Dr Ailie McDowall is an education and Indigenous Studies academic. She is currently teaching undergraduate and postgraduate coursework, and coordinates the Indigenous Education and Research Centre’s Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) program.

As a non-Indigenous researcher and educator, my interests lie in how educators develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous graduates and researchers to respond to the needs of Indigenous peoples. I have a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) and a PhD in education, both conferred by the University of Queensland (UQ). I have worked with the Indigenous Education and Research Centre at James Cook University since 2019. Before starting at JCU, I taught at the School of Education at the UQ. Throughout the last decade, I have also worked as a music festival organiser, at festivals such as Woodford Folk Festival, The Planting Festival, Island Vibe Festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest, and Groovin’ The Moo.

Indigenous Studies Research

With a background in both education and psychology, I am interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and how we teach complexity. My earlier research looked at the learning engagements of non-Indigenous students in compulsory Indigenous education coursework. I am currently working on a research project about the preparation of research students to engage in Indigenous topics.


The IERC provides an Indigenous Studies curriculum for students from year 10 through to Masters by Research, and I teach across this pathway.

Our teaching work begins with the IERC’s annual Winter School, where I work with ten Year 10-12 Indigenous students undertaking Indigenous Studies curriculum during a one-week university residential.

My primary teaching responsibilities follow into undergraduate and postgraduate Indigenous Studies coursework, including IA2030/5029 Comparative Indigenous Studies, IA3024 Indigenous Narratives in the Contemporary Era, and IA3030/5030 Navigating the Cultural Interface. I am a curriculum specialist and took a lead role in developing the current Indigenous Studies suite of subjects through the writing of teaching materials for four subjects (Level 2 and 3).  

As the Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) coordinator, I take the lead role in teaching two research intensives that support beginning research students in their learning.

I ground my teaching through communities of inquiry, and use relational and collaborative approaches to develop students’ self-confidence and self-efficacy in their learning, whilst developing their academic and analytical skills, and their appreciation of complexity. 

Postgraduate Research

I currently supervise several HDR students who are examining topics such as academic resilience for Indigenous students, Indigenous content in the Australian curriculum, initial teacher education, and in-service teacher professional learning. I also coordinate the Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) program, undertake a range of activities supporting Indigenous HDRs across JCU, and am a member of the university’s Research Education Sub-Committee (RESC).

I am available to supervise Master of Philosophy (Indigenous) or PhD projects in Indigenous education. These projects are best suited to students with a background and/or interest in educational practice, and a passion for supporting Indigenous students in schooling.

The IERC enrols students through an annual intake and you will undertake a series of intensives, designed to give you the skills and confidence you need to undertake research with an Indigenous topic. Whilst a research degree requires independent learning, you will also work together with myself and your colleagues. Find out more about our teaching progams, including the Master of Philosophy, here

Interested students should email me with a description of the type of research you would like to undertake, your CV, and a summary of your previous degree(s).

  • IA2030: Comparative Indigenous Studies (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • IA3024: Indigenous Narratives in the Contemporary Era (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • IA3030: Navigating the Cultural Interface (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • IA5030: Navigating the Cultural Interface (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • Higher Degree by Research students
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Decoloniality
  • Student learning in higher education
  • Research education
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Indigenous policy
  • Learning development
  • Critical and relational teaching approaches
  • 2018 - Senior Research Assistant, School of Education, The University of Queensland
  • 2013 to 2018 - Sessional Academic, School of Education, The University of Queensland
  • 2015 to 2016 - HDR Student Representative, School of Education, The University of Queensland
  • 2015 to 2016 - Postgraduate Research Community Conference Committee Chair, School of Education, The University of Queensland

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • A sociological examination of children’s experience and effectiveness when participating in activism. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Larger Implications of a Focus on Indigenous Year 12 Certification (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Using online and mobile gamification to orient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to Library services and resources. (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Indigenous Student Perceptions and Assumprions about Digital Technology Curriculum and Opportunities (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • An Inquiry into developing Teacher Capacity in the Torres Straits (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Equity for First Nation Peoples: Why do Educational Programs Designed to Enggae Non-Indigenous Educators fail to gain Traction or Contribute to Longterm Systemic change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples? (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Exploration of Resilience of Indigenous Students in Remote Contexts (Masters , Primary Advisor)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

  • 301.015, Bebegu Yamba - Indigenous Education and Research (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
Find me on…
Icon for ORCID profile Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for LinkedIn profile page Icon for ResearchGate profile Icon for Publons reviewer profile

Similar to me

  1. Prof Brian Lewthwaite
    College of Arts, Society & Education
  2. A/Prof Leanne Dalley
    College of Arts, Society & Education
  3. Prof Margaret Anne Carter
    College of Arts, Society & Education
  4. A/Prof Helen Boon
    College of Arts, Society & Education
  5. Prof Komla Tsey
    College of Arts, Society & Education