Dr Athena Lathouras | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Dr Athena Lathouras

PhD Qld., GradCertSocWk&SocPol Qld., BSocWk(Hons) Qld.

  • Senior Lecturer, Social Work
+61 7 5456 5941
Office location
Sunshine Coast

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 community development approaches to education which support students’ “transformative agency”.

You can also visit Tina at:

Professional memberships

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


  • 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
  • 2015 USC Advance Award for Learning and Teaching:  Advancing Quality Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast (with Cary Shaw)

Current PhD students

  • Jennie Haarsager-Lieske - Inclusive Policy in practice: HIV Prevention Community Planning in the US.
  • Pornsiri Cheevapattananuwong - A Positive Transition for local people in an Area of Rapid Economic Development: A Case Study of the Ban Pho and Bangkhla Districts,

    Chachoengsao Province, Thailand

Completed Higher Degree by Research Supervision

  • Dr Nnenna Ike – Thesis topic: University student accommodation in Australia

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

Research grants

Grant / Project name


Funding body and A$ value


Focus (of research grant)

Enhancing the goals of Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania and Queensland Water and Land Carers through “Popular Education” Participatory Action Research

Tina Lathouras (USC)

Peter Westoby (QUT)

USC Industry Connect Scheme


To build a long-term partnership and enhance the goals of two state-wide peak bodies, both of whom work to create sustainable and socially just outcomes for communities.

Reimagining and Radicalising Community Development Through Popular Education

Tina Lathouras

Peter Westoby (UQ)

Lynda Shevellar (UQ)

USC Collaboration Grant


Participatory action-research to investigate ideas and practices of popular education to support emancipatory initiatives.

Meeting the Challenge of the Changing Community Service Sector - Action-Research with the Sunshine Coast Coalition of Community Boards (CoCB)

Tina Lathouras

Queensland Community Foundation


Participatory action-research to investigate unfolding sectoral processes and support the CoCB’s efforts of critical analysis and increase their impact in social policy advocacy and development activity.

Enhancing Students’ Learning and Engagement Through the use of a Critical Pedagogical Curriculum Intervention in the Social Work Program


Tina Lathouras

USC Learning and Teaching Exploratory Grant Scheme


Participatory action-research to explore how community development and critical pedagogy enhances both international and domestic students’ deep learning and retention.

Research areas

  • structural community development
  • popular education and social change
  • citizenship and social movements
  • international students' experience
  • students' 'transformative agency'
  • frameworking for development practice
  • action learning and participatory research methodologies

Teaching areas

  • Community Development and Social Action
  • Critical Social Policy Analysis

Dr Athena 'Tina' Lathouras's specialist areas of knowledge include Community Development and Social Change, Structural Community Development, Micro/Macro Social Change, Frameworking for Development Practice, Critical Social Policy Analysis, International Students, Critical Pedagogy, Action Learning and Participatory Research Methodologies

More UniSC experts...