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Assoc Prof Niki Edwards

Assoc Prof Niki Edwards
Name Niki Edwards
Pronoun She/Her/Hers
Position Associate Professor (Social Work and Human Services)
Section Strategic Academic Projects
Office B213
Location Ipswich Campus
Phone +61 7 3812 6392
Extension 6392
Qualifications BSocWk Qld , BA Qld , MPubAdm Qld , PhD Qld

Associate Professor Niki Edwards has a long history in the provision of direct clinical and professional academic Social Work services across diverse fields of practice; as a senior academic with significant experience in program and curriculum responsibilities, research, supervision of HDR students; and she has deep commitment to community service in pursuit of systemic changes to enable meeting the needs of people living with disabilities, their families and networks of support. She graduated with her BSWK from the University of Queensland (UQ) in the 1980s; followed by completion at UQ of a Bachelor of Arts; Master of Public Administration; and finally, a PhD (Epidemiology). As a critical Social Worker, she is passionate about celebrating and embracing diversity and difference. Her research focuses in this area, with particular attention to disability, diversity and social inclusion. She is committed to social justice, inclusion and democratic citizenship for all. Most of her career has been spent working between public services and academia. This relates to commitment to ensuring teaching and research has strong linkages to the field. She is passionate about the delivery of education that respects adult learning and values critical engagement with students. Naturally, Paulo Freire is strongly admired, as is Gilles Deleuze who advocated for understanding diversity and difference as an ordinary part of humankind. Her employment experience includes: psychiatric services when institutions were decanting; hospital Social Work across a range of health specialisms; Commonwealth Rehabilitation; senior management responsibilities with policy and program development and evaluation responsibilities across numerous government portfolio; culminating in employed as a senior advisor at Ministerial Level. Associate Professor Edwards established an academic unit at the Mater Hospital that catered for the health needs of adults with intellectual disability in the 1990s. She became the Clinical Coordinator for that unit, taught psychiatrists, mental health clinicians and services about the mental health needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disability; an active researcher in this space. This unit developed into a Centre of Excellence that continues to provide much needed health and mental health services today. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) over the past ten years, she has undertaken a significant number of consultancies enabling fellows from the Global South to participate in education and field experiences relating to disability, mental health, inclusive disaster management, gender, and social inclusion. She currently is completing a DFAT contract led by QUT, where she is teaching Gender and Social Inclusion to Vietnamese Ministry of Transport senior staff. Academically, Niki has worked for UQ and Griffith University Schools of Medicine where she taught into evidence-based medicine and clinical skills courses. She moved from Social Work academia at QUT after more than a decade there to take up her current position at UniSQ. Additionally, she is appointed as visiting Professor of Social Work at Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Germany where she has taught and continues to teach online (“Who Wears the Pants: Gender in Contemporary Society”; and “Critical Perspectives of Mental Health and Mental Illness”). She is also a Visiting Fellow at QUT.

  • Public Health ( 420600 )
  • Clinical Social Work Practice ( 440901 )
  • Rural Community Development ( 440406 )
  • Intersectional Studies ( 440505 )
  • Social Determinants Of Health ( 420606 )
  • Allied Health And Rehabilitation Science not elsewhere classified ( 420199 )
  • Other Health Sciences ( 429900 )
  • Social Work ( 440900 )
  • Gender Studies ( 440500 )
  • Allied Health And Rehabilitation Science ( 420100 )
  • Gender Relations ( 440504 )
  • Counselling ( 440902 )
  • Other Human Society not elsewhere classified ( 449999 )
  • Poverty ( 440405 )
  • Health Equity ( 420602 )
  • Development Studies ( 440400 )
  • Other Human Society ( 449900 )
  • Humanitarian Disasters ( 440402 )

Critical Social Work
Diversity and difference
Inclusive disaster management
Mental health, mental illness and psychosocial disability

Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Member
Australian Association of Social Workers, Queensland Branch Committee Member & Social Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee Member
International Federation of Social Workers Member

Director, ARAFMI

Committee Member, Queensland Inclusion Incorporated (QAI)

Associate Professor Niki Edwards is appointed Academic Discipline Lead for Social Work and Human Services. She is currently developing and implementing a suite of Social Work programs at UniSQ. The Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) will be available as online programs from Semester 1 2023. She will also be working on a Master of Social Work (Qualifying) and dual degrees. Niki has taught into many Social Work courses over her career but will teach disability, health and mental health courses in the UniSQ Social Work programs.

20 Years

20 Years