Sandra Croaker is an Associate Lecturer in Social Work Field Education located at the Townsville JCU campus. Her role sees her working closely with students in preparation and planning for placement, bridging the space between academic education and practice learning. Sandra also works closely with social services providers in the Townsville region to continuously explore and grow new placement learning opportunities for students. Her experience in this role combined with her aim of creating interesting and engaging learning environments that are mutually beneficial for the agency  as well as the student’s learning experience is nowadays informing her research interest.

Her early career saw Sandra involved in direct practice delivery, working with vulnerable people from diverse backgrounds. Sandra has gained her work experience overseas and in Australia across government and non-government social support agencies. These fundamental work experiences have broadened her understanding of applied social work and laid the foundations for her interest in critical social work and feminist social work theory. 

As a PhD candidate, her current research focuses on social work graduates' readiness for eco-social work practice. This work is informed by Heather Boetto's model for eco-social work and Lena Dominelli's concept of 'green social work'.



  • WS3503: Field Education 1 (Level 3; TSV)
  • WS5303: Field Education 1 (Level 5; TSV)
  • WS5304: Field Education 1 (Level 5; TSV)
  • Field placement preparation and support in Social Work education
  • Student suitability for field placement and Social Work practice
  • economic and social participation opportunities for refugees, women and families
  • Social Work and the concepts of social, environmental and ecological justice
Research Disciplines
  • 2018 - Sessional Staff Teaching Award
  • 2016 - Australian Association of Social Workers, Management committee member

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Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Monash University - National Centre for Healthy Ageing - Living Labs Program

Pilot of an Animal-Assisted Activity program in residential aged care to support intergenerational and intercultural social connections for healthy ageing.

Indicative Funding
$70,999 over 1 year (administered by Monash University)
Pets and People SuPAWters (PaPs) Program will explore the potential of using human-animal bonds in aged care, to facilitate social connections between three often marginalised and vulnerable groups at risk of loneliness and social isolation: older Australians living in aged care facilities; migrants and refugees from community organisations; and international university students. PaPs will be co-designed using an Action Research process, and evaluated using mixed methods. Monash and James Cook University social work students, undertaking fieldwork placements, will be supervised to facilitate the co-designed PaPs program, delivered in a hybrid model (both online using internet-enabled tablet technology and in-person interactions).
Em Bould, Maura Bevilacqua, Sandra Downing, Sandra Croaker, Janette Young, Libby Callaway and Keith Hill (Monash University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, College of Arts, Society & Education and University of South Australia)

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

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