Finnish honour for Griffith academic

Professor Stephen Billett will travel to Finland to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Jyvaskyla for his contribution to educational science

An esteemed institution from a nation ranked as a world leader in education is to honour Griffith University academic Professor Stephen Billett.

As part of celebrations to mark 150 years of teacher education at Finland’s University of Jyvaskyla, Professor Billett has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to educational science.

The Professor of Adult and Vocational Education said he was humbled by the acknowledgment, particularly given Finland’s renowned dedication to education and educational research and performance.

The Finnish education system has ranked at or near the top of most major international assessments in recent years, leading to praise of Finland as an “education superpower” and an “education miracle”.

Professor Billet said his connection to the University of Jyvaskyla was founded on research, collaboration and publications.

“I’ve done collaborative work, supervised PhD students, co-authored a book that brought PhD research together and I’m pleased my ideas have been found helpful,” he said.

Located in central Finland, the University of Jyvaskyla is that nation’s second-largest tertiary institution. With about 15,000 students, its commitment to teacher education is long-running and internationally respected.

As well as a significant individual achievement, Professor Billett’s Honorary Doctorate recognises the high level of scholarship, research and theory emanating from Griffith University.

Before joining Griffith in 1992, Professor Billett made his name in clothing manufacturing. Beginning his working life in England as a designer and technician in the industry, after migrating to Australia he became Queensland’s first ever male fashion teacher, based at a Brisbane TAFE.

His expertise and reputation have expanded considerably since then. Having completed his PhD and joined Griffith’s School of Education and Professional Studies in 1996, Professor Billett is now an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow.

His current research is an ARC-funded study of how people learn through work, the aim being to find ways to make the workplace a more effective learning environment.

Professor Billett will travel to Finland duringAugustand will receive his Honorary Doctorate as part ofwhat is known as the Solemn Ceremony of the Awarding of the Degree. He will alsoaccept a ceremonial sword.

The President of Finland, Mr Sauli Niniisto, is also among those being honouredand the conferment ceremony will take place over three days and comprise various official functions and activities.