Dr Robert G (Jerry) Schwab

Bachelor of Arts Sociology (cum laude) Southern Oregon College, Master of Science Anthropology University of Oregon, PhD Anthropology Australian National University
Honorary Associate Professor and former Director CAEPR
College Arts & Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Education 130301
  • Education Assessment And Evaluation 130303
  • Education Policy 160506
  • Studies Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Society 169902
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Public Policy 160510
  • Specialist Studies In Education 1303
  • Policy And Administration 1605

Research interests

R.G. (Jerry) Schwab is Honary Associate Professor and former Director of  the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at The Australian National University where he carries out research related to Indigenous education, literacy and youth policy. He has been involved with educational research and development in Australia and overseas (USA, Canada, United Arab Emirates and Egypt) since the mid-1980s. Since joining CAEPR in 1995, he has carried out primary and secondary research on issues as diverse as Aboriginal community-controlled schools, notions of educational 'failure' and 'success' among Indigenous students, Indigenous workforce development and Indigenous education outcomes at the primary, secondary and post-compulsory levels. He has long standing research interest in the relationship between schools and communities. His recent research has focused on Indigenous youth and new media, learning, philanthropy and Indigenous land and resource management as an avenue for the educational and social re-engagement of Indigenous youth in remote regions.

Current student projects

Current PhD Students:

Supervisory Panel Chair:

Mr Anthony Dreise: ‘Fired Optimism: Philanthropy and Indigenous Australia’

Professor Susan Page: ‘Beyond Black and White: Exploring Threshold Concepts in First Year Australian Indigenous Studies Curricula’

Mr Geoff Buchanan: ‘Country, Culture and Economy: Looking after Country and Economic Participation in Remote Indigenous Australia’

Ms Talia Avrahamzon: 'Children's Participation in Reconciliation: Good Intentions with Unintended Consequences'

Supervisory Panel Advisor:

Ms Corinne Walsh: 'Anthropological analysis of Indigenous ear disease (‘otitis media’) and hearing loss'

Mr Ben Wilson: 'Cultures of collaboration: Exploring the place based pedagogical approaches of the Indigenous people of Meanjin (Brisbane)'

Ms Claire Rafferty:'Towards an intercultural pedagogy of engagement in remote Northern Territory schools'

Past student projects

Past PhD students:

Supervisory Panel Chair:

Dr Inge Kral: ‘Writing words-right way: Literacy and Social Practice in the Ngaanyatjarra World’ (2007)

Dr William Fogarty: ‘Learning Through Country: Competing Knowledge Systems and Place-Based Pedagogy’ (2010)

Dr Katherine Sullivan: ‘Motivating and Maintaining Resistance from Crime: Male Aboriginal Offenders Experience of ‘Going Good’’ (2012)


Ms Julie Crough: ‘People, Place and Practices: Digital Technologies in the Changing World of Fire Management in Northern Australia’ (Charles Darwin University, 2016)

Dr Nicholas Biddle: ‘Does it Pay to go to School?: The Benefits and Participation in Education of Indigenous Australians’ (2007)

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Updated:  16 January 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers