Current position (2016-2019): Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Education at UNSW (Sydney, Australia). 

Current Research Projects

Model of Teacher Success: A Framework Validation Project
I recently partnered with the NSW Department of Education for a three year (October 2017- October 2020) funded research project aimed at validating a model of teacher success – stay tuned for details!

2018 Museum-based Professional Development for Teachers
I will be conducting a one-year study in partnership with Professor Martin of the School of Education and Derek Williamson from the Museum of Human Disease within the Faculty of Medicine. We were awarded funding for this study from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences through the Collaborative Research Scheme. This partnership aims to increase the museum’s impact on teachers’ professional learning and advance understanding of how teachers enhance students’ engagement in STEM education. Specifically, we aim to discover how to best help develop teachers’ ability to optimise female students’ academic achievement and career aspirations.

PL-TIME: Professional Learning and Teachers’ Interpersonal skills, Motivation, and Engagement
Since 2016, my postdoctoral research has focused on the key personal characteristics of preservice teachers in teacher education programs at two universities in Australia. Visit the
PL-TIME project page for more information.

Since 2014, I have been a member of an international teacher selection project team, led by Professor Robert Klassen (University of York, UK).

  • Through this project, I have learned about developing situational judgement tests that can help assess the non-academic attributes (e.g., empathy and adaptability) of prospective teachers entering into initial teacher education programs 
  • Locally, we conducted research (2014-2016) with the NSW Department of Education on exploring characteristics of effective teachers specific to rural and remote settings. This research has focused on applying the situational judgment test methodology to the assessment of non-academic attributes of teachers entering the profession.

We published an article based on this research: Durksen, T. L., & Klassen, R. M. (2017). The development of a Situational Judgement Test of personal attributes for quality teaching in rural and remote Australia. The Australian Educational Researcher (Online first: 9 December 2017). doi: 10.1007/s13384-017-0248-5

I completed my PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta (Canada) with a three-study dissertation on teacher motivation and professional learning.

  • Durksen, T. L. (2015). Promoting professional growth: A developmental and motivational approach to teachers’ professional learning (Doctoral dissertation). Available at
  • Publications from my PhD include: 

Durksen, T. L., Klassen, R. M., & Daniels, L. M. (2017). Motivation and collaboration: The keys to a developmental framework for teachers’ professional learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67. 53-66. doi:

Durksen, T. L. & Klassen, R. M. (2012). Pre-service teachers’ weekly commitment and engagement during a final training placement: A longitudinal mixed methods study. Educational and Child Psychology 29, 32-46. Retrieved from

Leading up to my PhD program:

  • I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours with Distinction) in Psychology, a post-degree Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology.
  • Prior to my Master of Arts program, I worked as a primary school teacher.