Robyn Baker’s career has been in the field of education where she has contributed as a teacher, researcher, curriculum developer, teacher educator and leader. She was the Director and CEO of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research from 2000 to 2014. As a science educator Robyn has been involved in many national developments, including science curriculum and environmental education initiatives. She was a member of the Royal Society Council 1997-2002 and more recently chaired its Education Committee.
Robyn led the management of the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (2003-2014). Currently, she chairs the selection and monitoring panels for the Teacher-led Innovation Fund. This fund is one aspect of the government’s Investing in Educational Success policy and provides funds for teachers to investigate new and innovative practices that have the potential to improve student learning.
Robyn has considerable experience of governance, as a senior manager working to a board and as a governor. Currently she is the Deputy Chair of the Board of the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER), a global research organisation with significant operations in a number of countries, including India, South America and Africa.
Robyn is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education (2015) and in 2002 was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand Silver Science and Technology medal.
What attracted you to the Chair role?
The possibility of working with an expert collective – the Commissioners and the Secretariat – to make a small, but deliberate contribution to shaping the future we want for the upcoming generations attracted me to the role. The issues we face nationally and globally are complex and I think solutions require people with a diversity of expertise working together in systematic and sustained ways. It also requires a focus on areas that matter and thinking about the opportunities offered in the intersection between these key areas. I believe that the five areas of focus for the National Commission – education, communication and information, social and human sciences, natural sciences, and culture – all have a critical contribution to make as we shape the future we want and need.
In all, the National Commission focuses on areas that I think are important. It offers both diversity and expertise along with rich networks. I was keen to be part of this.