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Personal profile

Personal profile

Karen Bell is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; she was granted a CSU Research Fellowship (2018-2020).

Karen completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in legal studies and philosophy (La Trobe University Melbourne) in 1986, a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours, University of Melbourne) in 1988 and a PhD (CSU) in 2009.

Karen’s previous professional practice experience is mainly in health as a generalist hospital social worker and in mental health as an on-site social worker in a regional psychiatric unit. She has also undertaken various contract and locum positions in health and community services over the years. In addition, she worked at Centrelink in direct and indirect practice roles including staff training and development, reviews and projects.

Karen’s doctoral thesis - The experiences and support needs of non-metropolitan women who have used assisted reproduction clinics – explored 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.

Karen has worked in social work education at CSU since 1993, initially as a sessional academic and since 2000, as a tenured academic.  Karen teaches at all levels in the social work and human services degrees, including undergraduate and postgraduate subjects. She coordinates the  Bachelor of Social Work Honours program as well as the Masters-level research strand. In addition, she supervises PhD and DSW students, and she has examined several PhD theses. Karen has also co-facilitated several international student mobility programs (China, India, Samoa, Korea). 

Research interests include:

  • Philosophy of social work, social theory
  • Gender, women and social policy
  • International social work
  • Social work curriculum development, international education, and practicum
  • Assisted reproduction 
  • Rural and regional service delivery
  • Eco-social work

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Karen Bell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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social work Social Sciences
Social Work Medicine & Life Sciences
studies abroad Social Sciences
student Social Sciences
social justice Social Sciences
gender Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences
innovation Social Sciences

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Research Output 2001 2019

Gender, environmental degradation and eco-feminism

Bell, K., Kime, K. & Boetto, H., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Social Work Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability : A workbook for global social workers and educators. Rinkel, M. & Powers, M. (eds.). 1st ed. Berne, Switzerland: International Federation of Social Workers, Vol. 3.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference book

environmental damage

Internationalizing social work education: Insights from leading figures across the globe

Bell, K., 2019, In : Australian Social Work. 72, 1, p. 124-125 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

1 Citation (Scopus)
social work
social worker

Transforming Social Work for Environmental Justice: Theory, Practice, and Education

Bell, K., 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Australian Social Work. 72, 2

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Social Justice
Social Work
social work


New Zealand
social work

Leadership Excellence

Karen Bell (Recipient), 2011


Research Excellence

Karen Bell (Recipient), 2013


Activities 1989 2016

Australian Association of Social Work (External organisation)

Karen Bell (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

Australian Social Work (Journal)

Karen Bell (Reviewer)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

International Social Work Conference (Event)

Karen Bell (Reviewer)
01 Nov 2013

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

Rural Society: the journal of research into rural and regional social issues in Australia (Journal)

Karen Bell (Reviewer)
01 Jan 2012 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

British Journal of Social Work (Journal)

Karen Bell (Reviewer)
01 Jan 2012 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

Press / Media

CSU social work team crowned tops, again

Manohar Pawar, Wendy Bowles, Karen Bell, Andrew Vann & Garth Norris


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

CSU social work team crowned tops, again

Karen Bell, Manohar Pawar, Wendy Bowles & Cate Thomas


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

From CSU to Samoa

Karen Bell


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Peer support for rural counsellors

Isobel Bailey, Karen Bell, Manohar Pawar & Wouter Kalle


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media