Core research interests of Associate Professor Susan Gair are informed by a commitment to social justice, reconciliation, and improved social policy and social work practice.  Her key 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 and respect, critical empathy and creative research methods for evidence-based practice.  Her ongoing research interests include child adoption policy and practice, exploring racism and developing culturally-inclusive practice. More recent research projects include collaborating with industry partners to look at optimising grandparents' contact with grandchildren after child protection concerns and intervention. She also co-conducted groundbreaking research on the impact of inadequate income on students' study success in partnership with the Australian Association of Social Workers (Mr Len Baglow).

A/Prof Gair's leadership in her field is demonstrated with her research findings and publications helping to inform national social policy.  For example, Susan's recent research findings on student poverty informed national submissions by the Australian Association of Social Work 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 a witness to the Commonwealth Inquiry into forced adoptions.

A/Prof Gair presented research findings on student poverty to the European Social Work Research conference in Aalborg, Denmark in April, 2017. The findings from the student poverty study also were presented (invited speaker) to ANZSWWER conference in Auckland, NZ. Findings from the 'Grandparents Matter' study were presented in New Zealand and to the ACWA conference, Sydney, in 2018. A/Prof Gair recently discussed her research interests including 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, in which A/Prof Gair was editor and author of several co-written chapters.

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

  • writing for 'The Conversation' where her articles have attracted over 54,000 readers.
  • a commissioned report for the Australian Association of Social Workers submitted to the Commonwealth Inquiry into past adoption practices.
  • facilitating writing groups for social work practitioners incl. Queensland Health
  • facilitating women's community writing groups in North Queensland that resulted in publications for attendees with Black Ink Press.
  • serving on Editorial Boards of national and international Journals.
  • WS2121: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Skills and Frameworks for Practice (Level 2; TSV)
  • Recent Management Committee member of the Family Inclusion Network Townsville, and Althea Projects.
  • Member of the Australian Association of Social Workers National Reconciliation Plan Taskforce
  • 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 of 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
  • Preparing the Australian social work workforce through social work education inclusive of Indigenous knowledges and ways of working- Co-taught with Bindal Elder Mrs Dorothy Savage- WS2121
  • Preparing students for real world challenges in social work practice in organisational settings- WS2512
  • Teaching creative research methods in social science research to inform evidence-based practice- SS5103
  • 2014 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2016 to 2020 - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute
  • 2015 - Research Consultant Contract, Cairns Institute & Department of 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
  • 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 2018 - Australian Association of Social Work
  • 2012 to 2018 - Editorial Board member: Children Australia; Australian Social Work; and Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Work.
  • 2000 to 2018 - Peer Reviewer for national and international key 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 79+ 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.

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