Associate Dean Engagement
Senior Lecturer, Social Work
Program Coordinator, Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
Study area: Humanities and Social Sciences
Location: Mt Helen Campus, H Building, Room H234
Phone: 5327 6576
PhD, Faculty of Arts, Education & Human Development, Victoria University, Adult and community education as sites for the development of social capital in a culturally diverse Australian society - 2009
Master of Education, Faculty of Human Development, Victoria University, Philosophy, people and process: a case study of community development in an adult education context - 2004
Graduate Certificate of Action Learning, a course in adult education and training management, Australian National Training Authority & Kangan Batman Institute - 1998
Graduate Certificate of Communication (Cross-Cultural Studies), Faculty of Arts, Victoria University - 1995
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours), University of South Australia (formerly SAIT) - 1987
- Master of Social Work (Qualifying)
- Foundations of Social Work Theory (MSWPG7101)
- Social Work Practice with Groups & Communities (MSWPG7108)
- Advocating for Individuals, Families, Groups & Communities (MSWPG7214)
Dr Rob Townsend is an experienced social worker, counsellor and community educator having worked for over 30 years in community legal centres, government departments, TAFE colleges and as consultant to many community based training organisations. Rob has taught social work and coordinated social programs for over 10 years with La Trobe University, Victoria University and is currently Associate Dean of Engagement and a senior lecturer in social work with the Faculty of Education and Arts at Federation University Australia. Rob’s areas of research include; human services, adult transitions and well-being particularly how human and social capital is developed in diverse 21st century communities. Rob’s recent research has been around peer learning and mature age transitions that facilitate access to tertiary education.
Areas of expertise
Rob currently leads the Regional Human Services Research Network in the Grampians and Central Highlands regions of Victoria which has been funded to explore research topics such as alcohol and drug education in secondary schools, e-learning in health and human services, the problem gambling of university students, mental health in rural communities and equine learning interventions for young people and children. These research projects are partnership based and applied research with significant impact on social policy and program planning with local human service organisations such as Ballarat Community Health, City of Ballarat, Shire of Hepburn, Hepburn Health and the Central Highlands Children and Youth Area Partnership.
Rob’s primary academic research is around adult transitions, adult education and regional community development with research projects, journal articles and conference papers cited nationally and internationally in peer reviewed articles, PhD theses and government reports. Rob’s academic research, which commenced with his PhD study of adult education as a form of social capital development in regional communities has now resulted in several projects and significant publications around peer learning, adult education and adult transitions. In 2006, a publication on education and social capital development, in 2008, a publication on education and social inclusion and in 2009, my PhD thesis was published by Victoria University. In 2010 I first presented my research at an international conference and published in an international journal of education, in 2011 my first book chapter was published on peer learning in social work education and then in 2012 there were 3 publications spanning topics on teaching and learning, 2 published in international journals, one in Spanish, in 2013 there were 4 publications, now in 2016 there will be three publications.
Rob has achieved an international reputation as a leading contributor to academic research and debates in adult education and social work with membership in the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) which organises the annual Asian Conference on Education, in Common Ground, an academic research forum in the USA which organises the annual International Conference on Learning and as a member of the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) which organises the biannual International Social Work Conference. Rob has been the academic member on the organising committee of the Barwon South Western and Grampians Allied Health Conference for 2014 and 2016. In 2016 this conference was at the Federation University’s Horsham campus and attracted over 120 delegates with over 20 presentations on allied health research in regional Victoria.
- Adult education, adult learning
- Adult transitions in life development
- Peer learning
- Cultural diversity in regional communities
- Foucauldian research methods
Present doctoral students.
Kate Fitt, PhD (Discourses in child welfare services for beginning practitioners).
Staci Ratcliffe, PhD (Parental Management of Processes Post-Diagnosis of a Child with ASD).
Peter Smith, PhD (The experiences of HDR students with disabilities).
Kim Cooper, PhD (The Application of Trauma-Informed Practice Models in Different Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) Programs: Impact and Outcomes).
Ollis, T., Williams, J., Townsend, R., Harris, A. & Jorquera, J. 2014, Chapter 10, The Popular Network of Australia (PENA) and 21st century critical education in, Paulo Freire: The Global Legacy, edited by Michael A. Peters & Tina Besley, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, Germany.
Townsend, R., Long, N. & Trainor, R. 2011, Chapter 15, Learning Opportunities of Social Work Group Supervision and Peer Learning in, Asia Pacific Social Work Field Education and Supervision, edited by Noble, C. & Henrickson, M, University of Sydney Press, Australia.
Peer reviewed journal articles
Sadowski, C., Townsend, R. & Pediaditis, M. 2016, University students’ use of ‘social networking sites’ (SNS) in their personal and educational lives at a regional Australian university, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET).
Townsend, R., Sadowski, C. & Pediaditis, M. 2016, Peer learning communities in tertiary education: The emergence of eclectic learning frameworks, International Journal of Adult, Community & Professional Learning, Vol 22.
Townsend, R. 2014, Perspectives on peer learning as adult education in diverse communities, International Journal of Adult, Community & Professional Learning, Vol 20.
Townsend, R. 2013, Perspectives of health care professionals’ on the value of peer mentoring during rehabilitation, Journal of Peer Learning, Vol 6, No.1, pp 46-58.
Long, N. & Townsend, R. 2013, Rural men’s experience of returning to study in human services and social sciences, Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, Vol 15, No. 2 pp 97-110.
Grace, M., Townsend, R., Testa, D. & Fox, J. 2013, Student Diversity as grass roots internationalisation in social work education, Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, Vol 15, No. 1, pp 120-134.
Pascal, J., Townsend, R. & Delves, M. 2012, South East Asian migrant experiences in regional Victoria: Exploring well-being, Journal of Sociology, SAGE Publications, U.K., http://jos.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/07/1440783312473187.abstract.
Townsend, R. & Pascal, J. 2012 Therapeutic landscapes: Understanding migration to Australian regional and rural communities, Rural Society, Vol 22, No.1, October 2012, pp59-66, eContent Management Pty Ltd.
Townsend, R., Schoo, A. & Dickson-Swift, V. 2012 (Online) 'I just can't remember what they were about, at all': an evaluation of first year undergraduate discipline-specific mentoring and peer mentoring programs, The International Journal of First Year in Higher Education, http://www.fyhe.com.au/past_papers/papers12/Papers/4C.pdf.
Townsend, R. 2011 So you think you're ready for university? Barriers, needs and supports for mature age individuals accessing higher education, New Community Quarterly (Education for Social Justice & Action), Volume 9, No. 3, Summer 2011.
Townsend, R, Delves, M, Kidd, T & Figg, B. 2011 Undergraduate student peer mentoring in a multi faculty, multi-campus university context, Journal of Peer Learning, Vol 4, 37-49.
Townsend, R. 2010 Developing 21st century diverse adult learning: rural and regional student access, progression and success in higher education, International Journal of Learning, Vol 17, No. 2, 329-341.
Townsend, R & Delves, M. 2009 Tree Changes or wholesale changes: The role of adult education in transitions in regional life, Rural Society, Vol 19, No. 2, 96-105.
Townsend, R. 2009 Australian adult education and its impact on diversity, social inclusion and social capital. Magis, Revista Internacional deInvestigación en Educación, Vol 2, 307-317.
Townsend, R. 2008 Adult education, social inclusion and cultural diversity in regional communities, Australian Journal of Adult Learning, Vol 48, No. 1, 71-92.
Townsend, R. 2006 Adult, community and public education as primary sites for the development of social capital, Australian Journal of Adult Learning, Vol 46, No. 2, 153-174.
Townsend, R., Sadowski, C., Phillips, J. & Hood, M. 2016. A Preliminary, Independent Evaluation of Equine Learning Experiences Australia, ELEA, Buninyong Bendigo Bank and Federation University Australia.
Townsend, R. 2016. An evaluation of the SSMART ASSK AOD Education Program, Ballarat Community Health and Federation University Australia.
Townsend, R., Sadowski, C. & Sergi, S. 2014. The prevalence of gambling amongst international students in the Grampians Ballarat region, Grampians Primary Health Care Partnerships & Federation University Australia.
Long, N. & Townsend, R. 2011. Support mechanisms for mature age men returning to tertiary education, Equality and Diversity Unit, La Trobe University.
Townsend, R., Schoo, A., Dickson-Swift, V., Delves, M. & Orchard, A. 2011. Evaluation of first year undergraduate discipline and peer mentoring, La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University, December 2011.
Townsend, R, & Jordan, K. 2011 Student Social Work Field Supervision: Learning Opportunities Offered by Group Supervision and Peer Learning, LRHS, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University.
Townsend, R. 2010 The mapping of undergraduate student peer mentoring programs in a multi-faculty, multi-campus Higher Education context, Equality and Diversity Unit, La Trobe University
Townsend, R. 2009 Recruitment and retention of mature aged students from rural communities in Central Victoria, Equality and Diversity Unit, La Trobe University
Townsend, R. 2009 Adult and community education as sites for the development of social capital in a culturally diverse Australian society, (PhD Thesis) Victoria University, Melbourne.
Townsend, R. 2004 Faculty of Human Development, Philosophy, People & Process: A Case Study of Community Development in the Australian Education System, (Masters thesis)Victoria University, Melbourne.
Morgan, M. & Townsend, R. 2002 Yenbena Indigenous Education Centre 2001 – 2004, Victorian Office of Training & Tertiary Education, Department of Education and Training, Melbourne.
Townsend, R., Webster, M. & Young S. 2000 Developing People Through Work-based Learning, Reframing the Future, ANTA, Adelaide.
Townsend, R., 1999 Post Acute Care Coordinators Professional Education Needs, Post Acute Care Facilitation Unit, North Western Health, Melbourne.
Delaney, B., Patmore, A. & Townsend, R. 1995 Social Housing Workforce Mapping Report, Australian National Training Authority/Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute, AGPS, Canberra.
Welfare Rights Unit Inc. 1992 A Guide to Defending Social Security Prosecutions, Townsend, R (editor), WRU, Melbourne.
Townsend, R. 1990 Protected tenancies: the elderly and frail living in poverty in the private rental market, Tenants Union of Victoria, Melbourne.
Townsend, R. 1987 Can Men Help Themselves; Stories of men’s health & well-being and participation in the ‘men’s movement’, (Social Work Honours thesis), School of Social Work, University of South Australia (formerly SAIT), Adelaide.
Peer reviewed conference papers
Neden, J., Townsend, R. & Zuchowski, I. Towards Sustainability in Field Education: Australia Social Work Field Education Criteria, Complexities and Competing Demands, International Conference of Social Work & Social Development, Seoul, 27-31 June 2016.
Townsend, R. & Kennedy, C. Evaluation of AOD health promotion activities in schools, Australian Health Promotion Association Conference, Perth, 21-22 June 2016.
Townsend, R. & Kennedy, C. Evaluation of SSMART Program in Schools in Regional Victoria, Barwon South Western & Grampians Allied Health Conference, Horsham, 21 April 2016.
Townsend, R. & Sadowski, C. The credentialising of human services and social work education in regional Australia, ANZSWWER Symposium, RMIT, Melbourne, 3-4 September 2015.
Townsend, R., Sadowski, C. & Pediatitis, M. 2015, Peer learning and tertiary education: A focus on Australia, International Conference on Learning, Universidad San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain, 9th – 11th July, 2015.
Townsend, R. 2014 Peer Learning Communities in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study of Undergraduate Students at a Regional Australian University, IAFOR Asian Conference on Education, Osaka Japan, October 26-30, 2014.
Townsend, R. 2014 Prevalence of Gambling amongst International Students in the Grampians/Ballarat Region, Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria Forum, Ballarat, October 13, 2014.
Sadowski, C, Townsend, R & Supple, J. 2014 Taking the plunge: Moving to a blended learning curriculum, Federation University Australia Teaching and Learning Conference, Ballarat, 3– 4 July, 2014.
Townsend R. 2014 Where is the Lifelong Learning in Australian regional communities? AVETRA Conference, Surfers Paradise April 22-24.
Sadowski C., & Townsend R. 2013 E-learning in health and human services, Barwon-Grampians Allied Health Conference, Horsham, 26 November.
Townsend R., Bradshaw J., Sadowski C., & Ratcliffe R. 2013 What is driving social work & welfare education in regional communities? Marketization, diversification or professionalization? Australian Association of Social Work & Welfare Education (AASWWE) National Symposium, Curtin University, Perth, 2-4 October 2013.
Townsend, R. & Long, N. 2013 Beginnings, middles and new beginnings: Men’s transitions through education, work, families and life, 10th National Men’s Health Conference, Brisbane, October 23-25, 2013.
Townsend, R. 2013 Perspectives on peer learning as adult education in diverse communities, 20th International Conference on Learning, Rhodes, Greece, 11-13 July 2013.
Ollis, T., Williams, J., Townsend, R., Harris, A. & Jorquera, J. 2012 The Popular Education Network of Australia (PENA) and 21st Century Critical Education, Paolo Freire – Global Conference, University of Waikiki, Hamilton, N.Z., October 26-29, 2012
Townsend, R., 2012 Peer learning, formal education and student activism, EduFactory Conference, ANU, September 28 – October 1, 2012.
Long, N. & Townsend, R. 2012 Rural men’s experience of returning to study in human services and social sciences, AASWWE Conference, University of South Australia,27-28 September 2012.
Grace, M., Townsend, R., Testa, D. & Fox, J. 2012 Student Diversity as grass roots internationalisation in social work education, AASWWE Conference, University of South Australia,27-28 September 2012.
K Tori, Dr. J. Pascal, Dr. R. Townsend & Prof. I Ellis, 2012 Emergency Nurse Practitioners: Leaping the Hurdles & Blending Two Worlds 7th International Nurse Practitioner/ Advanced Practice Nursing Network Conference: London August 2012.
Townsend, R., Schoo, A. & Dickson-Swift, V. 2012, ‘I just can’t remember what they were about, at all’: an evaluation of first year undergraduate discipline-specific mentoring and peer mentoring programs, The International Conference of the First Year in Higher Education (FYHE), Brisbane June 26-29 2012.
Townsend, R. 2012, Perspectives on peer learning as adult education, Freire Reloaded – Dialogue in the 21st Century, PENA Symposium, Victoria University, April 28th, 2012.
Townsend, R. 2011 Education and Employment as Indicators of Social Capital Development for Newly Arrived Migrants, 7th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, Shanghai, China, December 2-5, 2011.
Townsend, R. 2010 Plenary presentation; The impact of the Bradley Report on access to Higher Education for mature age individuals, Popular Education Network of Australia (PENA) inaugural symposium at Victoria University, Melbourne, October 28-29 2010.
Townsend, R. 2010 So you think you're ready for university? Barriers, needs and supports for mature age individuals accessing higher education, Asian Conference on Education, Osaka, Japan, December 2-5, 2010.
Townsend, R. 2010 Developing 21st century diverse adult learning: rural and regional student access, progression and success in higher education, International Learning Conference, Hong Kong Institute of Education, China, July 6-9, 2010.
Townsend, R. 2009 University speed-dating for mature-age students: 21st century processes of engagement and learning in higher education, ACE Conference, 24-25October 2009.
Townsend, R. 2008 Adult education, cultural diversity and social capital in 21st century communities, 38th Annual SCUTREA Conference Proceedings, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 1-5 2008.
Townsend, R. 2007 Adult education, social inclusion and cultural diversity in regional communities, presented at Cultural Diversity and Social Harmony Conference: The Goulburn Valley Experience, La Trobe University, Shepparton, 26-27 September 2007.
Townsend, R. 2007 through the looking-glass, down under & arse end about: adult and community education as sites for the development of social capital in a culturally diverse society, accepted for presentation at the CRLL International Conference, The times they are a changin’: researching transitions in lifelong learning, University of Stirling, Scotland, 22-24 July 2007.
Townsend, R. 2006 Moving from Place to Space: Adult, community and public education as resources for alleviating social isolation in regional communities, presented at the UTAS Conference, Isolation: Disconnection, Solitude and Seclusion in a Connected World, 14–16 December 2006, UTAS, Hobart.
Townsend, R. 2006 Socio-cultural influences on adult and informal learning in rural communities, American Education Research Association (AERA), Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 2006. Accepted for presentation for two special interest groups (SIGs) – Indigenous education and well-being & Rural community and education development, U.S.A.
Townsend, R. 2005 On a Road to Nowhere: The intersection between adult learning and rural community capability, Papers from the 14th National VET Research Conference, Wodonga, 6July 2005, NCVER, Adelaide.
Townsend, R. 2003 Socio-cultural development in a rural Indigenous community, Faculty Research Conference, Faculty of Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne.
Patmore, A. & Townsend, R. 1994 Social Housing Organisations: Workforce Issues, Qld AHURI Social Housing Conference, Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute, Townsville, Queensland.
- Member (and past Board Member) of Adult Learning Australia (ALA)
- Member of International Academic Forum (IAFOR)
- Member of Australian & New Zealand Social Work & Welfare Education & Research association (ANZSWWER)
- Member of UK Standing Committee on University Teaching & Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA)
- Member of the Popular Education Network of Australia (PENA)