Ms Shirley Koch

BEd(hons)(UWA), BA(UWA), MBM(UTS)
PhD candidate, Tutor

Telephone 93516271


Biographical details


  • Teacher and Tertiary mentor B.Ed (Primary) and M.T programs.
  • PhD candidate- Getting to the Top: Narratives of successful Australian women executives.


Over 30 years experience in school education (teaching and administration); special and inclusive education, Gifted education and Science education.

Research interests

Teaching and learning focus: Science education, Gifted education, pre-service professional experience, teacher professional learning.

Research focus: Narrative Inquiry, gender disparity.

Teaching and supervision

  • In-school mentoring B.Ed years 2-4
  • In-school mentoring M.T 1 and M.T 2
  • EDUP2007 - professional experience
  • EDUF3028- Mentoring in the educational context.
  • EDUP3009- Science education 1
  • EDMT6012- Research Supervision

Thesis work

Thesis title: Getting to the top: Narratives of Australian women executives

Supervisors: Ken CRUICKSHANK , Jonnell UPTIN

Thesis abstract:

Getting to the Top: Success stories of some Australian Women Executives
Women face unique obstacles in moving upwards in organisational hierarchies, remaining over-represented at the lower levels and under-represented in the ‘pipeline’ for advancement in most sectors (Still, 2006; Sealy, Vinnicombe and Doldor, 2009; Australian Government, 2012) despite over-representation at graduate level since 1986 ( Rodgers-Healey, 2012). Despite the introduction of equal opportunity initiatives, changes in anti-discrimination legislation, and altered societal attitudes and expectations towards gender roles change in gender balance at the top has been agonisingly slow at a time when women have unprecedented educational and employment opportunities (Still, 2006; Sealy, Vinnicombe and Doldor, 2009; Australian Government, 2012). Despite the paucity of women at the top there are some who have managed to overcome the obstacles, taking their places at the boardroom tables and in senior management positions.

Using a narrative inquiry approach this research project investigated the experiences of 17 Australian women executives, shared through personal interviews. These storied accounts explored a range of ideas of what success is and how participants navigated through the barriers of the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ (Martell, 2004; Haslam and Ryan, 2008). The results point to a complex combination of personal characteristics, early recognition of potential, and support at significant times from important adults.

Current projects

Getting to the Top: Narratives of successful Australian women executives.

A Narrative Inquiry based exploration of enabling factors for women who have 'made it to the top'.


Australian College of Educators

Australian Institute of Management

To update your profile click here. For support on your academic profile contact .