Debra Miles is committed to social justice, inclusion and collaboration and it is these principles that inform and guide her research and teaching foci at James Cook University. Debra has significant professional experience as a social worker in child protection, family violence and the disability sector, and has worked in a range of regional communities across northern Australia including Rockhampton, Townsville and Darwin. 

Debra’s research focuses on highlighting issues of disadvantage and discrimination, and finding ways to improve and strengthen the responses to these issues.  Bringing a critical feminist lens to research analysis, Debra’s previous projects have included examining the response of feminist organisations to family violence and sexual assault, highlighting the experience of racism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and practitioners, evaluating intensive family support programs and improving the learning experience of students in distance and online education settings.  

Committed to enhancing student engagement in intercultural learning and global citizenship Debra has actively developed a range of global mobility opportunities for social work students including international exchange, internships and practicums in India and Thailand.  Building on  these experiences, Debra's latest research project examined best practice in international student exchange and was funded by the Office of Learning and Teaching from 2015-2017.   As project leader, Debra managed a large team of national and international collaborators to develop a set of guiding principles and useful resources to guide educators and others involved in facilitating students international experiences.  Informing the development of these resources was the unique and rarely-heard voice of international hosts of students on exchange and a critical, post-colonial framework aimed at maximizing transformative learning. 

Debra teaches in the undergraduate and postgraduate social work programs at James Cook University in subjects that reflect her commitment to social justice and inclusive practice.   She is also active in a range of organisations which champion social justice issues and respond to disadvantage in the community. 

  • ED5864: Advanced Counselling (Level 5; TSV)
  • Foster Care and Child Protection
  • Disadvantage and Homelessness
  • Women's Services
  • Violence against Women
  • International Social Work
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and experiences of racism and discrimination
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Child and Family Welfare
  • Social Policy
  • International Exchange
  • 2000 to 2018 - Social Work Academic, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1995 to 2000 - Social Work Academic, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, Northern Territory)
  • 1993 to 1994 - Social Worker, Women and Children's Hospital (Townsville)
  • 1985 to 1988 - Social Worker, Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services (Queensland)
  • 1980 to 1985 - Social Worker, Child Protection (Townsville & Rockhampton, Queensland)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2015 - Advisory Panel of the Year Award
  • 2013 - Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2012 - JCU Award for Excellence - Partnerships and Collaboration
  • 2018 - Research Fellow, Cairns Institute
  • 2018 - International Education Australia Association
  • 2012 - Austrlaian Association of Social Workers
  • 2010 - Australian New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 55+ research outputs authored by Prof Debra Miles from 1998 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Children and Young People in out of home care, connectedness and incarcerated parents (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • How do Social Workers in the Emergency Department respond to sudden and unexpected death (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Exploring the professional identity of Australian Counsellors: A Qualitative Investigation (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Experiences, Enables and Barriers for Aboriginal Women aged 16 years and over who have Experienced Sexual Assault in North West Queensland accessing Acute and Ongoing Therapeutic Care (PhD , Advisor Mentor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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