Some hints re course coordination for new lecturers

HLSC2241 online teachingI’ve been asked to speak to new lecturers at the Uni about the role of a course coordinator. (Note: the University of Newcastle uses course to refer to individual subjects and program to refer to the collection of courses that make up a degree) and thought I’d share some thoughts here.

According to the Uni, the responsibilities of a course coordinator include: Continue reading

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Five things that scare me about Trump as president

(Photo: Gage Skidmore )

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Later this week, Donald Trump becomes the 45th US president. Even though I live in Australia, the election gripped the nation and received a great deal of media attention.

I was one of those people who couldn’t believe he had a chance and enjoyed the joke that the USA saw it as an election and the rest of the world saw it as an intelligence test.

Like so many others I totally misjudged the situation and now have to readjust to the reality of a Trump presidency.

I am genuinely fearful about the implications and what it means for the world. Here are five things that scare me. Continue reading

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Special days and dates for the environment – 2017

Photo of earth from the moon, with the quoteHere are some significant international and national days/weeks/months that focus on environmental issues.  I’ve also created a list of days and dates focusing on families and communities. Please let me know if I have missed any important ones. (Days marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2017 yet.


World Wetlands Day – Thursday, 2 February 2017 Continue reading

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Special days and dates for families and communities – 2017

(Photo: Pixabay)

(Photo: Pixabay)

There are many international and national days/weeks that focus on issues facing families and communities. The following are some of the more significant ones. There is also a list of days and dates for the environment. Please let me know if I have missed any important ones. (Days marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2017 yet.


World Day of Social Justice – Sunday, 19 February 2017 Continue reading

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Parent engagement – not just about schools


I’m preparing to submit an abstract to the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth’s conference on Parent Engagement.

When I did a Google search for the term “parent engagement” I am surprised by what I found: All but 4 of the links on the first 5 pages of results (50 links) were about parent engagement in schools.

The exceptions were: Continue reading

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Looking forward to 2017

2017It’s that time of the year which seems to be particularly conducive to planning, so here are some of my ideas for 2017


I don’t think I’ll be making all that many changes to the blog this year. I might give it a bit of a makeover some time (e.g., give it a new look), but doubt I will change the focus or style much. I would like to explore how to use it to develop my writing more and might do a few more short posts providing a brief overview of interesting resources or information I find. I hope to use it to help in writing a few articles for publication.

I didn’t set any specific blogging goals last year, but this year I’m going to publically commit myself to a few: Continue reading

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Transparency report (2016)

(Photo: CC BY-SA, flickr/freepress via Flickr)

(Photo: CC BY-SA, flickr/freepress via Flickr)

I recently came across a transparency report on Eco Warrior Princess. A major focus of her post was to be transparent about how much income she generated from her site and, even though I don’t generate any income from the blog, I like the idea.

A few posts back, I suggested that

If measurement is going to make a major difference to the practice of family and community work, we need to become much better at being transparent, open and honest.

There could also be value in being open about my blog stats. When starting blogging I would have appreciated some indication of how well other blogs did, and even now I have very little idea how my blog does compared to others.

At one level it probably shouldn’t matter, but at another level I am curious. So I thought I’d share some of my key stats for 2016. I have a free WordPress blog (with the $39  “no ads” upgrade) which works well for me, although the stats I can provide are limited. I’ve tried using Google Analytics, but haven’t had any luck. (E.g., it says I’ve had 158 page views over the past month, whereas the WordPress stats suggest I’ve had over 13,500 views). Not sure what I’m doing wrong or if it there is a problem using Analytics with the free WordPress sites. Regardless, here are some stats that might be of interest.

Key statistics for 2016

  • Total views in 2016 – 134,343 (Average of 367 views/day)
  • Total visitors in 2016 – 89,530
  • Total like in 2016 – 109
  • Total comments in 2016 – 108
  • Total shares in 2016 – 3,333
  • Total WordPress followers – 350
  • Total email followers – 269
  • Total Twitter followers – 458
  • Total Blog Facebook page followers – 231

Continue reading

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My top posts for 2016

BloggingThere are a number of ways to judge my top posts for 2016. To start with there are 10 posts that I think add a useful contribution to working with communities and families. Some of them came from my work around evidence-based practice in family services, and others relate more generally to working with communities community or strengths-based practice:

  1. Seven principles for a strengths-based approach to working with groups
  2. An introduction to community engagement
  3. Types of community engagement – creating boxes?
  4. Navigating dilemmas of community development: Practitioner reflections on working with Aboriginal communities
  5. What is evidence-based practice?
  6. What are evidence-based programs?
  7. What is evidence-informed practice?
  8. Rethinking the roles of families and clients in evidence-based practice
  9. What are program logic models?
  10. Program fidelity and baking a cake

Continue reading

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Why you should talk to strangers by Kio Stark

The notion of “Stranger Danger” does not sit comfortably with a strengths perspective. As I’ve said before, I want our daughters to know that most people ARE trustworthy and that if they are lost or something has happened to them, most people can be relied on to help.

In this TED talk, Kio Stark suggests:

When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life and theirs. You’re making unexpected connections. If you don’t talk to strangers, you’re missing out on all of that.

Continue reading

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Planning and implementing evidence-based programs and practice in family services in rural and regional NSW


Dorothée, Me, Deb

The following is the text of a session that Dorothée Crawley (CentaCare Wilcannia Forbes), Deborah Hartman (Family Action Centre) and I presented at the Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) conference

FRSAGraeme Stuart

We’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land we meet on and pay respect to their Elders past and present. We also pay respect to the knowledge and experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and practitioners throughout Australia.

We’re really pleased to be able to present today as we’re passionate about working with families and believe it’s important that our work is continually informed by a wide range of evidence.

I’m going to briefly introduce the project we’ve been involved in and discuss some of what we’ve learnt, Dorothee will outline her experience of using evidence in practice and then Deb will suggest some implications for policy and practice.

We were funded through the DSS Children and Families Expert Panel to support 9 services funded through the Children and Parenting Support program to enhance their ability to implement evidence-based programs and practice. Continue reading

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