Dr. Luanna H. Meyer received her BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.S. (Social Studies and Special Education) and Ph.D. (Special Education) from Indiana University-Bloomington. She is Professor Emerita at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, where she was founding Director of the Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research and Professor of Education (Research). Previous appointments include senior academic management positions at Massey University in New Zealand (as Professor and Assistant Vice-Chancellor-Academic and Pro Vice-Chancellor Education), Professor at Syracuse University in New York, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, and Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai’i. She now resides permanently in Honolulu, Hawai’i in the USA.
Her major areas of interest and expertise include social science research and evaluation; the impact of motivation on student achievement; culturally responsive educational policy and practice; restorative approaches to behavioral challenges; assessment; faculty governance, research development, and quality audit in higher education; and the development of strategies to promote world-mindedness integral to a university education.
Luanna’s publications include a debut novel and 17 non-fiction books and journal special issues as well as nearly 200 international journal articles, book chapters, government reports, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and assessment tools. She has been invited to present her research in 9 countries and 30 U.S. states. Her earliest research studies conducted in the late 1970s found that structured contact between children with severe disabilities and their nondisabled peers resulted in positive attitudes and social relationships between the children. Later, she led a national, longitudinal research program that empirically demonstrated that children with severe disabilities provided with quality inclusive schooling outperformed matched peers in quality intensive special education programs on measures of adaptive behavior and social competence. She also co-authored with Ian M. Evans several of the earliest books and research articles on effective non-aversive interventions for severe behavioral challenges, leading to their two most recent books on restorative practices for schools and teachers published in 2012. While in New Zealand, she conducted research in higher education on assessment, internationalization, world-mindedness, faculty workloads, research development, and academic governance. She has led and continues to participate in several longitudinal research projects investigating the impact of culturally responsive practices on student outcomes and the relationship between motivation and achievement in secondary school.
Luanna serves on the editorial boards of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Higher Education Quarterly, and Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. She recently completed service as Chair of the Education Panel of New Zealand’s 2018 Performance-Based Research Fund evaluation, one of the 13 disciplinary panels that assessed Evidence Portfolios for all academic faculty across the country and determines their university’s funding for research for the next six year period. She also participates in review panels for the U.S. Department of Education and other granting agencies internationally. Other invitational positions include Honorary Professor at the University of Auckland (2015-2016), Adjunct Professor at Griffith University in Australia, Visiting Professor at the University of Otago, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota. She has been a registered academic auditor in higher education for both Australia and New Zealand and supervised 30 Ph.D. students to completion and 4 postdocs. Her graduates hold positions in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Kenya, Tanzania, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Qatar, Indonesia, and Gaza. She was an A-rated scholar in New Zealand’s 2003, 2006, and 2012 performance based research assessments.
While continuing to be involved in academic pursuits, Luanna has for the past three years been focused on learning the new (for her) craft of fiction-writing. Her first novel Bella’s Legacy shares twentieth century tales of 10 women across four generations of two interconnected families, probing why it is that extraordinary women are continually required to lead ordinary lives. She has started working on her second, a story beginning with the adoption of a biracial toddler during Operation Babylift in 1975. She and her husband Ian M. Evans presented a writers’ workshop for beginning writers in September 2018 in Nairn, Scotland, at the Nairn Book & Arts Festival, now in its 15th year (see www.nairnfestival.co.uk).
In her free time, Luanna is a volunteer guardian with Malama na Honu to share information and help protect Hawaii’s threatened Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, protected by the Endangered Species Act. In December 2019, she received a 500-hour pin for six years as a volunteer to date.