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Issue 4 - May 4, 2010 enews home

CDU appoints leading social scientist as research school head

Professor Daniela Stehlik

Professor Daniela Stehlik

By Richie Hodgson

One of Australia's leading social scientists has joined Charles Darwin University as Director of the School for Social and Policy Research (SSPR).

Professor Daniela Stehlik recently took over the position from inaugural Director Associate Professor Tess Lea.

Professor Stehlik said she was excited to be joining such a dynamic school and institution.

“Joining an established and well-known team such as that in SSPR is so exciting. It offers opportunities to both further integrate our expertise within the university as well as expand our influence nationally,” she said.

Soon to head a new research institute at CDU to be known as The Northern Institute, Professor Stehlik said she was looking forward to SSPR becoming a core component of this new Institute.

“With the development of the new research Institute, we will be able to further extend the university’s recognised strengths in social and public policy research,” she said.

“The Northern Institute, which will be formally launched soon, will have as its focus, northern Australia and its ‘neighbourhood’ – specifically, the countries of regional south-east Asia.”

Over the past 20 years Professor Stehlik’s work has focused on the generative capacity of women’s energy and enthusiasm as practitioners, volunteers and community members as an important component of flourishing communities in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Previously she was the Foundation Chair in Stronger Communities and Director of the Research Centre for Stronger Communities at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, where she led a team of social scientists working in sustainability and conservation; land use change; strengths-based practice models, and place and community vulnerability.

Established in 2003, this Centre has become a component of Curtin’s Australian Sustainable Development Institute. Before her time in WA, Professor Stehlik spent nine years at Central Queensland University.

In 2008, she completed an appointment as a member of the Expert Panel on the Social Impacts of Drought for the Federal Minister of Agriculture’s Review of National Drought Policy.

In the same year, she was an invited participant in the Australia 2020 Summit and to the National Rural Women’s Summit.

Professor Stehlik’s involvement in community development activities, and the impact of change on communities has led to a number of publications focusing on issues associated with social sustainability, community capacity building and evidence-based policy.

She has given visiting lectures in the US, Canada, the UK, and the Czech Republic.

She is actively involved in policy development and public commentary on community issues in Australia, and undertakes many public contributions on these issues each year – including consulting to the National Rural Women’s Coalition and the Country Women’s Association.