Advancing educational research

3 April 2017

Dr Ray Debus, teacher, researcher, professor and University of Sydney alumnus, has ensured his passion for the advancement of education lives on well after his passing.

Ray Debus

Dr Ray Debus.

Alumnus and Associate Professor Dr Ray Debus taught and researched in the area of educational psychology at the University of Sydney from 1958 to 1996. Following his retirement, he remained an Honorary Associate in the faculty until permanently retiring in 2009.

Dr Debus dedicated his lifetime work at the University to the advancement of education. However, he also ensured his legacy would live on by bequeathing almost $1 million to establish an endowed fund. This fund will enable honours students and graduates to pursue advanced studies or research in the field of education.

“Associate Professor Ray Debus was an esteemed educational psychologist who advised and mentored many doctoral students and early career researchers during the time he worked in the Faculty of Education,” says Professor Diane Mayer, Head of School and Dean, Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

Many of Dr Debus’s students are now prominent educational researchers. Dr Debus remained involved in supervising postgraduate research students until 2009.

According to Professor Mayer, the Sydney School of Education and Social Work is dedicated to preparing high-quality teachers through research-led programs, as well as providing professional and ongoing learning opportunities for teachers, and to conduct leading international research to inform the profession and influence policy – goals that were close to Dr Debus’s heart.

“Our challenge is to ensure that each and every school student is given the best possible opportunity to succeed and achieve positive learning outcomes,” Professor Mayer says. “To do that we are preparing the next generation of researchers and scholars. It is our vision to be a national and international leader in education, social work and social policy.”

The University will achieve this, she says, through excellence in professional education, rigorous research, and informed and critical engagement with theory, policy and practice.

“The bequest from Dr Debus will support high-quality researchers committed to excellence in professional education and critical engagement with policy and practice in ways designed to ensure socially just educational outcomes,” Professor Mayer says.

Dr Debus was also the patron of the NSW Institute of Educational Research. He was a founding member of the Australian Association for Research in Education in 1970 and remained an active member of that association until his death in 2014.

“The Sydney School of Education and Social Work is honoured to accept the bequest from Dr Debus for scholarships to support honours students or candidates in research higher degree programs,” says Professor Mayer. “These scholarships will enable student to pursue advanced studies or research in the field of education in Australia or overseas, and realise Dr Debus’s commitment to high-quality and impactful educational research.”

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