Core research interests of Adjunct Associate Professor Susan Gair are informed by a commitment to social justice, reconciliation, and improved social policy and social work practice.  Teaching and research interests are concerned with preparing the Australian social work workforce to meet real world challenges through practice inclusive of Indigenous knowledges and ways of working, critical reflection, integrity, respect, critical empathy and practice and research-based evidence.  Research interests include child adoption policy and practice, exploring racism, and culturally-inclusive practice. Recent industry partnerships have explored optimising grandparents' contact with grandchildren after child protection concerns and intervention, and groundbreaking research on the impact of inadequate income on students' study success, in partnership with the Australian Association of Social Workers -AASW.

A/Prof Gair's leadership in her field is demonstrated with her research findings and publications informing national social policy.  For example, Susan's research findings on student poverty informed national submissions by the AASW and St Vincent de Paul Society National Council to the Commonwealth Government highlighting the inadequate rate of Youth Allowance (2018) and submissions to the 2019 Senate Inquiry into the Newstart Allowance. She was called as an expert witness to the Commonwealth Inquiry into past forced adoptions, and regularly has been asked to give media comment in her areas of expertise.

A/Prof Gair presented research findings on student poverty to the European Social Work Research conference in Denmark in April, 2017. Findings from the poverty study also were presented (invited speaker) to ANZSWWER conference in Auckland. Findings from the 'Grandparents Matter' study were presented in Auckland, and at the ACWA conference, Sydney in 2018. A/Prof Gair recently discussed the Grand Challenges for Social Work with colleagues at the University of Washington and University of Southern California, USA (Aug, 2019). Her interests in creative research methods culminated in 'Sharing Qualitative Research: Showing Lived Experience and Community Narratives' published by Routledge. Her recent 2021 co-authord book (Palgrave) explores neoliberalism in higher education.

A/Prof Gair's other professional communications and engagements have included:

  • writing for 'The Conversation' where her articles have attracted over 55,000 readers.
  • facilitating writing groups for social work practitioners incl. Queensland Health.
  • facilitating women's writing groups in Nth Qld resulting in publications with Black Ink Press.
  • Editorial Boards and Reviewer for national and international social work Journals.
  • Recent Management Committee member of the Family Inclusion Network Townsville, and Althea Projects.
  • Recent Member of the Australian Association of Social Workers National Reconciliation Plan reference group
  • Research Fellow with The Cairns Institute
  • Optimising grandparents’ contact with grandchildren after child protection intervention to uphold important kin relationships and kinship care. Findings published, and presented nationally and internationally- to the 2017 ANZSWWER conference, Aukland, NZ and in 2018 at the AICW conference, Sydney, Australia
  • Exploring social work student poverty and its impact on study success. Findings presented to the 2017 European Social Work Research conference, Aalborg, Denmark.
  • Barriers to Indigenous students completing a social work degree including students' experiences on field placement- including racism. Findings published and presented.
  • Social work students’ engagement and reasoning on racism, empathy and activism. Findings presented at international forums including Anti-racism conference - University of Edinburgh; and Invited keynote address at Tel Hai College, Israel.
  • Chair and member - National Accreditation Panels for Australian Association of Social Work
  • Consultancy: Effects of inter-country adoption on adoptees and future directions- commissioned by Australian Government Department of Social Services
  • 2015 to present - Research Consultant Contract, Cairns Institute & Department of Social Services
  • 2014 to 2021 - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2016 to 2020 - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute
  • 2003 to 2013 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2012 - Research Consultant, Kith and Kin- Evaluation Artworks program (Townsville)
  • 1997 to 2002 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2001 - Research Consultant, Centrelink Evaluation- Young Parents Program (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
  • 2017 - JCU Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching that Embodies the Spirit of Reconciliation and Working in Partnership
  • 2016 - Editorial Services Award-Journal of Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
  • 2016 - Vice Chancellor's Award for Leadership in Reconciliation (Team Award)
  • 2015 - Advisor of the Year Award, Advisory Panel Category (with A/Prof Debra Miles)
  • 2015 - Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Leadership (Team Award)
  • 2005 - Denis Freney Scholarship- Women Writing Stories For Healing
  • 2005 - Mercy Foundation Social Justice Award- For Advancing Social Justice for Indigenous People Through Education
  • 1990 to 2022 - Australian Association of Social Work
  • 2012 to 2022 - Editorial Board member: Children Australia; Australian Social Work; and Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Work.
  • 2000 to 2022 - Peer Reviewer for national and international key social work/social science journals: British Journal of Social Work, Australian Social Work, Qualitative Health Research and Journal of Indigenous Education; Journal of Family Violence

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 82+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Susan Gair from 2000 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.

  • Exploring social work responses to domestic violence against women (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Social Adjustment Beyond Teenage Motherhood: Navigating Life Stages and Issues of Identity into Adulthood (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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

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