Dr Don Zoellner

Ph.D, M.Ed.Ad., Grad.Dip., B.Sc.Ed.

University Fellow

Dr Don Zoellner has worked in the school, vocational and higher education sectors in the Northern Territory since 1973, retiring from a pro-vice-chancellor position at Charles Darwin University in 2010.

Dr Zoellner has held appointments in both Alice Springs and Darwin including acting principal at Darwin High School, principal Alice Springs High School and Executive Director of the former Centralian College in Alice Springs. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Enterprise and Career Education Foundation and Chairperson of the Australian Principals’ Associations Professional Development Council.

His formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Education, Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Senior Executive Public Sector Management. Dr Zoellner's PhD thesis was in the area of policy development and implementation of vocational education and training.

Research Interests

  • Comparing community engagement structures
  • VET policy making and implementation
  • Northern Territory VET history
  • Public policy making and implementation
  • Vocational education and training
  • The relationship between governments and markets
  • Governance
  • Young people and mental health

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Research Projects

Current Projects

  • Employer behaviour in the labour market.
  • Exploring the limits of effectiveness of vocational education and training policies.
  • Researching the applicability of institutional logics to the vocational education and training sector.
  • Apprenticeship completion and heat stress.
  • Comparing community engagement structures.

Publications & Resources

Books

Zoellner, D. (2017). Vocational education and training: The Northern Territory’s history of public philanthropy. Canberra, ACT: ANU Press.

Book Chapters

Lovell, J., Zoellner, D., Guenther, J., Brouard, F., & McMurtry, J.J. (2016). Contemporary Aboriginal settlements: understanding mixed market approaches. In A. Taylor, D.B. Carson, P.C. Ensign, L. Huskey, R.O. Rasmussen & G. Saxinger (eds.), Settlements at the edge: remote human settlements in developed nations. Gloucester: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Zoellner, D. (2014). Transparency: tracing its journey into vocational education and training. In T. Griffin (ed.), 2013 postgraduate research papers: a compendium. Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Journal Articles

Zoellner, D. (2019). "How good is choice in the VET market? ‘Not very’ says big data." The Australian TAFE Teacher 53 (3):25-27.

Zoellner, D. & Stephens, A. (2019). "The changing balances of equity, control and market choice in the Indigenous vocational education and training sector." Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts 24:4-20. doi: https://doi.org/10.18793/lcj2019.24.02.

Zoellner, D. (2019), Institutional logics: reconceptualising ‘public providers’ in post-open market technical and vocational education and training. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, pp. 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2019.1623295.

Zoellner, D. (2019), Slicing VET data differently: tropical seasonality and evidence-based commencement and completion policies. International Journal of Training Research, 17(1), 65-79.

Zoellner, D., Brearley, M. & Oppermann, E. (2017). Regional disparities in apprentice attrition rates: heat and quarter four's significance in Northern Australia, International Journal of Training Research, 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14480220.2017.1312694

Zoellner, D., Stephens, A., Joseph, V. & Monro, D. (2016). 'Mission-driven adaptability in a changing national training system', The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 1-10, DOI 10.1017/jie.2016.24.

Zoellner, D. (2016). England makes a strategic retreat from VET markets. The Australian TAFE Teacher, 50(3), 14.

Zoellner, D. (2016). Active social policy meets the discipline of the Australian marketplace: the outcomes of mobile policies. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 68(2), 214-228.

Zoellner, D. (2016). Ignoring those very inconvenient canaries in the coal mine. The Australian TAFE Teacher, 50(1), 11-3.

Zoellner, D. (2015). The secrets of VET. The Australian TAFE Teacher, 49(3), 16-8.

Zoellner, D. (2015). Quality in vocational education and training: an essentially contested concept. International Journal of Training Research, 13(3), 262-71.

Zoellner, D. (2012). Dualism and vocational education and training: creating the people who need training. International Journal of Training Research, 10(2), 79-93.

Zoellner, D. (2009). Creating shared mental models for evidence-based mental health promotion in schoolsAdvances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2(3), 15-29.

Conference Papers & Presentations

Zoellner, D. (2019) "How good is choice in the VET market? 'Not very' says big data." Community Colleges Australia, Brisbane, 19 November 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2019) 'Beyond community service obligations: the institutional logics and public value of TAFE', paper presented to TAFE Directors Australia Convention, Brisbane, 4 September 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2019). 'Student choice and lifelong learning: who you gonna call?', paper presented to 28th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’ Adelaide, 12 July 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2019). 'Trading in a state-created TVET market: the regulatory intersection of social enterprise, charity and philanthropy', paper presented to 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, Sheffield, 27 June 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2019). 'VET, democracy and philanthropy: exercising ministerial responsibility', paper presented to Journal of VET Conference, Oxford, 28 June 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2019). 'Student choice and lifelong learning in New South Wales: minding the gap between rhetoric and reality', paper presented to The future of TAFE in NSW: towards new social policy TAFE roundtable, Sydney, 12 March 2019.

Zoellner, D. (2018). 'Institutional logics and their impact on TAFE', paper presented to Australian Education Union National TAFE Council Annual General Meeting, South Melbourne, 13 April 2018.

Zoellner, D. (2017). 'Who decides what networked TAFEs know?', paper presented to TAFE Directors Australia Convention, Adelaide, 7 September 2017.

Zoellner, D. (2017), 'Asking different questions of national VET data: identifying a new factor contributing to apprenticeship non-completions', paper presented to JVET 2017: Journal of Vocational Education and Training 12th International Conference, Oxford.

Zoellner, D. & Lovell, J. (2017) 'Usurping the role of social enterprises: Indigenous employment practices of Australian remote local government', paper presented to 6th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 5 July 2017.

Zoellner, D. & Lovell, J. (2017) 'Employing local staff: case studies of remote local government organisations', paper presented to Developing Northern Australia Conference 2017: progress, growth and investment, Cairns, 20 June 2017.

Zoellner, D. (2016). 'Re-identifying the student: an essential step in reducing VET to binary code', paper presented to the Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group Conference, Sydney, 8-9 December 2016.

Zoellner, D. (2016). The impact of market design in understanding quality. Paper presented to Driving Quality in VET Conference, Melbourne, 27 July 2016.

Zoellner, D. (2016). Repackaging the value of TAFE. Australian Education Union TAFE Council Annual General Meeting, Melbourne, 16 April 2016.

Zoellner, D. (2016). Fixing problematic apprentice systems: there is never a clean slate. The Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association, North Sydney, 21 April 2016.

Zoellner, D. (2015). A new and compelling narrative for the directors of Australia's public providers. TAFE Directors Australia Annual Conference, Hobart, pp. 88-94.

Zoellner, D. (2015). Don’t blame Dawkins; Kangan laid the foundation for VET markets. Paper presented to Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association International Conference, Melbourne, Vic.

Zoellner, D. (2013). The individual consumer of Australian VET – a very recent apparition. Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference. Oxford, United Kingdom.

Zoellner, D. (2013). At the leading edge: enacting VET in the Northern Territory. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association International Conference referred papers. Melbourne, Vic.

Zoellner, D. (2013). Productively independent: three decades of national research capacity. 21st National Centre for Vocational Education Research Conference refeered papers.  pp. 114-119. Adelaide, SA.

Zoellner, D. (2012). Do not pass go, do not collect $200: the priority given to vocational education and training policy and research. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association International Conference referred papers. Melbourne, Vic.

Zoellner, D. (2011). Change and VET: thinking the unthinkable. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association International Conference referred papers. Melbourne, Vic.

Zoellner, D. (2008). Three schools and Charles Darwin University - a case study in doing VETiS. The Future Directions in Vocational Skills for Youth National Forum & Workshop. TAFE Directors Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Research Reports

Zoellner, D. (2019). The place of VET in the education and employment policy landscape, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide. https://www.voced.edu.au/vet-knowledge-bank-landmark-documents-place-vet-historical-overview

Zoellner, D. (2017). Tasmanian vocational education and training policy impacts review: a report to the Board of TasTAFE, Northern Institute Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs.

Harrison, M., Zoellner, D., & Funk, J. (2015). Options to fund growth in the Northern Territory training market. Darwin, NT: Northern Institute Charles Darwin University.

Zoellner, D. (2015). Transparency: who scrutinises what? Research Today, 16, 9-10. AVETRA.

Zoellner, D. (2014). A strategic review of Desert Knowledge Australia. Alice Springs, NT: Charles Darwin University.

Zoellner, D. (2013). Northern Territory Vocational Education and Training Market. Darwin, NT: Northern Territory Department of Business, Darwin.

Media Coverage

Professional Positions, Memberships & Awards

Memberships

  • Chair of the Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory
  • Former Chair of the Board of Group Training Northern Territory (2012-2016)
  • Community member of the Northern Territory Mental Health Review Tribunal
  • Fellow of the Australian College of Education
  • Member of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association
  • Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course 
  • Former member of the Board of the National Advisory Council in Suicide Prevention
  • Former Chairperson of the National Reference Group for the secondary schools mental health resource Mind Matters

Awards

  • 2016 - Conference paper of the year, the Australian VET Research Association.
Dr Don Zoellner

Contacts

T: +61 8 8959 5259
E: don.zoellner@cdu.edu.au

Alice Springs, NT

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