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 through social work education inclusive of Indigenous knowledges and ways of working; cultivating empathy, and use of creative methods in qualitative research in education and practice.  Her research interests in the past have focussed on child adoption policy and practice, racism, and inclusive practice. Most recently, she has explored grandparents'  lost contact with grandchildren (Grandparents Matter), including when grandchildren are taken into State care, and research on the impact of inadequate income on students' study success and work/life balance.

Susan's leadership in her field is evident, with her research findings used in national and international social work training.  Recent findings from the National survey on student poverty (NSWSS) have informed submissions to the Commonwealth Government from the national social work Industry body (AASW). She is an invited manuscript reviewer for  the Journal of Indigenous Education,  Australian Social Work, British Journal of Social Work, and Qualitative Health Research. Susan is on the Editorial Board of Children Australia and Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education. A recent publication is Sharing Qualitative Research - published by Routledge in 2017.

Her international reputation advanced with an invitation to the University of St Thomas, Canada, to present and collaboratively publish with Indigenous peoples on social work around the world. Subsequently she reported on significant racism experienced by Indigenous social work students to the University of Edinburgh's Anti-racism Conference in 2013, presented research on racism and empathy to an international Empathy conference in Prague, in 2014;  and she was a visiting scholar and invited keynote speaker on ''The deconstruction of racism' at Tel Hai College, Israel, in May, 2015, where she also engaged in teaching social work classes. Most recently A/Prof Gair presented her findings on student poverty to the European Social Work Research conference in Aalborg, Denmark in April, 2017 and findings from the Student poverty study (invited speaker) and the Grandparent Matter study to the ANZSWWER conference in Aukland, NZ, Sept 2017

Her community and professional engagements include a commissioned social media article for 'The Conversation'; a commissioned submission for the Australian Association of Social Workers on past adoption practices; facilitating writing groups for practitioners, and facilitating a women's writing group in a North Queensland community over three years that resulted in publications for attendees with Black Ink Press. She is a volunteer with not-for profit organisations including Family Inclusion Network,Townsville. In late 2015 she completed a consultancy with the Cairns Institute and Department of Social Services exploring future directions in intercountry adoption.

  • SS5103: Post-Graduate Research Methods for the Social Sciences (Level 5; TSV)
  • WS2121: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Skills and Frameworks for Practice (Level 2; TSV)
  • WS2512: Organisational Practice (Level 2; TSV)
  • Indigenous knowledges in social work education and practice; antiracism; adoption; empathy; inter-generational grandparent/ grandchild relationships; creative writing; student poverty
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander skills and knowledges; Organisational practice; Skills for practice; Social policy, Research methods for the Social Sciences, Social work capstone
  • 2014 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2016 to 2019 - 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)
  • 2016 - Editorial Services Award-Journal of Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
  • 2005 - Denis Freney Scholarship- Women Writing Stories For Healing
  • 2005 - Mercy Foundation Social Justice Award- For Advancing Social Justice for Indigenous People Through Education

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 61+ 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)
  • Stillbirth: How Can You Explore the Connections Between Creativity, Spirituality and Transformative Growth After Stillbirth Grief Using a Story Writing Approach? (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • Everything Changes; Proposed Theory of Adjustment and Transition to Workplace Disability (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • Exploring Mandatory Accreditation of Early Childhood Workers in Australia: Implications for Practice, Provision of Care and the Early Childhood Sector;; (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Domestic and Family Violence Perpetrator Interventions - How Successful Are They? (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Bones and Shadows: Navigating the Ethics of Recovering Women's Stories Using Imagination, Memory and Oral Histories (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Working Together with Torres Strait Islander People: Understanding the Unique Helping Styles Practiced in the Torres Strait Islands (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)

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