Dr Elizabeth Dowling - School of Theology (Faculty of Theology and Philosophy)

Assistant Supervisor – Only eligible to supervise with a fully accredited Principal or Co-supervisor

Dr Liz Dowling is a senior lecturer, at Australian Catholic University on the St Patricks Campus.

Liz has many years experience in building the capacity of leaders and RE teachers in religious education. Her extensive teaching, research and various roles within the higher education sector follows substantial experience in many educational settings, including primary and P-12 settings. In these capacities, Liz has held various curriculum leadership roles. Liz has also played a significant role in curriculum development as a Curriculum adviser for the Catholic Education Office Melbourne.

Currently her teaching includes education for Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary, pre-service and post graduate and in-service teacher education, as well as supervising postgraduate research students in the School of Education (Victoria). Liz's particular expertise is in Curriculum, Leadership and Professional learning.

Her doctoral thesis was in the area of Leading Professional Learning in Religious Education. This research explored the leadership role of the REC in professional learning to enhance staff and student learning in the context of Catholic primary schools. It generated theory to support leadership of religious educators in student learning. This investigation has implications for what is provided as professional learning for religious educators, how it is provided and how it is supported. The findings are particularly useful for all key stakeholders concerned with the quality of religious education who seek to implement and evaluate religious education professional learning and thus continue to improve the quality of the subject in the Catholic primary school. She was awarded the 2014 ACU recipient of the Catherine Moran Prize in Education. The prize is awarded to the author of the PhD thesis which makes the most significant contribution to research, scholarship and ethical practice in education as evidenced by review of relevant examiners reports

Her research interests include all aspects of religious education for Catholic schools; especially the pursuit of quality Religious education. Her most recent research is concerned with understanding the theory and practice of evaluation in classroom religious education in order to develop excellence in Catholic pedagogy (RE teaching).

Liz currently supervises 3 doctoral students and is on the Editorial Board for the Religious Education Journal of Australia.


Phone :3279 (Melbourne)
Email :liz.dowling@acu.edu.au
URIs : Staff Directory ProfilePersonal Website

Research Interests

Leadership Professional Learning, ; Religious Education ;

Methods Expertise

Grounded Theory, Case Study ;

Research Projects

No research project is currently recorded.

Selected Publications


Sometimes the obvious is not always so obvious! Some perceptions about Religious Education in Catholic primary schools. Religious Education , in Religious Education Journal of Australia 30(1), 3-10.


An investment in our future. Reimagining professional learning for religious educators., in Religious Education Journal of Australia 28(1), 23-29.

Effective professional learning for religious educators: Some preliminary findings. , in Journal of Religious Education 60(1), 22-30.


Religious leaders leada?| or do they? An examination of the leadership role of the REC in Australian Catholic schools. , in Journal of Religious Education 59(4), 22-30.

Other information

MEd Leadership (ACU), M.RE (ACU), D.ED (ACU) Leadership of professional learning

Liz has presented research, lectures, workshops, and conference papers nationally and in a variety of forums

Research interests
All aspects of religious education for Catholic schools; Curriculum in religious education; Leadership and Religious Schools Catholic schools and the future; Theories and models of religious education.