Siobhan Hardiman – Family Violence and Social Work Practice

Siobhan Hardiman is a passionate social worker with 15 years’ experience working with children, young people and families dealing with family violence, sexual assault and mental health issues. She joined Monash University’s Department of Social Work in 2019, shortly after completing the Master in Social Work (MSW) herself. She has coordinated four units all with consistently outstanding results, including ‘Family Violence and Social Work Practice’ which has been recognised as one of the top units across the whole of Monash University. She also wrote the City of  Monash Young Women's Leadership Program, which is now being replicated across other Victorian councils.

It is true that many students feel called to social work as a career due to their own experiences of hardship. The MSW has a significant cohort of online students who juggle full time work and family responsibilities with their studies, including many international students with their own unique challenges. To accommodate their diverse lifestyles and learning styles, and to keep her students motivated, Ms Hardiman uses shorter lecture videos, with closed captions and the option of slowing recordings down to a speed which is easier to process, guest speakers and experts in specific fields who also participate in ‘Question and Answer’ sessions, interactive polls, and blends of large and small group discussions within tutorials to support students’ confidence in expressing their opinions in group settings. And for students who can’t attend set class times, she provides after-hours, voluntary classes which she also records and uploads for all of her students to access.

Ms Hardiman willingly shares her knowledge and skills with colleagues, creating resources to support teaching and assessment practices, which enables other staff to further enhance their own approaches to teaching and learning. Her teaching style is both contemporary and shaped by the knowledge needs of her soon-to-be-graduates. She draws upon her own skills and expertise, sharing both her own experiences and current affairs to connect theoretical discussions in the classroom to real world examples. At the same time, though, her naturally empathetic nature ensures she always warns students when any content may cause distress, and offers synopses for any non-essential content as an alternative.

Siobhan Hardiman’s overall goal in working with MSW students is to foster their professionalism and independence, and she always refers to them as colleagues and professionals. Students regularly report that she’s had a significant impact on their skill and learning development, and that they feel confident working across diverse communities after learning with her.

Likewise, her Head of Department, Professor Aron Shlonsky, is full of praise for her, sharing that she is “one of the finest instructors we have in social work at Monash and I would rate her among the highest I’ve seen in my career. If my children were planning to become social workers, I would do everything I could to have them take one of her classes… She is able to engage students in some of the most complex and challenging material we face in society – domestic violence and what to do about it… She helps them think, which is a lifelong skill and is truly what education is all about.”

Siobhan Hardiman was honored with a 2022 Dean's Award for Excellence in Education - Teaching excellence.

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with more than 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its foundation, it has developed a reputation for world-leading high-impact research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of the most internationalised Australian universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical faculty in Australia and integration with leading Australian teaching hospitals, we consistently rank in the top 50 universities worldwide for clinical, pre-clinical and health sciences.

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