Dr Jen Couch
BA (Asia Pacific Community Development, Victoria University), PhD (International Development and Sociology, Victoria University)
I am a senior lecturer in youth work and international development.
I came to ACU in 2005 with a professional background in international community development, youth work and working along marginalised communities particularly in refugee contexts and in South Asia. I am passionate about social resilience and how to strengthen and rebuild this following experiences of community upheaval, violence, and trauma.
My experience as a qualitative researcher and practitioner offers me a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and practical challenges facing vulnerable and marginalised communities.
I have published widely in the area of young people, communities and marginalisation and I am particularly interested in working in hopeful and positive ways to change social inequalities and exclusion. I have recently completed the first longitudinal ethnographic study to explore refugee young people and homelessness in Australia.
I have conducted ethnographic and qualitative research in Australia, USA, Mexico, Thailand, India and Tibet. I am experienced in a range of empirical research methods including in-depth interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, photography and ethnography and have used these in a range of fieldwork situations from global justice activism in India, USA, Australia and Mexico, working children's movements in India and Indigenous communities in the Northern Philippines. My current research is focused on the role of young people in international development discourse, youth work in conflict zones and decolonising youth work practice.
I am an accredited supervisor for Honours, MPhil and PhD students. I have supervised postgraduate students working on an array of projects that focus on marginalised communities often with the aim of readdressing social injustices.
I am a mixed methods researcher who uses participatory qualtitative methods and is skilled in ethnographic and longitudinal research methodolgy,
I have recently completed the first longitunidal ethnographic study into refugee youth homelessness.
Competitive Research Grants / Awards (since 2002)
2010 - Australian Learning and Teaching Council Grant. (In partnership with Edith Cowan University RMIT and Victoria University)  Project: Australian Youth Work Education: Curriculum Renewal and a Model for Sustainability for Niche Professions. ($192,000).
2010 &ndash Faculty Research Grant, Australian Catholic University. Project: What makes a welcome? Exploring a model of resettlement: The Karen community in Bendigo. ($6,900)
2010 &ndash Faculty Pilot Linkage Grant, Australian Catholic University. Project: A New Way Home: An exploration of homelessness amongst young people of refugee background. In Partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth ($8600)
Post Graduate Supervision
I currently work with a number of NGOs in order to inform my teaching and research. In my work with Three for all Foundation,http://www.threeforallfoundation.org  I work in partnership with students and graduates in order to build a partnership and raise funds for a project in a refugee camp in Malawi. Our project is building programs that address sexual gender based violence with young people.
I also work with the 'Illi' Foundation in the Benguet region, Northern Phillipines https://cultivateinternational.org/ili_philippines. Again working with students and graduates we are exploring the possibilities of social enterprises for young mothers.
I am also on the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Adult learning:
I currently teach in the following areas:
Knowing young people (sociology of youth)
International Development and Advocacy
Refugees and Forced Migration
Preperation for international education experience.
I am the recipient of a Faculty excellence in teaching award and ACU teaching citation.
Page last updated: 2018-01-22
Short url: https://www.acu.edu.au/1273347