She has been researching a wide range of education matters since the 1970s. In the 1980s she worked as a research officer with the Australian Union of Students, the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association and the Australian Teachers Union (now Australian Education Union). After a period as a federal public servant, Barbara began freelance research and policy analysis consultancy work in 1991. Through the 1990s she was inaugural executive officer of the Australian Council of Deans of Education, executive officer the National Standards and Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education inquiry (1997-1998), and carried out influential research on teacher and nurse supply and demand, teacher professionalism, and schools policy. Research and policy analysis in these areas has continued.
Barbara is currently undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Canberra: ‘Occupational forecasts for school teachers and professional nurses: An investigation into their importance, feasibility and effectiveness’.
Barbara is active in professional associations. She has been a member of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) for three decades, and was an executive member for some years in the mid 2000s. She is also a member of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia (ISAA), the Australian College of Educators (ACE), the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES), the Australian Curriculum Studies Association, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Barbara has always been a union member, and, as a freelancer, she is now a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
Barbara lives in Canberra, where she is an enthusiastic gardener, singer in choirs, and supporter of Timor Leste.