ARC Engagement & Impact Submission

The Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work (ACHSSW) is a body representing the Heads of all Social Work Schools across the country and their staff. As such, we bring to the table the combined expertise of Social Work academics across the nation.

Social work is both a practice-based profession and an academic discipline. Training for the profession takes place within universities in which social work research is also undertaken. There are strong and longstanding links between each of the Australian universities in which social work research is conducted and the social work agencies in their locality/region. These links have been developed and sustained over many years through the engagement of members of the Advisory Boards for courses of professional social work education, the placement of social work students in social work and related agencies, student research projects (Honours and HDR) and academic research with social work agencies, practitioners, and service users and their organisations. Part-time HDR students often work as social work practitioners at the same time as conducting research, and social work researchers are also employed in government departments, NGOs and other organisations with a policymaking or advocacy focus. As an applied discipline, social work research is therefore well placed in terms of engagement with its ‘end-users’ and impact. These ‘end-users’ include:

  • Policymakers and government departments
  • The professional body – the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Social work practitioners
  • Social work educators and students
  • Social work agencies, peak bodies, government departments, office of the public advocate, NGOs, and other organisations that employ social workers
  • Service users, their families, carers and supporters
  • Service users organisations and advocacy and campaigning groups (eg People With Disability Australia)
  • The general public (increasingly via open access publications and dissemination of research findings via the internet and social media)
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