Susan Mlcek

Associate Head of School

Associate Professor Susan Mlcek

Associate Head of School (Staffing, Learning & Teaching)
Mansfield Building 1411, Room 328


Susan is Māori-Indigenous, with teaching experience gained from time at two Australian universities, a NZ tribal indigenous-university, and TAFE NSW. A very distant 'claim to fame' was as one of four official workforce training coordinators for the Sydney Olympic Games, with the added responsibility of being 'sport training coordinator for all 47 Olympic and Paralympic sports'. She brings several hats to her current and previous roles, including as STAR Lead for the Faculty of Arts social work programs [from 2011-2013), and Course Director Lead for Smart Learning: adult education; literacy, language and numeracy; human services and social work; management, and foundational studies. Her substantive position is as senior lecturer in the human services and social work discipline, with a teaching focus on cross-cultural competencies, case management, and communication subjects. As a previous course coordinator of the social work degree program at the CSU rural and regional campus in Dubbo, she was able to focus on a particular passion; on providing education opportunities for marginalised and LSES students. Her PhD research and thesis [UWS 2008] relates to Paucity Management Models in Community Services Delivery (in rural and remote areas in the central west of NSW). She has undertaken externally-funded community development evaluation projects related to rural service provision. Overall, research and publications address several interest areas, including ongoing collaborations with NZ, as well as Indonesian colleagues [following the successful international social work mobility program to the Bandung School of Social Welfare, Indonesia, in 2014]. Her Sub-Dean role has seen her successfully apply for New Colombo Plan funding for international short-term mobility programs to: Samoa, Malaysia, Seoul, South Korea, India, and Indonesia.

CSU Current Roles: Sub-Dean Partnerships, Faculty of Arts and Education; Smart Learning Course Director-Lead, Faculty of Arts and Education; Level C – Senior Lecturer Teaching & Research, Social Work & Human Services.

Qualifications & Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy[commenced 2002; submitted March 2008, awarded 2008] – UWS, Penrith [Principal supervisors: Associate Professor Regine Wagner & Associate Professor Rosemary Leonard; second supervisor: Associate Professor Merrilyn Childs]: Final thesis - Paucity Management Models in Community Welfare Services Delivery. Empirical work included interviews with 15 managers from the central west region of NSW. The qualitative phenomenographic research applied a theoretical framework from: Giddens' structuration theory; Wagner's domain theory, and complexity and chaos theories from Gleick and Lewin. The study used a 'structure of awareness framework' to analyse categories of description related to professional practice including: communicating; ethical practice; structural boundaries, & innovation. Principal External Markers: Associate Professor Wendy Earles [JCU] & Professor Jo Barraket [QUT].
  • Bachelor of Social Work[Commenced February 2009; Awarded 2010], CSU, Wagga Wagga: The degree program updated social work qualifications for Australian Association of Social Workers [AASW] membership, and for inclusion in all facets of teaching human services and social work curriculum.
  • Master of Commerce(Hospitality Management) [commenced 1998; awarded 1999] – UWS, Hawkesbury: Subjects: Management and Leadership Process; Marketing Management; Strategic Management; Operational Management; Managerial Accounting; Human Resource Development; Properties and Facilities; Seminar in Cultural Diversity and Tourism.
  • Master of Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies)[commenced 1996; awarded 1997] – UWS, Nepean: Subjects: Communication Management; Research Paper-Bilingualism & Identity; Issues in Indigenous Cultures; Women, Technology & Communication; Technology, Communication & Education; Ideas & Issues in Writing; Research Processes.
  • Bachelor of Adult Education(Major: Literacy, language & numeracy major) [commenced 1993; awarded 1995] – UWS, Nepean: Subjects: Included major in Literacy, Language and Numeracy, plus Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL); Human Resource Development & Management; Workplace Communication; Ideas & Issues in Education; Project Management; Community Education; Language as Social Semiotics; Facilitating Learning.


Susan has taught a range of subjects in welfare, social work and human services.

Current research

  • Critical reflection on whiteness behaviours in social work
  • Intuition framework application for transformational leadership
  • Rural and remote community services delivery as part of Information and Neighbourhood Centres
  • Social engineering of communities – contemporary colonisation
  • International mobility partnerships including social work programs - Indonesia

Research interests

  • Auto-ethnography
  • Social work education, in particular providing learning opportunities for the disadvantaged
  • Indigenous Philosophy: Decolonising Philosophy
  • Indigenous knowledges and theories
  • Indigenous research methods
  • Critical whiteness studies
  • Developing cross-cultural competencies
  • Indigenisation of curriculum
  • University curriculum renewal and implication for first-year transition.

Professional Activities

  • Enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management [GCULM] Degree Program – CSU – 2015 and current.
  • Participant on the CSU Leadership Development for Women [LDW] Program - professional staff development – 2012.


  • PhD and Professional Doctorate: Charles Abanobi – Social inclusion, PhD 2015 and current; Rohena Duncombe – Homeless peoples access to service delivery, PhD 2014 and current; Deanna Bowen – Exploring the Treatment of Eating Disorders in Rural Australian Health Settings: Towards a Model of Effective Service Delivery, DSW 2013 and current; Susan Moore – Keeping kids safe in remote Aboriginal communities: exploring community-driven frameworks for the protection of children from sexual abuse, PhD 2014 and current; Julie Perrin – Sibling bereavement over time; the experience on the individual and on family relationships, when the brother or sister's death is drug-related: a qualitative research project - DSW 2013 and current; Sandra Bateman – An examination of the social impact of volunteer activity in three Australian living heritage museums - principal supervisor PhD, candidate withdrew 2011 following successful defense of research proposal.
  • Masters dissertation: Lillian Flanagan - Why use the 'Signs of safety' for Queensland child protection social workers? –principal supervisor 2014; Jeanette Ninnis - Women who have been sexually assaulted as refugees particularly in refugee camps – principal supervisor 2012/2013-2015; Lauren Grant- Homeless Agencies and Social Inclusion: Examples of Programs and Services in Adelaide - principal supervisor Degree Master of Human Services Management and Policy; candidate successful graduation 2010.
  • Honours thesis: Aaron Jackson– Trauma-informed child protection practice – 2015;Rachel Mitchell – Multicultural work, youth, community development, rural SW- principal supervisor, 2014; Joanna Newton– Transfer of children from CS to NGOs, maybe on the impact on staff, or carers and/or the children... principal supervisor, 2014; Donna Smith - Australia cannot develop its national identity until it recognises and accepts Indigenous Australians as holding the unique place as being Australia¹s first peoples – principal supervisor, 2014;Emma Flakelar – 'No More Silence': Domestic Violence and Community Awareness Campaigns in the Wagga Wagga Region - principal supervisor; candidate successful graduation first-class honours, 2011; Caroline Vella– Challenges and barriers impacting on effective communication with Autistic people - principal supervisor, candidate successful graduation 2010.

Professional Activities / Professional Consultancies

  • Mlcek, S. (2015 – and continuous appointment each year to end of 2019). International Academic Panel Consultant and Expert for the Accrediting Bodies – NZQA & SWRB NZ – for the accreditation of the Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work, 4-year degree program, delivered by Te Whare Wananga o Aoteoroa, NZ.
  • Mlcek, S [Literacy, Language & Numeracy Consultant] for Disabilities Enterprises (2008/2009).Their Feet in our Hands. Consultant and writer for final training material for Workplace English Language & Literacy [WELL] research project.
  • Mlcek, S [Content expert writer/researcher] for OTEN (2008/2009). Events Alive! Manage Volunteers Online Resource training materials. Sydney: TAFE NSW Open Training and Education Network [OTEN]. from,

CSU Teaching and Learning Resources

  • Mlcek, S (September 2011-Bathurst). Traversing the plateaus of knowledge(s): how mana determines the research processes. School H & SS seminar series.
  • Mlcek, S (June 2009-Wagga Wagga). ReOrientingWhiteness – implications for teaching social work and human services curriculum. School H & SS seminar series.
  • Mlcek, S (June 2005-Wagga Wagga). Paucity management in rural community welfare services. School H & SS seminar series.
    • STAR [Student Transition and Retention] First-year subject delivery: Information for lecturers, Compendium 1 201230.
    • STAR First Year Curriculum Learning Community [FYCLC] Colloquium 1 [24 April 2012].
    • STAR First Year Curriculum Learning Community [FYCLC] Colloquium 2 [20 Nov 2012].
    • STAR First Year Curriculum Learning Community [FYCLC] Colloquium 3 [29 May 2013].
    • STAR First Year Curriculum Learning Community [FYCLC] Colloquium 4 [27 Nov 2013].

External Research Activities

  • Invited international conference session Chair for: 2008 International Re-Orienting Whiteness Conference, Monash University, Melbourne; 2010 9th International Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research [ISTR], Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • International Marker for PhD – Mei Winitana [TWWoA] – Markers of Identity for Māori Women – February 2014.
  • International Academic Expert – invited to sit on the NZQA and NZSWB accreditation panel to review and approve the new 4-year Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work, for Te Whare Wānanga ō Āotearoa - May 2015.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • "The contradictions of contemporary social work: an ironic response" - for the British Journal of Social Work (2013)
  • 'Interest convergence in Australian education' – for ACRAWSA (2012)
  • 'Theorizing Social Ideations' – for the International Journal of the Humanities (2011)
  • 'Towards a Holistic View of Humanities' – for the International Journal of the Humanities (2011)
  • 'Will "Perpetual Copyright" Destroy Humanities Research?'– for the International Journal of the Humanities (2011).

Peer Reviewed Books

  • Gray, M, Coates, J, Yellow Bird, M & Hetherington, T (eds.) 2013, Decolonizing Social Work, Ashgate, Surry, England. 354 pages, includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4094-2631-8 (hardback); ISBN 978-1-4094-2632-5 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-44094-7278-0 (ePUB) - for the International Journal of Social Work (2013).

Journal Co-editorship

  • Associate Editor for Vol. 9, Issue 5 of The International Journal of the Humanities [2011 - associated with the above relevant peer journal article reviews].

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