Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability
About the GLASS Research Unit
Professor Margaret Alston is the Director of the GLASS Research Unit and Head of the Department of Social Work, Monash University.
Professor Margaret Alston, B.Soc. Stud (Syd), Dip. Comp. Applic. (RMIHE), M. Litt (UNE), PhD (UNSW) assumed duties as Head of Department in July 2008. Prior to commencing at Monash she was Professor of Social Work and Human Services and Director of the Centre for Rural Social Research (a subprogram of the Institute of Land, Water and Society) at Charles Sturt University. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. She has served on a number of Boards including the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women, Family Services Council. Family and Community Services Department in Canberra and the National Women's Advisory Group overseeing the Rural Women's Policy Unit in the Department of Primary Industries and Energy.
In 2008 she was appointed to the Australian delegation attending the Commission for the Status of Women meeting in New York. In 2009, 2007 and 2003 she has spent time as a visiting expert in the Gender Division of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation in Rome. She has also acted as a gender expert for UN-Habitat in Kenya in 2009. She has published widely in the field of rural gender and rural social issues. She has been a keynote speaker at a number of national and international conferences over the last several years and is sought out for media commentary on the rural social condition, and on climate change and gender issues.
The following Department of Social Work staff are members of GLASS:
Dr Kerri Whittenbury is a Senior Research Fellow for the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit.
Kerri Whittenbury, PhD (CSU 2004); M.Litt (UNE 1996); BA (RMIHE 1989) is a sociologist with research interests in women and gender, rural communities, rural and farm families, irrigation communities and gender and climate change. Since completing her PhD in 2003, Kerri has worked as a Lecturer in Sociology and as a researcher on several social research projects.
Kerri worked on an ARC Linkage project in the Centre for Applied Social Research at RMIT University in partnership with Victoria Police investigating quality part-time work in policing. Kerri also worked on a CRC for Irrigation Futures funded project in partnership with the Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University exploring irrigators’ decision making.
Kerri is currently working on a several research project in the GLASS Research Unit at Monash University that focus on the gendered social and health impacts of climate change and drought.
Dr Robyn Mason
Robyn Mason BA, BSW, PhD, Dip Ed. (Melb.) joined the Department in November, 2008, specifically to develop the new Master of Social Work (Qualifying) degree. Robyn's doctoral research, completed in 2005, built on her practice experience in rural women's support services and was based on a national survey of 160 women-specific services. Conducted with the late Associate Professor Wendy Weeks, the study explored features of women-specific services in non-metropolitan Australia, concluding that these services are sites for women's social citizenship, especially in their passionate pursuit of a feminist response to women's lives. Robyn has taught social work and social welfare in metropolitan and regional universities in Australia and has practice and management experience in sexual assault support, rural Aboriginal health, community work, mental health and aged care. Robyn is a national Director of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and a member of the Australian Association of Social Work and Welfare Educators (AASWWE) National Executive. She is off-campus co-ordinator for the Monash MSW (Q), teaches in several units and supervises higher degree research students.
Dr Uschi Bay
Dr Uschi Bay, BSW (University of Melbourne), MSW (University of Melbourne), PhD (RMIT University) is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine at Monash University. Prior to her appointment she was an academic at Deakin University and Southern Cross University in Northern New South Wales focusing on curriculum development in the areas of counselling, social welfare and community development. She has also worker in senior management in higher education in the equity policy and student welfare areas. She has a specific research interest in social work's role in ecological,economic and social sustainability of communities, community development and social policy analysis. She has undertaken research with the Desert Knowledge Co-operative Research Centre in Alice Springs on desert settlement sustainability and on coastal settlement sustainability at Deakin University. She is currently working on a project that investigates the role of rural women's craft activities in their social, ecological and economic well-being.
Grace Brown BA (La Trobe University), BSW (Melbourne University), MSW (Melbourne University), joined the Monash social work department in August 2009. Prior to this Grace worked as a lecturer with La Trobe University (Bendigo Campus) in public health and social work. Grace has experience working in both the government and community sectors in both rural and urban contexts. In particular Grace worked in child protection, student services, and disability services. Grace has worked as a supervisor of child protection workers, volunteers in the community sector, and Lifeline telephone counsellors. Grace has a private practice where she currently supervises, social workers, maternal and child health nurses, and others working in health and welfare.
Grace has teaching and research interests that include: Education and professional development, including field education; Professional supervision; Curriculum development; Human rights, ethics and values; Rural social work; Regional and rural development; Feminist/women’s issues/ Critical social work; and Community/volunteer work. Grace is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and is undertaking research about ‘Educating social workers for rural practice.’ Her previous research has centred on the volunteer sector and community mental health.
Dr Deborah Western, BA (Melb), BSW (Monash), PhD (Melb) joined the Department of Social Work in the middle of 2010. She has practice experience in the fields of child and family welfare, education, sexual assault and family violence and has worked in rural, regional and metropolitan areas. Through her work in a state-wide peak body for family violence services, Deb developed an appreciation of the role of advocacy and social policy. Deb taught at a number of tertiary institutions prior to joining Monash and has facilitated various other professional development activities, including reflective practice workshops and journalling courses. Deb’s doctoral thesis explored the area of women and depression with particular emphasis on women’s use of personal journals, consciousness-raising and resistance in understanding and responding to depression. Her research interests include women and mental health, feminist practice, feminist supervision and management, critical reflection and reflective practice, and the fields of sexual assault and family violence.