Hear From the Expert:

Interview with a Global Guru in Education

By Donna Velliaris on Apr 3, 2024
0 Editor of six IGI Global book publications, Dr. Donna Velliaris achieved recognition in 2023 as one of the Top 30 Global Gurus in Education, securing number 30. Demonstrating sustained excellence, she has garnered further acclaim in 2024, again as a Top 30 Global Guru in Education, recently listed in the 22nd position.
Academic Language and Learning Support Services in Higher Education
Prof. Donna M. Velliaris
©2020 | 243 pgs. | ISBN: 9781799828785
  • Suitable for Higher Education Faculty, Policymakers, & More
  • Covers Topics such as Academic Advising, Higher Education, & Pedagogy
  • Indexed In: SCOPUS
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What inspired you to pursue a career in education, and how did your journey lead you to become recognized as a Top 30 Global Guru in the field?

Dr. Velliaris: Upon completing my Bachelor of Arts degree, I stood at a crossroads, uncertain about which direction to take in my career. Unlike many of my peers, I lacked a clear vision for my future. However, inspired by my mother’s lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, I began to view teaching as a practical and meaningful option.
Opting to pursue a one-year Graduate Diploma of Education seemed like a logical next step, offering a potential pathway forward. During my preservice teacher practicum placements, I experienced a revelation that caught me by surprise—I discovered an innate talent for teaching within myself. I found myself thriving in the classroom environment, earning exceptional evaluations and feedback. And over time, my commitment to teaching and continuous self-improvement began to garner recognition from peers and colleagues.
Therein, embracing the power of social media, I discovered valuable avenues for sharing educational content, resources, and captivating photographs, serving to inspire and inform others. Connecting with educators worldwide allowed me to exchange insights, ideas, and best practices. The honor of being named a Global Guru in Education symbolizes that my contributions are acknowledged and valued on a global scale. Indeed, this recognition serves to fuel my passion for education, inspiring me to continue striving for excellence in all my endeavors.
As a prominent figure in education, how do you envision the future of teaching and learning, considering the evolving landscape and technological advancements?
Dr. Velliaris: When I first entered the teaching profession, technology played a minimal role, allowing educators to dedicate themselves to refining their craft. The focus was on creating profound learning experiences rather than simply entertaining students. With rapid advancements in technology, however, the educational landscape has undergone a significant transformation. While these advancements bring exciting possibilities, they also present challenges.
In the early days of teaching, the emphasis was on mastery, depth, and building meaningful connections with students. Today, the ever-evolving technological landscape has required educators, including myself, to become proficient with using many and varied tools, while struggling to achieve true mastery in any. Each effort to enhance expertise in educational technology is met with a constantly evolving landscape, introducing the ‘next-best-thing’. This perpetual cycle creates pressure to stay innovative, and also raises concerns about the depth of our pedagogical practices. Thus, I find myself worried that we may be unintentionally serving/stressing surface-level learning experiences over the profound understanding that comes from deliberate and measured approaches to educational instruction.
Envisioning the future of education calls for a balance—integrating technology while returning to the fundamental principles of professional practice. While technology offers remarkable opportunities, educators must take moments to pause, reflect, and safeguard the essence of deep, meaningful learning. Embracing innovation is crucial, but maintaining the core principles of effective education is equally, if not more, important.

Can you share a key moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your perspectives on education and shaped your approach to teaching or educational leadership?

Dr. Velliaris: A pivotal moment in my career that profoundly shaped my perspectives on education and influenced my approach to teaching and leadership revolves around my mentor during my Masters and PhD studies. This extraordinary woman left an indelible mark on my heart. Her exceptional expression and written fluency exuded a commanding presence that resonated deeply with me. Under her expert guidance, I underwent transformative mentoring experiences and learned the art of crafting words that carry immense power.
She imparted invaluable lessons on infusing sincerity into my writing and refining it with intellectual precision. This profound insight into the impact of words has remained an endless source of inspiration for me. Engaging in the ongoing refinement of my writing not only enhances my confidence, but also fills me with joy, motivation, optimism, and a profound sense of nourishment for my soul and spirit.
My mentor’s exemplary rapport, highly professional demeanor, and unwavering commitment to excellence have served as a guiding light throughout my career journey. Her mentorship has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the profound influence educators can have on their students and colleagues. As I continue to navigate the complexities of education and leadership, I carry with me the invaluable lessons and wisdom she imparted, striving to emulate her dedication and heart in all that I do.

In your opinion, what are the most pressing challenges and opportunities in education today, and how can educators address them to ensure the best outcomes for students?

Dr. Velliaris: From my perspective, the field of education presents a dynamic mix of challenges and opportunities that profoundly influence the teaching and learning environment. Among the foremost challenges is the growing diversity of student needs and backgrounds, necessitating educators to embrace adaptable and inclusive methodologies. Strategies such as differentiated instruction and personalized learning are instrumental in meeting this diversity head-on, ensuring that every student receives customized support tailored to their individual requirements.
Significantly, there is heightened recognition of the importance of addressing students’ mental health and well-being within the educational sphere. Increasingly, prioritizing students’ social-emotional needs, cultivating supportive learning environments, and fostering mental health awareness are essential components of holistic development in education.

As a Top 30 Global Guru, what advice do you have for aspiring educators or those looking to make a positive impact in the field of education?

Dr. Velliaris: My advice for aspiring educators or those seeking to make a positive impact in the field is to embrace the challenges. Teaching is undeniably a demanding profession that requires resilience, adaptability, and multitasking abilities, which can be overwhelming at times. Not everyone is cut out for teaching, and those who choose this path contribute significantly to the betterment of our communities. Being an educator is a noble and vital role; therefore, continually seek opportunities for professional growth and innovation, while maintaining passion for the transformative power of education.

About Dr. Donna Velliaris
0Dr. Donna M. Velliaris possesses an esteemed academic background, having acquired three Graduate Certificates in Australian Studies, Religious Education, and Guidance & Counselling. She holds two Graduate Diplomas in Secondary Education and Language & Literacy Education. Additionally, Dr. Velliaris obtained three Master’s degrees, specializing in Educational Sociology, Studies of Asia, and Special Education. In 2010, she successfully completed a PhD in Educational Sociology. In 2023, Dr. Velliaris was recognized as one of the Top 30 Gurus in Education, ranking at number 30, and in 2024, she received further acclaim, securing the 22nd position. Renowned as one of the world’s most influential professional speakers, trainers, and consultants, Dr. Velliaris not only applies her own principles to achieve outstanding results within her organization, but also plays a pivotal role in developing and influencing others on a global scale.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
About IGI Global – Publishing Tomorrow’s Research Today
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA with a subsidiary office (IGI Science and Technology, Ltd.) operating out of Beijing, China, IGI Global is a leading medium-sized independent international academic publisher of cutting-edge, high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarly reference publications in the three major academic subject areas of Business & Management, Scientific, Technical, & Medical (STM), and Education. With a commitment to facilitating the discovery of pioneering scientific research, this publishing house has empowered over 200,000+ expert researchers from leading institutions globally to bring advanced research books from conceptualization to completion in an impressive 6-9 months from proposal acceptance to publication. IGI Global journal articles have a rapid turnaround, on average taking 2-4 weeks, and are then added to a significant portfolio of nearly 200 journals within IGI Global’s Open Access Journal Program. IGI Global is one of the largest 100% OA Journal Publishers in the World. Through traditional and open access publishing workflows, this unique proprietary process makes tomorrow’s research, which enhances and expands the body of knowledge, available to the research community today.

Learn more about IGI Global here.

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