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: Kevin LAWS , Ken CRUICKSHANK

Thesis abstract:

Getting to the Top: Narratives of Australian Women Executives

Despite over-representation at graduate level since 1986 Australian women continue to be underrepresented at executive level on management boards and within senior management of organisations (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 has been gradual and slow at a time when women have unprecedented educational and employment opportunities (Still, 2006; Sealy, Vinnicombe & Doldor, 2009; Australian Government, 2012). 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 finance, business, and education sectors as well as in service industries including engineering, accounting and the law (Still, 2006; Sealy, Vinnicombe & 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 in Australian organisations. 
Using a narrative inquiry approach this research project investigated the experiences of 18 successful Australian women executives, shared through personal interviews. These storied accounts explore and present a personal retrospective view of the factors enabling executive success.  This study investigated how the participants   addressed their own navigation through the barriers of the so-called ‘glass ceiling’  (Martell, 2004; Haslam and Ryan, 2008). This study also provided an opportunity for women to explore and explain their understanding of what ‘success’ meant to them.

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

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