Dr Athena Lathouras

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Dr Athena Lathouras


Teaching areas

  • Community Development and Social Change
  • Critical Social Policy Analysis

Research areas

  • structural community development
  • International students' experience
  • applied theatre and social change
  • citizenship and social movements
  • micro/macro social change
  • communities of practice
  • frameworking for development practice
  • action learning and participatory research methodologies

Program coordinator


Dr Athena 'Tina' Lathouras graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) in 2000 having worked in the social services sector since 1980. Her fields of work have included disability services, neighbourhood centres and sector development work with peak bodies.

Tina's 2012 PhD research was entitled 'An exploration of the relationship between structure and community development practice:  Towards a Theory of Structural Community Development'.

Tina's current research goals include to:

  • theory-build and theory-test conceptual frameworks and practice approaches for ‘structural community development’, that is, community development practice that is making micro-macro connections and working towards effecting structural change
  • investigate, support and theorise citizenship and citizen-led social movements that are working for social justice and human rights
  • investigate and support local / regional community development and social change work 
  • investigate and theorise critical approaches to international students' inclusion, well-being and education

Professional memberships

  • Member, Australian Association of Social Work
  • Director, Community Praxis Co-operative
  • Member, International Association for Community Development (IACD)
  • Volunteer Liaison and Member, Community Development Queensland (CD Qld)
  • Board Member, Nambour Community Centre
  • Member, Borderlands Cooperative, Melbourne


  • 2016 National Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning:  For an inspiring community-development approach to education, taught with a passion for social justice that enables social work students to become agents of change
  • USC Advance Award for Learning and Teaching:  Advancing Quality Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2015 (with Cary Shaw)

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • Community Development within a Critical Paradigm
  • Developmental Approaches and Social Movements
  • Structure/Agency Debates 
  • Critical Social Policy Analysis in Social Work and the Human Services
  • Action Learning and Participatory Research Methodologies

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