Dr Deborah Stevens

A leading researcher and educator in the field of bioethics, Deborah is a consultant in secondary school and public bioethics education. Deborah designs and delivers professional development seminars for teachers across New Zealand, Australia and Asia. Author of New Zealand's first stand-alone bioethics curriculum, Deborah provides expert advice on implementing the values and key competency/capability aspects of the New Zealand and Australian curricula.

Deborah's knowledge of the impact of contemporary culture on citizens' values development, decision making, behaviour and wellbeing is grounded in her background in science, psychology, education and public medicine. Her research shows that bioethics education provides an effective forum for students to critique the origin and structure of their personal worldview and to understand the worldviews of others.

Deborah is founding trustee and co-director of the  Centre for Science and Citizenship, which runs workshops for schools and for community groups helping people unpack the ethical issues raised by advances in science and technology. 

Deborah is also in high demand as a conference presenter. An engaging story-teller, Deborah uses authentic cases to explore contemporary bioethical issues and the variety of ethical perspectives that members of a diverse society may apply to them.

Education and Professional Qualifications:

  • PhD, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Master of Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Science, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Diploma of Teaching, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Trained councillor, including education in relationship and grief counselling, youth and mental health.

Recent publications

Stevens, D. (2017). Teaching Bioethics: The intersection of values and the applications that advances in technology make possible. In Williams, P.J. & Barlex, D. (Eds.), Contemporary Research in Technology Education: Helping teachers develop research-informed practice (pp. 125-143). Singapore: Springer.

Stevens, D. & Hēnare, M. (2016). New Zealand’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi-Treaty of Waitangi: The past, contemplated in the present, is a guide to the future. In Tolliday, P., Kim, C. & Palme, M. Societies in Transition. Asia-Pacific and Australia between Conflict and Reconciliation. Jena, Germany: Friedrich Schiller University.

Significant presentations Deborah has made include:

  • Presenter Eastbourne Winter Series (Has education lost it's way?), August 2017
  • Keynote speaker, Teaching Science and Society Conference, Dunedin, Jan 2014
  • Presenter and participant, Societies in Transition summer school, University of Jena, Germany, July 2013.
  • Keynote presenter, 11th Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association biennial conference, July 2013.
  • Keynote presenter, Bioethics Education conference, National University of Singapore, March, 2013.
  • 11th World Congress of Bioethics, Rotterdam, June 2012
  • New Zealand Bioethics Association Conference, Dunedin, Jan 2012
  • Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics, Tasmania, June 2011
  • 11th Asian Bioethics Association Conference and 5th UNESCO ethics roundtable, Singapore, August 2010
  • 10th World Congress of Bioethics, Singapore, July 2010
  • Australasian Bioethics Association and Health Law Conference, Adelaide, July 2010
  • Independent Schools of NZ Conference, May 2008 - Plenary presenter
  • Methodist Church of New Zealand conference, Nov 2007 - Workshop presenter
  • Association of Religious Education Teachers and School Chaplains National conference August 2007 - Keynote speaker
  • UNESCO Asia-Pacific Conference on Bioethics Education, Seoul, 2006 - Plenary and Workshop presenter
  • Member of the working group that developed the educational goals of the UNESCO Joint Plan of Action for Regional Networking in Bioethics Education: Towards Better Bioethics Education, Seoul, July 2006

Professional Memberships:

  • Affiliate University of Otago Bioethics Centre
  • Member of the International Association of Bioethics
  • Member of the Asian Bioethics Association
  • Member of the New Zealand Inter-Church Bioethics Council (appointed in 2002)
  • Registered teacher
  • Foundation member of the Dialogue Australasia Network Board and Executive, and consulting editor (following five years as principal editor) of the Dialogue Australasia Journal.