Susan Bailey

Dr, BSW PhD W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M085), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 7 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
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Personal profile


Sue Bailey teaches and researches in a variety of areas related to social work and social policy. Prior to this, she combined the running of a successful small business with parenting and undertook voluntary work in a variety of community roles. It was through this work that Sue came to value social work as a profession because of its commitment to social justice and human rights work. She has worked as a social worker in a wide range of roles in both Government and not-for-profit agencies where she has worked with individuals, families, organisations, and communities.

In 2010, Sue successfully completed her PhD and was employed as a full time academic in the Social Work and Social Policy Discipline at the University of Western Australia. Whilst her official title is Assistant Professor, Sue identifies first and foremost as a social worker and works in the higher education sector because of the potency of research and education as change processes. She brings curiosity and passion to this work and is known as a dedicated academic whose research and teaching is creative as well as thought provoking. Sue has won a number of prizes for her research and in 2012 was awarded a Teaching Fellowship with Assistant Professor Katrina Stratton.

Roles and responsibilities

Adjunct Senior Lecturer Institute of Agriculture

Field Education Coordinator
Social Work Knowledge, Theories and Values
Policy and Community

Social Work Mentor programme – implemented the Social Work mentor programme at UWA
Established the Remote Placement Bursary Scheme

Eco-social Work approaches
Social Work Knowledge and Theories
Research Methods
Action Research Evaluation

• Bailey, S. & Stratton, K. (2012, Feb 16th). Well Being in the Workplace. Workshop presented to social workers at Royal Perth Hospital.

• Stratton, K. & Bailey S. (2012, Feb 2-3rd). Well Being and Student Placements. An experiential exploration for educators. Workshop presented at the Teaching and Learning Forum. Murdoch University.

• Bailey, S. & Stratton, K. (2011). Well Being and Placement. “I’m Fine! How are You?” Seminar series developed and presented at the UWA Social Work and Social Policy Discipline for first year Masters social work placement students.

• Bailey. S. (2011). Social Work Research Methods workshop. For postgraduate level students.

Invited Presentations

1. Bailey, S. (2011, June 15th). ‘Activating an Ecosocial Work’. Lecture presentation at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong.

2. Bailey, S. (29th March, 2011) Globalisation and Social Work. Working in a Different Space. Lecture presentation at the Curtin University School of Occupational Health and Social Work.

3. Bailey, S. (2007). Reducing Aboriginal Imprisonment Strategies Performance Measurement. Presentation of the Monitoring Framework and Indicators to the Department of Corrective Services Executive. This was a presentation of research results identifying Indigenous overrepresentation across the whole Western Australian justice system.

4. Bailey, S. (2005, May 17th). Invited presentation on PhD research, “Social Work responses to Terrorism” to the Australian Federation of University Women of WA now the Graduate Women WA.

5. Bailey, S. (2004, November 17th). Invited presentation “Having a Relationship with Terrorism” for the Grace Vaughan Award to the AASW, UWA and Office for Women’s Policy.

Future research

Grief and Loss Approaches
Initially this research explored meaning making with mothers who have lost thei child to cancer. Most recently this work involves applying grief and loss theories to understand humans’ responses to the loss of familiar habitats, life style changes, and increasing environmental threats. This is an important and emerging research area.

Friends of Bush Groups research
In this research Sue supervises social work and social policy students as they work alongside community conservation groups. These students have conducted a number of small research projects over the last six years. The findings of these smaller research projects inform and contribute to the development of larger research projects which are in process.

Gender and Space
This research project is a ten-year follow up study research undertaken in 2001. In this research a unique methodological approach was developed to measure the amount of space allocated to female and male representations in the first ten pages of The West Australian newspaper. In total over 1 710 representations were collected and measured. The results demonstrated that 61% of the total space of gendered representations in the first ten pages were male, and 37% were female (2% were categorised as other). This research highlighted that there is a statistically significant relationship between gender and the allocation of space in news and advertisements.

Funding overview

IASSW Grants for Projects in Social Work Education Project Title: Rights Practice in the Biosphere: Testing a model of social work practice across diverse international contexts.

UWA Teaching Fellowship with Katrina Stratton

2011 UWA: Diversity and Equity Grant Project Title: A Place for Me This project utilises an action evaluation research process to support the Mental Health Wellbeing of Students on Placement across Disciplines at UWA.

City of Joondalup: Special Purpose Grant Project Title: Maritana Bush Conservation

Department of Environment and Conservation: Environmental Community Grant Project Title: Maritana Bush Conservation

2010 UWA: Diversity and Equity Grant Project Title: Prevention and Support: Mental health and well being for students on placement.

2006 Environfund Grant Round 8

Teaching overview

Eco-social Work
Critical social work
Community Practice
Counter-Oppressive Practice
Field Education


Sue’s approach to research is influenced by the belief that it provides a powerful way of initiating positive change in individuals, families, organisations, and communities, locally, nationally and internationally. Her experience in action research methodologies brings together her rights work with research to enable change to occur during the research process. She has experience in both quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research methodologies and believes the best research methodology is the one that both answers the research question and provides deeper understandings of what are often complex areas.

Sue’s strength in research is her creativity and capacity to utilise a wide range of methodologies. Her research interests are principally concerned with raising awareness of the connections between healthy ecosystems (family, organisations, communities and physical environments) and human well-being and developing strategies to improve these relationships. She is currently involved in the following research activities.

Eco-social work approaches.
Developing a knowledge and practice evidence base linking social and ecological dimensions. This research introduces and pilots a model of social work practice “Rights Practice in the Biosphere” to practitioners and students in three postcolonial contexts. In essence the model challenges normative approaches to social work which locate humans outside and separate to natural environmental systems. This model represents a paradigm shift for social work as it attends to the ever-increasing challenges of climate change and sustainability. The research will involve social work students and social workers in three diverse environments implementing an aspect of the model to ascertain how social work practice can identify what contextual factors are important and present to enable social workers to respond to environmental concerns.

Terrorism and social work. Development of PhD research.
This qualitative research project, sought to understand how social workers are responding to terrorism. It involved conducting a series of unstructured interviews with social workers in the suburbs of Western Australia and social/community workers in Dili, the capital of Timor Lesté. Over the same time period a thematic analysis of discursive practices and artefacts was undertaken. From these researches, six social work discourses were identified including; the International, Crisis, Community, Human Rights, Risk, and Ecological. The research then used a post structural analysis called a critical “social dialogue”.


  • Action research evaluation and methodologies
  • Community practice
  • Social policy
  • Responses to terrorism
  • Crisis intervention
  • Grief and loss
  • Human rights
  • Environment
  • Social justice and sustainability
  • Eco-social work
  • Community gardens
  • Mental health well-being and student placements

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Research Output 2004 2019

  • 7 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
  • 6 Article
  • 1 Edited book/Anthology
  • 1 Other output
  • 1 Doctoral Thesis
1 Citation (Scopus)

Twelve tips for implementing effective service learning

Playford, D., Bailey, S., Fisher, C., Stasinska, A., Marshall, L., Gawlinski, M. & Young, S., 2 Jan 2019, In : Medical Teacher. 41, 1, p. 24-27 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

curriculum element

Eco-social Work in Action: A Place for Community Gardens

Bailey, S., Hendrick, A. & Palmer, M., 2 Jan 2018, In : Australian Social Work. 71, 1, p. 98-110 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Social Work
social work
Social Justice
social worker
1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Citations (Scopus)

Exploring Maternal Grief: A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Mothers' Responses to the Death of a Child From Cancer

Gerrish, N. J., Neimeyer, R. A. & Bailey, S., 2014, In : Journal of Constructivist Psychology. 27, 3, p. 151-173

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Projects 2012 2012