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Adjunct Associate Professor, College of Arts, Society & Education, James Cook University

Susan is a social work scholar with more than two decades of teaching, research, writing and practice in her discipline. Her research, practice, teaching and community service has focused on improved social work practice and social policy particularly in regional Australia. Key areas of her past research and its application to professional practice include child adoption policy and practice; working respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and communities; and cultivating empathy for improved social work practice and research. Recent projects include three partnership collaborations: 1. Exploring grandparents’ reduced or lost contact with grandchildren after child protection intervention; 2. A national partnership looking at student poverty and its impacts on study success; and 3. A partnership project with a local diversionary service looking at the perceptions of young people at risk of offending about services provided to them. Her research has helped inform Government policies and practices, for example the Commonwealth Inquiry into Forced Adoption, and a recent Senate Inquiry into Government income support for tertiary students. She is committed to reconciliation, social justice and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. She has facilitated writing groups and 'writing for publication' seminars in regional and rural communities, and to researchers and practitioners. With Aboriginal colleagues, Susan has contributed to informing national and international social work programs. In 2016, she was awarded two Vice Chancellor’s Awards for leadership (with colleagues). In 2017, with local Bindal Elder Dorothy Savage, she was awarded a Citation for Outstanding contribution to Teaching that embodies the spirit of reconciliation and working in partnership. Susan is currently the Editor of 'Australian Social Work'.


  • –present
    Associate professor, Social Work James Cook University