Adjunct Associate Professor Susan Gair is committed to social justice, reconciliation, and improved social policy and social work practice, particularly in regional areas.  Her teaching and research interests have focused on preparing the Australian social work workforce to meet real world challenges by embracing Indigenous ways of working, critical reflection, integrity, respect, critical empathy and evidence-based practice. Her research interests include child adoption policy and practice, exploring racism, student poverty and working with young people & families. Recent industry partnerships include national research optimising grandparents' contact with grandchildren after child protection concerns and intervention; groundbreaking research on the impact of inadequate income on students' study success; and co-produced research with a local diversionary centre exploring the views of young people at risk of offending about services delivered to them.

A/Prof Gair's leadership in her field is demonstrated with her research findings and publications informing national social policy.  For example, 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 an expert witness to the Commonwealth Inquiry into past forced adoptions, and she regularly has given 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, and was an invited speaker to ANZSWWER conference, Auckland. Findings from the 'Grandparents Matter' study were presented in Auckland (2017), and at the ACWA conference, Sydney (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 2021 co-authored 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 98,000 readers.
  • Writing groups for social work practitioners incl. Queensland Health.
  • Community women's writing groups in Nth Qld - publications with Black Ink Press.
  • Editorial Board membership and Reviewer for national and international Journals.
  • EDITOR - Australian Social Work journal- current
  • Recent Management Committee member incl. Family Inclusion Network Townsville
  • Australian Association of Social Workers- National Accreditation Panels -Chair and Panel member
  • Recent- Research Fellow with The Cairns Institute
  • Optimising grandparents’ contact with grandchildren after child protection intervention to uphold important kin relationships. Findings published widely, and presented at national and international conferences
  • Exploring social work student poverty and its impact on study success. Findings presented to the 2017 European Social Work Research conference, Aalborg, Denmark.
  • Invited to Roundtable discussion on qualitative research - also discussed own Routledge book- 'Sharing Qualitative Research: Showing Lived Experience and Community Narratives'- 2017 ESWR conference, 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.
  • Consultancy: Effects of inter-country adoption on adoptees and future directions- commissioned by Australian Government Department of Social Services
  • 2016 to 2021 - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute
  • 2014 to 2021 - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2015 - Research Consultant Contract, Dept. Social Services
  • 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
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2005 - Denis Freney Scholarship- Women Writing Stories For Healing
  • 2005 - Mercy Foundation Social Justice Award- For Advancing Social Justice for Indigenous People Through Education
  • 2017 - JCU Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching that Embodies the Spirit of Reconciliation and Working in Partnership
  • 2016 - Vice Chancellor's Award for Leadership in Reconciliation (Team Award)
  • 2016 - Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Leadership (Team Award)
  • 2016 - Editorial Services Award-Journal of Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
  • 2015 - Advisor of the Year Award, Advisory Panel Category (with A/Prof Debra Miles)
  • 1990 - Australian Association of Social Work
  • 2012 - Editorial Board member: Children Australia; Australian Social Work; Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Work.
  • 2000 - Reviewer for key national and international social work/social science journals incl: British Journal of Social Work; Australian Social Work; Qualitative Health Research; Social Work 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 85+ 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.

  • Women working in White Collar Professions and their Experiences of Domestic Violence in North Queensland; Help-Seeking Behaviors and Outcomes. (Masters , Secondary Advisor)

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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