Dr Joel McGregor

Dr Joel McGregor

Associate Lecturer

Learning and Teaching (Sociology and Anthropology)

Justice for juveniles benefits the whole community

Joel McGregor is committed to upholding the rights of young people, and helping youth find a sense of belonging and purpose in the community following involvement with juvenile justice.

Image of Joel McGregor

Joel McGregor shares the University of Newcastle’s steadfast belief that every young adult has unique gifts to offer their communities and the world. But when a young person’s life gets derailed by violence or crime, it can be difficult for them to return and contribute to their communities in a meaningful way. Joel’s research is focused on helping more young people become fulfilled community members following juvenile justice involvement, benefitting not only the youth, but everyone involved.

“Sometimes people forget that ‘young offenders’ will one day re-enter the community, and they will likely live in the same neighbourhoods as you and me,” says Joel.

“So, it isn’t a case of locking young people up and throwing away the key. Rather, we should be investing resources in justice-involved young people to ensure that once they re-enter the community, they have a sense of belonging to their local community, and an ability to contribute positively via work or study.”

Helping the helpers

Completed in 2019, Joel’s PhD examined how case management and diversionary programs—such as rehabilitation interventions—come together as a practice to help young people get back on their feet following involvement with juvenile justice. A theme he has carried into his more recent work, Joel wants to understand the role of case managers in narrating a young person’s re-entry into the community, and the different ways they interact with youth to build rapport and connect them with the right services.

“My research is uncovering the complex relational practices that make up a case manager’s day-to-day work. The practice of case management has diverse delivery approaches; it does not follow a single method of service delivery.”

Joel’s work cuts across the disciplinary boundaries of sociology, criminology and human services to acknowledge multiple sources of knowledge, including personal experience, tacit knowledge and empirical research. For his PhD, Joel’s research showed how case managers are often required to draw on their own experiences, and an understanding of self, while serving their clients.

“For instance, case managers will often relate to their clients firstly through their own experiences of trauma or criminality. Then, secondly, they’ll bring in what they’ve learnt from their training. This has important implications for the desistance pathways of young people.”

To better understand how case managers engage and support their clients, Joel works with them directly to hear their stories and experiences firsthand. Joel expects that painting a more contextualised picture of the case manager’s role and impact will help inform stronger juvenile justice interventions in the future and support case managers to defend and expand their practice.

“The practitioner voice is often missing from research conversations. My work helps practitioners better conceptualise their motivations for working with justice-involved young people, and their place within these young people’s lives.

“This can have wider implications for the way that practitioners advocate for their role, and the way in which policy is built and designed to better service young people who need assistance.

“I feel extremely grateful that practitioners entrust their stories to me, which are really beautiful and intensely personal, and allow me to share them with the academic and wider community.”

Joel is also a co-investigator and criminology consultant expert on a fledgling pilot program Name. Narrative. Navigate. The cross-disciplinary project, led by Dr Tamara Blakemore, helps young people name the place of violence in their lives. It also works with victims and perpetrators of family and domestic violence, as well as schools located in areas with high rates of domestic violence.

“Current approaches to working with justice-involved and disadvantaged young people tend to be heavily time and outcomes focused. However, what we know is that young people’s lives are in a constant state of fluctuation. We need to provide support—both formal and informal—that is timely, and that young people can access when they require additional assistance. Building and sustaining relationships with members of the community is one way to do this.”

Committed to excellence and equity

Joel also applies his research acumen to the ongoing development of teaching and learning across the University’s undergraduate programs, including courses within the Open Foundations program and English Language and Foundations Studies Centre. Alongside Ms Michelle Mansfield, and Ms Kate Mellor, Joel is the co-coordinator for an action research project that examines the use of blended learning (BL) pedagogies in enabling sociology courses. This project will help inform best practice in online and blended learning programs at the University of Newcastle.

“The research will be undertaken with the enabling sociology cohort, both staff and students, to examine the usefulness of BL in bringing sociological theory into a real-world context.”

In every facet of his career, Joel is passionate about empowering young people. As a volunteer mentor, Joel works with young adults in juvenile justice to provide guidance informed by his research. In his role as University lecturer, Joel helps students young and old achieve their career goals, regardless of their life circumstances or backgrounds. In fact, thanks to the determination of lecturers like Joel, and the University’s ongoing commitment to excellence and equity, 24.9 per cent of our students come from low socio-economic backgrounds—well above the sector average of 16 per cent.

“What I hope the impact of my work to be, both in my research and teaching, is to enable individuals to realise their potential. That can be justice-involved young people realising how their current skills can be of use within the workplace, or students who have previously had barriers to accessing higher education realising that they have a place within the institution and have skills and knowledge to be an undergraduate student.

“I feel proud when I see students completing undergraduate degrees, especially when they thought it may not have been an option for them. It’s humbling to be part of their journey into higher education, no matter how small a part I played, and to facilitate capabilities in people that they may not have even realised they had.”

Image of Joel McGregor

Justice for juveniles benefits the whole community

Joel McGregor is committed to upholding the rights of young people, and helping youth find a sense of belonging and purpose in the community following involvement with juvenile justice.Joel McGregor shares the University of Newcastle’s steadfast belief that every young…

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Career Summary


Joel Robert McGregor is an Associate Lecturer in the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre.  He began his PhD in August 2014 and, shortly after, started working as a sessional academic. He has taught into programs in the School of Humanities Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Arts and the Open Foundations program, English Language and Foundations Studies Centre since 2015. His teaching experience means that he has knowledge in teaching low SES, Indigenous, mature-aged cohorts, as well as students coming to university from high school.

Joel has recently completed his PhD, titled 'Case Management in Youth Desistance: A Governmentality Approach’. The thesis seeks to uncover the ways in which case management and diversionary programs come together as a practice that is applied in the youth justice setting. It examines how youth case management and diversionary programs come together through complex relational practices. In particular, the thesis seeks to understand how practitioners do case management through their own subjectivities and the subjectivities that they imagine of their clients. It argues that, in managing ‘problem populations’, practitioners drew upon their personal understandings of young people to undertake their work rather than through the practices for working with post-release young people which were institutionally recognised. 


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Social Science, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours), University of Newcastle


  • Crime
  • Crime and Governance
  • Governance and Social Control
  • Punishment
  • Reintegration
  • Sociology
  • Sociology of Deviance
  • Youth
  • Youth Crime
  • Youth Sociology
  • Youth Transitions

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Associate Lecturer University of Newcastle
Learning and Teaching

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
13/12/2011 - 10/2/2012 Summer Research Scholar University of Queensland
Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR)


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

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 McGregor J, Farrugia D, 'Doing Research in Organisations: Implications of the Different Definitions of Youth', Complexities of Researching with Young People, Routledge, New York (2019)
Co-authors David M Farrugia

Journal article (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Mallett X, McGregor JR, Finau E, Markulin J, 'Interview with ABC investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna', Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 2 89-96 (2018)
Co-authors Xanthe Mallett
2018 Macfie T, McGregor JR, 'SHINE for Kids Stand as One mentoring program: The role of mentoring in supporting the transition from a juvenile justice centre to the community', Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 2 83-88 (2018)
2018 McGregor JR, 'Understanding the role of lived experience in the practice of case management', Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 2 3-15 (2018) [C1]
2017 McGregor JR, 'Case management and post-release young people', Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 2 47-60 (2017)
Show 1 more journal article

Conference (3 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Blakemore T, Rak L, McGregor J, 'Name, Narrate, Navigate: A pilot program for young people who perpetrate family and domestic violence', University of Newcastle, Australia (2019)
Co-authors Tamara Blakemore
2018 McGregor J, 'Conceptualising youth through the lived experiences of case managers', Melbourne (2018)
2015 McGregor JR, 'Post-release becoming of youth who have participated in crime', Crowne Plaza Newcastle (2015)

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 McGregor J, Case Management in Youth Desistance: A Governmentality Approach, University of Newcastle (2019)

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 3
Total funding $925,261

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20201 grants / $49,900

Development and evaluation of an effective assertive outreach model for women in the Hunter region$49,900

Funding body: Nova for Women and Children

Funding body Nova for Women and Children
Project Team Doctor Tamara Blakemore, Doctor Graeme Stuart, Doctor Joel McGregor, Professor Elizabeth Sullivan
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G2000921
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

20191 grants / $3,000

Sociological Insights: A critical investigation into the implementation of blended learning design in enabling sociology courses.$3,000

This project evaluates the implementation of a blended learning (BL) curriculum in two enabling sociology courses. A suite of BL modules comprising of visual learning objects and curriculum integration is currently being finalised for dissemination within EPHUMA254: Sociological Insights and EPHUMA310: Social Enquiry, Semester 2 2019. The feature of these modules are the visual learning objects, or videos, of experts within their disciplinary fields which are intended to supplement the course content with a focus on bring sociological theory into a real-world context. This research project will analyse the effectiveness of these modules on student learning and engagement. EPHUMA154/254 and EPHUMA310 students and staff will be invited to participate in this project, either via a quantitative survey or qualitative interview or focus group. In particular, the EPHUMA154/254 cohort will serve as a comparison group, whom have completed EPHUMA154 in a non-BL classroom but will be completing EPHUMA254 in a BL environment. At the conclusion of this project, the analysis of research data will contribute to current debates of best practice in online and BL programs particularly in the enabling context. 

Funding body: English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle

Funding body English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Joel McGregor; Michelle Mansfield

Scheme Sociological Insights
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20181 grants / $872,361

Perpetrator Package - Young Perpetrators activity$872,361

Funding body: Department of Social Services

Funding body Department of Social Services
Project Team Doctor Tamara Blakemore, Doctor Kylie Agllias, Doctor Graeme Stuart, Mr Shaun McCarthy, Doctor Chris Krogh, Ms Louise Rak, Professor Penny Jane Burke, Steve Larkin, Doctor Joel McGregor
Scheme Community Grants Hub
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1800632
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210

Dr Joel McGregor


Associate Lecturer
Learning and Teaching
Academic Division

Focus area

Sociology and Anthropology

Contact Details

Email joel.mcgregor@newcastle.edu.au
Phone 492 18826
Link Twitter


Room HO 1.66
Building Humanities Building
Location Ourimbah
10 Chittaway Road
Ourimbah, NSW 2258