Dr Deborah Hart

Dr Deborah Hart


School of Humanities and Social Science

Career Summary


Deborah has been a social worker in direct practice and in university education for 34 years. She was employed as a social worker in various capacities in the Australian Government income support and employment services field for 16 years. This role involved working with people who were experiencing a major change in their personal and social circumstances, including crisis interventions, counselling, psycho-social assessment, assessment of entitlement to income support payments in specific situations, policy evaluation and development, supervision of social workers, community development and outreach and social work supervision and student field education.

Deborah moved from direct social work practice into university social work education in the year 2000. She taught in the undergraduate and postgraduate Social Work and Policy Studies programs at The University of Sydney before moving to Newcastle University at the beginning of 2015. She is currently teaching in the undergraduate social work program and teaching a Masters level course focused on leadership in the human services context. 


  • PhD (Social Work), University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Social Studies, University of Sydney
  • Master of Social Work, University of Sydney


  • Critical organisational studies
  • Social Policy
  • Social citizenship and social justice
  • Social work
  • Social work student field education


  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160512 Social Policy 33
160701 Clinical Social Work Practice 25
160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified 42

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
7/12/2015 -  Lecturer Social Work and Coordinator Social Work Student Field Educatoin The University of Sydney
16/02/2015 -  Lecturer, Social Work

Social Work Practice Experience:  

Deborah was employed as a social worker in various roles in the field of income support and employment services in the Australian Government Department of Social Security and Centrelink for a period of 16 years between 1984 and the close of 1999. She provided direct social work practice in rural and remote communities in north western New South Wales (Australia) before moving to the western suburbs of Sydney to take up a social work management role. Social work practice in this context was provided to a range of service users who were experiencing a major change in their personal and social circumstances. This included working with people experiencing a crisis or ongoing distressing life experiences, including: relationship and family breakdown; relationship violence; child protection matters; youth homelessness; unemployment caused by job loss and/or illness and disability; individual or family homelessness; financial hardship; migration and refugee settlement challenges, mental health concerns, alcohol and other drug dependence; and complex caring commitments. Another aspect of this position involved the assessment of entitlement to specific income support payments in delegated situations. This position also included providing input into income support policy evaluation and development, with a focus on service users in vulnerable situations. Deborah also managed teams of social workers and provided professional social work supervision to more than 50 social workers and around 15 social work students.

University Field Education Manager and Lecturer:

Deborah moved from social work practice to university education in January 2000, spending 13 years in the social work program at the University of Sydney in the social work field education program before moving into a Lecturer role, teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate programs in a range of social work and social policy subject areas. She moved from the University of Sydney to teach at the University of Newcastle, NSW Australia at the beginning of 2015 where she is currently teaching undergraduate social work students from first year to fourth year. 

The University of Newcastle, Australia
Social Work
26/01/2015 - 2/01/2017 Lecturer

Deborah was employed for 12 years at Sydney University in various professional and academic positions in the Social Work and Social Policy Program within the Faculty of Education and Social Work before moving to Newcastle University. She taught across most undergraduate social work courses and in the postgraduate (Masters coursework) program. Deborah also managed the social work field education program for four years and she performed the role of Director of Social Work Field Education (undergraduate and Masters qualifying programs) in 2012.

Deborah currently teaches in the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) program at Newcastle University. She has recently been appointed to the Coordinator Social Work Field Education role which involves preparing undergraduate social work students for field education placements and supporting field educators in their agency education roles. 

The University of Sydney
Faculty of Education and Social Work


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2008 Hart DG, 'Trapped within poverty and violence', Addressing Violence, Abuse and Oppression: Debates and Challenges, Routledge, New York 25-37 (2008)

Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Hart DG, 'An Introduction to Using Theory in Social Work Practice / Skills for Using Theory in Social Work: 32 Lessons for Evidence-informed Practice', Australian Social Work, 70 382-384 (2017)
DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2016.1179233
2003 Hart DG, Hart D, 'City Students Go Bush: The Process of Virtual Community Building in Rural Social Work Field Education.', Women in Welfare Education, 6 90-102 (2003)

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Blakemore TJ, hART D, Heinsch L, Howard A, Sampson D, 'Reflections on Praxis: Contemplating Experience Based Learning Models in Contemporary Contexts.', University of Auckland Epsom Campus, Auckland, New Zealand, (2017)
Co-authors Tamara Blakemore

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD Explore Relationships Between Students Use of Fictional Literature on Advanced Empathy Skills PhD (Social Work), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Dr Deborah Hart


Social Work
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Casual Academic
Social Work
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email deborah.hart@newcastle.edu.au
Phone 49215765


Room W228
Building Behavioural Science Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308