Photo of Dr Karen Bell Dr Karen Bell

Profile

Karen completed a Bachelor of Arts (La Trobe University Melbourne) in 1986, majoring in Legal Studies and Philosophy. She completed a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours grades (University of Melbourne) in 1988 and her PhD (CSU) in 2009. She's worked in social work education at CSU since 1993, initially as a casual lecturer and since 2000 as a permanent staff member.

Karen's professional practice background is mainly in the field of health as a generalist hospital social worker and in mental health as an on-site social worker in a regional psychiatric unit. She has undertaken various contract and locum positions in health and community services over the years. She worked at Centrelink as a caseworker and in indirect practice roles including staff training and development, reviews, policy and projects.

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Teaching

Karen has taught a range of subjects in welfare, social work and human services. She currently teaches Social Work Theory and Practice, Fields of Practice as well as in the field education subjects in the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) degrees. She coordinates the Bachelor of Social Work Honours program and the Master of Social Work dissertation subject. Karen also supervises PhD, DSW, MSW and Honours candidates and contributes to orientation and ongoing development of postgraduate students through the Social Work and Human Services Research Higher Degree Seminar program.

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Doctoral research

The title of Karen's PhD thesis is 'The experiences and support needs of non-metropolitan women who have used assisted reproduction clinics'. This qualitative research explores the experiences of rural women in relation to infertility and assisted reproduction and the role of social work and human service professionals in this context.

The dominant paradigm in assisted reproduction remains quite traditional, biomedical and individualistic in its ontological orientation. This shapes regulation, research and service provision.  A major outcome of this research is its contribution to a post-conventional knowledge base in relation to human reproduction – one that validates women's epistemic agency. In terms of national health and social services delivery, the research reinforces a need for a multidisciplinary, human rights approach to service delivery in the context of IVF in Australia and internationally.

Research interests

  • Philosophy of social work, post-conventional social theory, ecological social work;
  • Gender, women and social policy;
  • Social work education, international social work;
  • Women's health, assisted reproduction, ageing and palliative care;
  • Rural and regional service delivery.

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Thesis - Doctor of Philosophy

Bell, K. (2009). The experiences and support needs of non-metropolitan women who have used assisted reproduction clinics. CSU.

Book chapters

Bell, K. (forthcoming) Ageing in rural communities. In Bernoth, M. (ed.). Healthy ageing in Australian communities. Oxford University Press. Accepted April 2014.

Bell, K. (2013) Post-Conventional Approaches to Gender, Climate Change and Social Justice. In Alston, M. & Whittenbury, K. (Eds.) Research, action and policy: addressing the Gendered impacts of Climate Change. Springer. Ch. 4.

Bell, K. (in-press) Post-conventional theory: sustaining social work in the twenty first century. In Social Work Education and Practice in Twenty First Century: Emerging Issues and Challenges. (Routledge). Accepted July 2013.

Peer reviewed journal articles published/forthcoming

Bell, K., Moorhead, B. & Boetto, H. (forthcoming) Social work students' reflections on gender, social justice and human rights during a short-term study programme to India. International Social Work. Accepted May 2014.

Boetto, H. & Bell, K. (forthcoming) Environmental sustainability in social work curricula: A pilot study of online course content. International Social Work. Accepted April 2014.

Boetto, H, Moorhead, B. & Bell, K. (2014) Broadening the 'environment' in social work: Impacts of a study abroad program. Critical Social Work. Accepted May 2014.

Bell, K. (2014) Exploring epistemic injustice through feminist social work research. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. 29 (2): 165-178.

Bailey, I., Bell, K., Kalle, W. & Pawar, M. (2014) Restoring meaning to supervision through a peer consultation group in rural Australia. Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic  Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2014.896785

Moorhead, B., Boetto, H. & Bell, K. (2014) India and us: Student Development of Professional Social Work Identity through a Short-term Study Abroad program. Journal of Social Work Education. 33(2): 175-189.

Bell, K. (2013) Constructions of 'infertility' and some lived experiences of involuntary childlessness. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. 28(3): 284-296.

Bell, K. & Anscombe, A. (2013) International field experiences in Social Work: Outcomes of a study abroad program. Social Work Education: The International Journal. 32(8): 1032-1047.

Bell, K. (2013) Participants' motivations and co-construction of the qualitative research process. Qualitative Social Work. 12(4): 523-539.

Bell, K. (2012) Towards a post-conventional philosophical base for social work. British Journal of Social Work. 42(3): 408-423.

Bell, K. (2012) An exploration of women's psychosocial support needs in the context of assisted reproduction. Social Work in Health Care. 51(8): 695-709.

Bell, K. (2006) An overview of assisted reproduction in Australia and directions for social research. Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society. 4(1): 15-27.

Alston, M., Allan, J., Dietsch, E., Wilkinson, J., Shankar, J., Osburn, L., Bell, K., Meunstermann, I., Giorgas, D., Moore, E., Jennett, C., Ritter, L., Gibson, R., Grantley, J., Wallace, J., Harris, J. (2006) Brutal neglect: Australian rural women's access to health services. Rural and Remote Health, 6: 475.  http://rrh.org.au/publishedarticles/article_print_475.pdf

Barton, H., Bell, K., & Bowles, W. (2005) Help or hindrance? Outcomes of social work student placements. Australian Social Work, 58(3): 301-312.

Alston, M., Whittenbury, K., Bell, K., Brown, A., McKinnon, J., Williams, R., Mitchell, R., Allan, J., Dowling, J., Wicks, A., Valentine, B., Hamilton, P., McKinnon, N. (2005) SERPS Up: Support, Engagement and Retention of Postgraduate Students – a model of postgraduate support, Australian Journal of Adult Learning. 45(2): 172-190.

Other research publications

Bell, K. 2004. Assisted reproduction and the wellbeing of women: Questioning the miracle. Wellbeing of Women Conference Proceedings (refereed). Charles Sturt University.

Alston, M., Pawar, M., Bell, K., Kent, A., Blacklow, N. 2001. The Western Riverina Higher Education Needs Analysis. Centre for Rural Social Research, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

Anscombe, A. W. and Bell, K. (2011) The social work India study tour. Charles Sturt University.

International refereed conference papers

Bell, K. 2014. Qualitative Social Work Research for Epistemic Justice. Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development 9 - 12 July 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

Bell, K. 2012. Post-conventional social work theory: An ontological foundation for human rights and social equality. IFSW/ IASSW Social Work Social Development 2012: Action and Impact. Stockholm, Sweden.

Bell, K. 2011, A post-conventional approach to gender, climate change and social justice. Gender and climate change: Women, research and action. International Conference, Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Centre, Monash University, Prato, Italy.

Bell, K. 2005 – Impacts of infertility for rural Australian women. National Women's Studies Association Conference. Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. June 2005.

Bell, K. 2005 – Women's experiences of assisted reproductive technology in regional Australia. International Conference on Social Sciences, Hawaii, U.S.A. June 2005.

Barton, H., Bell, K., & Bowles, W. 2004. Help or hindrance? Outcomes of social work student placements. Global Social Work Congress, International Federation of social Workers/ International Association of Schools of Social Work / Australian Association of Social Workers / Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Educators, Adelaide 2004

Other refereed conference papers

Bell, K. 2004. Assisted reproduction and the wellbeing of women: Questioning the miracle. Wellbeing of Women Conference, Charles Sturt University, 2003

Conference participation

Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development 9 - 12 July 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

IFSW/ IASSW Social Work Social Development 2012: Action and Impact. Stockholm, Sweden, July 2012.

Gender and climate change: Women, research and action. International Conference, Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Centre, Monash University, Prato, Italy, September 2011.

National Women's Studies Association Conference. Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. June 2005

International Conference on Social Sciences, Hawaii, U.S.A. June 2005.

Global Social Work Congress, IFSW/AASW/IASSW/AASWWE, Adelaide, October 2004

Gender, women and social policy conference, CSU, December 2003

Women in research forum, CSU, July 2003

Women in academic research presentation, CSU, August 2003

Social Work in Mental Health, NSW Department of Health, Sydney, 1992.

Social Work in Health: Focus on loss, grief and ageing. AASW Sydney, 1989.

Other research activity

2011 – current - Reviewer for British Journal of Social Work

2013 – current – Reviewer for Social Work Education: The International Journal.

2012 – current – Reviewer for Australian Social Work

2011 – Member Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association

2010 – current – reviewer for Rural Society

2009 – current – member of School of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Development Committee

2004 - Research team member Rural Women's Health Indicators project, CSU.

2000-2010 - Member of the Centre for Research Excellence – Land, Water and Society (incorporating the Centre for Rural Social Research), CSU

2003-2005 - Member Community of Scholars – Gender, women and social policy, CSU.

2002 – 2009 - Member Centre for Rural Social Research PhD student seminar group.

1998 - Area South West Regional Update – Centrelink.

Review of Child Support Agency Exemptions – Centrelink.

1999 - Review of Young Homeless Allowance (Homeless Rate) Assessments – Centrelink.

Training Manual – Effective Interviewing Skills for Customer Service Officers – Centrelink.

Training Manual – Responses to Customer Aggression – Centrelink.

1989 - After a miscarriage – information package for Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Social Work Department. Aged Care Rehabilitation Policy and Procedure Manual for Social Workers, Wagga Base Hospital.

1988 - As a Bachelor of Social Work student - Why I did a Master of Social Work – an initial exploration of motivations for postgraduate study, BSW Research Project Report, Honours grade, University of Melbourne.

1986 - As a Bachelor of Arts student - Evaluating a survivors' group – BA Honours research proposal, La Trobe University.

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Memberships

  • Fully accredited member of the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association
  • National Women's Studies Association, USA
  • Coordinator of the steering committee for the Wagga Wagga Social Workers' Continuing Professional Education group, 1996 - current

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Awards

  • Faculty Research Excellence Award 2013
  • Faculty Leadership Excellence Award 2011 (with Dr Bill Anscombe)

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