Stephen is Professor of Adult and Vocational Education in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
He is a National Teaching Fellow and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, a Fulbright scholar, who holds an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) from the University of Jyvaskala, Finland. In addition, to his Honorary Research Fellowship at Oxford, he holds visiting professorships at the University of Stavanger and, Gold Coast University Hospital. He currently leads research projects in Australia, Singapore, Norway and the Middle East. He reviews grant applications for regional agencies and governments and conducts program evaluations in a range of countries.
After a career in garment manufacturing, Stephen has worked as a vocational educator, educational administrator, teacher educator, professional development practitioner and policy developer in the Australian vocational education system and as a teacher and researcher at Griffith University. Since 1992, he has researched learning through and for work and has published widely in fields of learning of occupations, workplace learning, work and conceptual accounts of learning for vocational purposes. His sole authored books include Learning through work: Strategies for effective practice (Allen and Unwin 2001); Work, change and workers (Springer 2006) Vocational Education (Springer 2011) and Mimetic learning at Work (2014) and Integrating Practice-based Learning in Higher Education Programs (Springer 2015).
He is the founding and Editor in Chief of Vocations and learning: Studies in vocational and professional education (Springer) and lead editor of the book series Professional and practice-based learning (Springer) the International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning (2014) with colleagues from Germany. He was a Fulbright Professional Scholar in 1999, awarded a 2009-2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council National Teaching Fellowship that identified principles and practices to effectively integrate learning experiences in practice and academic settings. His four-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2015-2018) on learning through practice identified a curriculum and pedagogy of practice, and his Office of Learning and Teaching Development national grant (2015-2018) examined higher education students’ post-practicum experiences. In August 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Jyvasksla University (Finland) for his contributions to educational science and elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia in 2015. His current research projects in Australia, Norway, Singapore and the Middle East, are on learning across working life, confronting changes in working life, supporting adults learning across working life and the status and standing of occupations and provisions of tertiary education.