]

Find Research Services →

CERC News and Communications

Giving to CERC →

Our Impact

The impact that the research conducted by CERC staff has had and will continue to have on the theories and practice of Christian Education is substantial. The transformative projects they lead & collaborate on can be discovered through Research Online @ Avondale, as well as TEACH Journal of Christian Education.

Here for Good – Researcher Interviews

Mrs. Bev Christian
School of Education

Assoc Prof. Darren Morton
School of Education

Dr. David McClintock
Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific Education Director

Dr. Jason Morton
School of Science & Mathematics

Jill Pearce
Christian Education Research Centre

Lisa Barnes
Christian Education Research Centre

Peter Kilgour
Christian Education Research Centre

Karyn Cameron
Christian Education Research Centre

Kevin Petrie
Christian Education Research Centre

Our People

Researchers affiliated with this centre are listed below along with embedded links to their full staff profiles.

Dr Peter Beamish
CERC Director

Associate Professor Peter Kilgour

Mrs Bev Christian

Associate Professor Carolyn Rickett

Dr. David McClintock

Professor Kevin Petrie

Dr Marion Shields

Dr Peter Williams

Sandra Ludlow

Associate Professor Sherry Hattingh

Professor Tracie Mafile’o

Research Partners

  • The Adventist Schools in the South Pacific region. These include Adventist Schools Australia, Adventist Schools New Zealand and the Adventist Schools of the Union Missions.
  • Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea
  • Fulton College, Fiji
  • The Christian school/tertiary sector
  • The School of Arts and Business at Avondale University
  • The School of Education and Science at Avondale University
  • The School of Nursing and Health at Avondale University
  • The School of Ministry and Theology at Avondale University\

Our Projects

The projects undertaken by CERC include research areas that:

  • Examine Christian schools’ connections to current education trends
  • Establish the efficacy of curriculums, initiatives and projects of Christian schools from a Christian standpoint.
  • Seeks to examine the faith development of students in Adventist schools.
Current Projects
Project TitleLead/Funding BodyResearchersCompletion DetailsProject Information
Emerging Educational Leaders: Perceptions Along the JourneyCERC / ASA Leadership InstitutePeter Williams2022 –This project aims to explore Adventist School Australia (ASA) employees’ perceptions of leadership issues and leadership development programs.
School Chaplaincy: The Ministry of Presence During School LockdownsCERC / ASA Leadership InstitutePeter Williams2022 –The purpose of this research is to explore school chaplains’ perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on their roles in support of school students and staff, as well as the challenges, supports, sense of belonging, purpose and mission of these school chaplains.
The Relationship Between School Climate and Faith Engagement in SchoolsCERC/
Peter Kilgour,
Kevin Petrie
Leadership Development: A Key to Educational System SustainabilityCERCPeter Williams2019-
The Integration of a school market gardening program into the Australian F-6 curriculum: A case study of one Adventist primary SchoolCERCBev Christian,
Sandra Ludlow,
Jason Morton,
Karyn Stanton,
Peter Williams,
Dr Robyn Pearce,
Marion Shields,
Andrea Thompson
2019-Explores how one Adventist primary school integrates a school market gardening program into both the Australian F-6 curriculum & the objectives of Adventist education for authentic learning.
Why Avondale?CERCMaria Northcote,
Jane Fernandez,
Steve Currow,
Peter Kilgour,
Carolyn Rickett
2021-Aims to investigate, firstly, why MPhil and PhD candidates choose Avondale to complete their research degrees and, secondly, to determine why these candidates stay at Avondale throughout their postgraduate studies.
Teachers’ perspectives of the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns, and how they perceive the future, for ASA (Adventist Schools Australia) schoolsCERC/
Adventist Schools Australia
Peter Kilgour,
Maria Northcote,
Jason Morton,
Megan Cousins,
Kirsty Pearce
2021-Investigates teachers’ perspectives on the journey of Adventist schools in managing the COVID-19 response, especially during the school shutdown and on return to face-to-face teaching. The study will also come to understand their perceptions of what the ‘new normal’ for education may look like in the future.
An Analysis of Research Fellowships at AvondaleCERCPeter Kilgour2021-Tracks the effectiveness of the current workload formula that allocates academic staff their research hours, to find out how we can maximise research outputs from the staff we have.
Sustainable Development Goals at AvondaleCERCPeter Kilgour2022-This project is analysing the level of knowledge of Avondale staff of the SDGs, and then organising training for them. Their new level of knowledge of the SDGs will be researched after they have done their professional learning.
The Narratives of Adventist Tertiary Institutions – An International StudyCERCPeter KilgourIn the worksLooks at 6 Adventist tertiary institutions around the world & traces their philosophies & raison d’etre.

Our Events


ASA Research Symposium

Hosted annually by the Christian Education Research Centre, the Adventist Schools Australia Research Symposium highlights research projects taking place in the context of Seventh-day Adventist Schools. The sharing of research findings in this setting provides the potential for significant impact, with Adventist Schools Australia directors and system administrators present.

This year, presenters shared findings from projects relating to topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on Adventist schools and the management challenges and responses of Christian early childhood leaders. Additionally, higher degree by research students shared summaries of their PhD research in the form of a three-minute thesis. These presentations explored areas such as the role of spiritual discernment in Christian school boards, the lived experience of literacy leaders who receive and implement instructional coaching, and the strategies, skills and support schools can implement to enhance teacher wellbeing.

Watch these three-minute thesis presentations below.

Paul Campey
Spiritual discernment in Christian school boards

Dawn Grant-Skiba
The lived experience of literacy leaders who receive coaching

Bree Hills
Enhancing teacher wellbeing


CERC HDR Research Symposium – 15 April 2021

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