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Vale Judy Mousley

Posted by Prof. Russell Tytler on October 13, 2020

Our colleague and friend, Associate Professor Judy Mousley lost her battle with Parkinson’s disease and passed away on 15 September, 2020.

Judy commenced in the Faculty of Education at Deakin in 1982 as a mathematics tutor and, over the years, firmly stamped her own brand of conscientious, responsive teaching on her work with Deakin students. She wanted students to learn and to understand the importance of mathematics in daily lives. In the early 2000s, Judy led the mathematics team at the Waurn Ponds campus, guiding a small team of academics and sessional staff to achieve strong learning outcomes for her students. She continued with her academic studies (her PhD) while participating in significant research around Australia. Her leadership saw her involved in the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA), not only as a contributing member, but as the President for several years (2006-2009).

Judy’s colleague and close friend, Emeritus Professor Peter Sullivan described Judy as, “… an academic, researcher, activist, innovator, teacher educator, but most of all teacher. She had a particular passion for researching and communicating ways to support the learning of disadvantaged students and their teachers, especially within Indigenous communities…She was a wonderful scholar”. Peter talked about her sense of humour and her wide-ranging intellect leading to constructs such as ‘enabling and extending prompts’ which have become part of mathematics education language. Her life membership citation for MERGA described her passion for supporting new and inexperienced researchers. It also noted Judy’s active role and contribution to professional organisations nationally and internationally including the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education.

Judy was a key member of the Centre for Mathematics and Science Education in the 90s, and an important and innovative participant in the establishment of the longstanding Contemporary Approaches to Research symposium. She brought to the group a rigorous postmodern critique of traditional methodological assumptions, coupled with a commitment to collegial processes. She was an early advocate for constructivist perspectives on learning and was important in forging understandings across the mathematics and science education literatures. She was a driving force behind an early video-based digital project providing access to the complexities of learning in primary school classrooms.

In the mid 2000s, Judy became the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty, a role in which she excelled. Her years as a teacher, blended with her teaching at Deakin, and evidenced through her research, saw her bring a unique appreciation of both student and academic perspectives to her role. In addition, her meticulous attention to detail saw the expansion of the role and the greater involvement of many other academics in this important area.  Active in this role, she attended the Deakin University Teaching and Learning Committee and was influential in discussions relating to broadening student learning outcomes. While in this role, Judy initiated the design and development of the Bachelor of Early Childhood which came into fruition in 2008 – one of the first of its kind in Australia.  She also mediated the development of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Learning, the Graduate Diploma of Education (primary) at the Geelong campus, along with regular reviews of other Education courses.

Judy was a considerate colleague – a person willing to support and help others. She regularly travelled across all Deakin campuses, meeting with all teaching academics, discussing, counselling and improving teaching at Deakin. After her retirement in 2010 she continued to work casually with the mathematics education team in the School of Education up until 2019, when the onset of the disease prevented her from continuing.

Judy’s contribution to Deakin, through research, teaching and significant service roles, will have lasting impact.

Tribute from Susie Groves

Vale Judy Mousley – you will be sadly missed by so many

I first met Judy over 30 years ago and had a long professional and personal relationship with her.

Judy was funny and fun to be with. She was generous both personally and professionally. Judy invited me to stay overnight when I had work commitments in Geelong and my partner and I even had an extended holiday at her Ocean Grove house once when Judy and Ross were away. Professionally, Judy was always generous with both her time and her ideas, mentoring many junior academics.

Judy’s work in mathematics education was highly innovative. For example, in 1996 Judy and  Peter Sullivan produced the interactive CD-ROM Learning About Teaching, which enabled student teachers to interrogate a video of a Grade 6 mathematics lesson, using their own keywords and questions. This resource was used in teaching at Deakin and was also published and sold by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers.

Judy was held in high esteem by the world-wide mathematics education community. She was a highly regarded researcher and had been a Chief Investigator on four Australian Research Council and many other grants. A measure of her esteem was the fact that she presented an invited Regular Lecture at the 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-10) in Copenhagen in 2004.

Judy also made significant contributions to the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) and Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA), which awarded her a Life Membership. She convened the annual MERGA conference at Deakin’s Waterfront Campus in the middle of July in 2003. The conference is remembered by many not only for its outstanding academic program, but also for the amazing food, social events and conviviality.

No challenge was too difficult for Judy. She was able to drag a screaming bunch of sceptics along the path to off-campus teaching of mathematics education units while still managing to retain their hands-on and interactive components. She later persuaded the mathematics education team to offer two compulsory units to the entire cohort of primary and secondary pre-service undergraduate students in wholly online mode when the then Vice Chancellor decreed that every Deakin undergraduate student had to complete at least one wholly online unit as part of their first degree.

Judy had a great love of travel and was lucky to be accompanied on many overseas trips by her husband Ross, with whom she shared over 50 years of very happy marriage.

We will all miss you very much Judy.

Susie Groves

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