BA BSW MA PhD
Professional BiographyDr Donna McDonald is Senior Research Fellow and Convenor of Disability Studies in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University.
She is currently leading an NDIS Readiness Research Partnership with Endeavour Foundation which aims to get an improved understanding of Endeavour Foundation clients' lived experiences of disability service delivery before and after the implementation of the NDIS.
Donna is a member of the Narrative Research Network and a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Loss and Trauma. Her expertise in narratives with, and about deaf, people has been recognized internationally; she was invited to be a Visiting Scholar at the Rochester National Institute of Technology for the Deaf and is a guest reviewer for the American Annals of the Deaf. Donna's book, The Art of Being Deaf: a memoir, was published by Gallaudet University Press, Washington, in March 2014.
Dr McDonald has extensive policy networks, developed throughout her thirty-year career in public policy as a social worker, policy adviser and writer working at federal, state and local government levels in Australia and England working at Federal, State and Local Government levels as a:
- social worker and national rehabilitation services team leader (during a time of significant national disability legislative and policy reform during the 1980s);
- ministerial advisor in the Queensland Government (again, during a time of significant disability policy and services reform in the early to mid 1990s in Queensland);
- executive strategic policy and research director in the Queensland public sector; and
- strategic policy advisor in the United Kingdom (Kent County Council, 2003-2004).
- PhD (Creative Writing). The University of Queensland. 2011. Dr McDonald’s doctorate project comprised her memoir of deafness, 'The Art of Being Deaf', and a critical essay, 'Hearsay: how stories of deafness and deaf people are told.'
- Master of Arts (Creative Writing). QUT 1998
- Graduate Diploma Communication Practice. QUT 1992
- Bachelor of Social Work. The University of Queensland 1981
- Bachelor of Arts. The University of Queensland 1975
- Australian Association of Social Workers
- Narrative Research Network (GIER)
- Society for Disability Studies
- HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia)
- Australian Society of Authors
Current teaching areas
- Disability Studies
- Policy and Legislation
- Disability rights and history in Australia
- Disability economics
- Disability and social policy
- Cross cultural disability research
- Deafness/ Being deaf (including well being and family relationships)
- Loss and grief
Reports and Grants
- 2012: Invited to be a co-Chief Investigator with Emeritus Professor Merv Hyde and Dr Renee Punch on an ARC Discovery Grant (2013) application: Young people who are deaf or hard of hearing: Transitions to work, education and psychological wellbeing in emerging adulthood. (Application was unsuccessful).
- 2011: Awarded a Griffith Teaching and Learning Grant ($17.7K) to design and implement an ‘Ethical Professional Writing Program’ in the School of Human Services and Social Work.
- 2011: Awarded $1000 research grant from the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith, to complete an article for publication. This article will be published as a book chapter in Complicated Grief, edited by Eric D Miller and to be published by the National Association of Social Workers, USA, in 2012.
McDonald, D. (2013) ‘The Disability Wars: the unwritten history of Australia’ ABC RampUp. 23 October 2013
- McDonald, D. ‘DisabilityCare now a reality but how can we protect its future?’ The Conversation. 20 May 2013
- McDonald, D. ‘We have an NDIS but what does this mean for disability care?’ The Conversation. 28 March 2013
- McDonald, D. ‘NDIS for under 65s: ageism or a battle for priorities?.’ The Conversation. 31 January 2013
- McDonald, D. ‘The hardest choice: families who give up disabled children’ The Conversation. 16 October 2012
- McDonald, D. ‘Child Protection inquiry needs disability focus.’ Griffith Health Check. 35: 2012.11.
- McDonald, Donna. ‘What we talk about when we talk about Aboriginal Australians and Disability’. Griffith Health Check. 34: 2012.10.
- Warren,S.M., McDonald, D., McAuliffe, D. (2015). Homelessness in Queensland mining communities: A down payment on Australia’s wealth or inevitable product of a neo-liberalist society’s response to the cyclical fortunes of mining. Journal of Social Inclusion. Vol 6, No 1.
- McDonald, Donna. 'Memoir as Protest.' Australian Women Writers Challenge. Web. 9 September 2014. http://australianwomenwriters.com/2014/09/09/focus-on-australian-women-writers-with-disability-guest-post-by-donna-mcdonald/
- McDonald, D. (2014) The Art of Being Deaf: a memoir. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press. This extended memoir of Dr McDonald’s deaf life—submitted for her PhD and a rare Australian ‘voice’ in deaf narratives—was commended by American disability & deaf studies scholar, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, as ground-breaking as it is one of the few narratives about the life of an ‘oral-deaf’ person. Dr McDonald was a guest on ABC Radio’s The Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler (August 2007) while researching and writing her memoir.
Scholarly book chapters
McDonald, D. (2014). Practitioner contribution on ethical professional writing for Interprofessional Ethics: Collaboration in the Social, Health and Human Services by Donna McAuliffe.
- McDonald, D. (2012). Stories as Mirrors: Deaf Heroes and Heroines. Book chapter in 'Deaf Epistemologies: Multiple perspectives on the acquisition of knowledge'. Peter V. Paul and Donald F. Moores, Editors. Gallaudet University Press. Dr McDonald was invited to submit this chapter in which she argues the benefits of including narratives with deaf characters in educational curricula as a tool for aiding identity development and promoting social diversity
- McDonald, D. (2009). The Silence of Sounds. Book chapter in Literature and Sensation. Eds. Uhlmann, Anthony, Helen Groth, Paul Sheehan, Stephen McLaren, 173-183. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. In this chapter—published alongside a chapter by Nobel Prize winning author, J.M.Coetzee—Dr McDonald uses examples from literary fiction to show how deafness can be understood as an alternative sensory experience, not merely a lack of hearing.
Refereed Journal articles
- McDonald, D., Boddy, J., O’Callaghan, K., Chester, P. (2015) Ethical Professional Writing in Social Work and Human Services. Ethics and Social Welfare, DOI:10.1080/17496535.2015.1009481
- McDonald, D. (2015) An (un)holy trinity: Chicana/o cultural representations of the politics of disability images: Review of Accessible Citizenships: Disability, Nation, and the Cultural Politics of Greater Mexico by Julie Avril Munch. Review of Disability Studies An International Journal. Volume 11, Issue 2.
- Pooja Sawrikar, Caroline Lenette, Donna McDonald, Jane Fowler (in press) Don’t silence ‘the dinosaurs’: Keeping the caution with distance education in social work programs alive. Journal of Teaching in Social Work
- McDonald, D. (2014) Joining the diaspora of deaf memoirists: a personal account of writing deafness. American Annals of the Deaf. Spring 2014 Reference Edition.
- McDonald, D. (2014) Joining the diaspora of deaf memoirists: a personal account of writing deafness. American Annals of the Deaf. Spring 2014 Reference Edition.
- McDonald, D. (2013) When Time Stops: The Courage for Joy. Book chapter; Complicated Grief, edited by Eric D Miller and to be published by the National Association of Social Workers, USA. Dr McDonald was invited to write this personal account of bereavement which contests emerging perspectives in the psychiatry profession that “complicated grief” is a mental illness.
- McDonald, D. (2010). Not Silent, Invisible: Literature’s Chance Encounters with Deaf Heroes and Heroines. American Annals of the Deaf, 154.5 (Winter 2010): 463-470. Dr McDonald argues for the inclusion of deaf narratives—memoirs and fiction—in educational curricula as a tool for aiding identity development. She was invited to write an extended book chapter based on this essay.
- McDonald, Donna and Elizabeth Ferrier Eds. (2010). M/C Journal-deaf 13.3 http://journal.media-culture.org.au/ Dr McDonald was invited to guest-edit this innovative edition of essays and articles by deaf people who explore and report upon their competing experiences of deafness.
- McDonald, D. and E. Ferrier. (2010). A deaf knowingness. M/C Journal of Media and Culture, 13 3: Online. In their editorial, Drs McDonald and Ferrier raise questions about deaf epistemologies.
- McDonald, D. (2008). Shattering the Hearing Wall. M/C Journal-able. 11. 3 http://journal.media-culture.org.au/ Following this personal account of her attempt to understand the impact of her deafness upon her life, Dr McDonald was invited to guest-edit an innovative edition of essays and articles by deaf people (M/C Journal-deaf 13.3 (2010))
Original Creative Works (Textual work)
- McDonald, D. (2011). The Reluctant Memoirist. Griffith Review. 34. On-line. Dr McDonald was invited to discuss the themes of her essay as a guest panellist in a session “Catharsis: the narrative of trauma” at the Brisbane Writers Festival, September 2011.
- McDonald, D. (2007). I Hear With My Eyes in A Revealed Life. Australian Writers and Their Journeys in Memoir. Ed. Julianne Schulz. Sydney: ABC Books and Griffith Review. This essay about Dr McDonald’s deaf girlhood is one of forty stories selected for this anthology of Australian writing (alongside award winning writers such as David Malouf) from the hundreds published in Griffith Review between its inception in 2003 and 2006.
- McDonald, D. (2006). I Hear With My Eyes. Griffith Review.11 (Autumn 2006) This essay about Dr McDonald’s deaf girlhood was subsequently selected for inclusion in an anthology of memoirs, A Revealed Life. Australian Writers and Their Hourneys in Memoir (2007).
- McDonald, D. (1997). I am a Mother. MotherLove 2. Ed. Debra Adelaide. Sydney: Random House Australia. 173-180. This anthology was in the top ten Random House titles for 1997.
- McDonald, D. (1991) Jack’s Story. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin, An extract from this memoir of a mother’s loss, grief and survival was published in The Australian Women’s Weekly (September 1991).
- McDonald, D. 1998. The Dangerous Duty of Love. Southerly Journal. 58.2: (Winter), 211-216.
- McDonald, D. (1998). Look, She Can Read Lips! Imago. 10.2: (Spring). 57-61
Think-pieces and newspaper articles
- McDonald, D. (2006) A series of five essays for The Brisbane Institute’s on-line journal The Brisbane Line. Topics included ageing, work, hope, and disability.
- McDonald, D. (2005). Girl-in-the-woman-heart: a poem. Mending Matters: an anthology of reflections and flights of fantasy prompted by one hundred years of women’s suffrage. Frontispiece. Ed. Katherine Lyall-Watson. South Brisbane: State Library of Queensland.
- McDonald, D. (2002). This Writing Life: Safe in my nest of green. Australian Weekend Review. The Australian. 2002.
- McDonald, D. (1997). A series of articles for The Courier Mail (Brisbane) including Grace in Love, Outside Looking In, and Love and Solitude.
Commissioned consultancy reports and publications
- 2011: Protecting the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians: A submission to Health Ministers on the national regulation of the Social Work profession. Commissioned by the Australian Association of Social Workers. Co-author: Katy O'Callaghan (Outpost Consulting).
- 2011. ACPET: Delivering on Access and Equity Across Australia. Commissioned and published by ACPET (Australian Council for Private Education and Training). Co-author: Katy O’Callaghan (Outpost Consulting).
- 2010. ACPET: Statement on Social Inclusion and Diversity. Commissioned and published by ACPET (Australian Council for Private Education and Training).
- 2009. The Creativity of Success: disability in the classroom and workplace. A guide for private training organizations. Commissioned and published by ACPET (Australian Council for Private Education and Training). Co-authors: Katy O’Callaghan (Outpost Consulting) and Fiona Place.
- 2008. The Speech Pathology Profession: a national approach for working in the public interest. A submission to the Practitioner Regulation Sub-Committee for inclusion in the national registration and accreditation scheme. Commissioned by Speech Pathology Australia and the Speech Pathologists Board of Queensland. September 2008. Co-authors: Gretchen Young (Young Futures).
- 2008. Towards a National Safe System for Occupational Therapy Practice. A submission to the Australian Health Workforce Principles Committee for inclusion in the national registration and accreditation scheme. Commissioned by the Council of Occupational Therapists Registration Boards and OT Australia.
- 2008. Towards a Safe Medical Radiation Workforce. A submission to the Australian Health Workforce Principles Committee for inclusion in the national registration and accreditation scheme. Commissioned by the National Steering Committee for Medical Radiation Practitioners.
- 2008. In Sickness and in Health: addressing the health care needs of adults with a decision-making disability. Commissioned and published by the Office of the Public Advocate, Queensland. Co-author: Katy O’Callaghan (Outpost Consulting).
- 2007. Public Justice, Private Lives: A Companion to the Confidentiality Report. (MP No 42 August 2007). Commissioned and published by the Queensland Law Reform Commission. Co-author: Katy O’Callaghan (Outpost Consulting)
- 2006. Safe and healthy medical practitioner work practices for quality patient care. Commissioned and published by the Medical Board of Queensland.
- 2006.Public Justice, Private Lives: A Companion Paper. (WP No 61 July 2006). Commissioned and published by the Queensland Law Reform Commission.
- 2006. Our Shared Vision: Living in Brisbane 2026. Commissioned and published by the Brisbane City Council. Co-partner: Jennifer Bartlett.
- 2005. Dimensions: a research framework for productive ageing. Commissioned and published by National Seniors, Productive Ageing Centre.
- 2005. Smart Queensland: Smart State Strategy 2005-2015. Commissioned and published by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government. Co-authored with the Smart State Strategy Team. (Nominated for an award in the category of Leadership and Collaboration in the 2005 Department of Premier and Cabinet Achievements Award program).
Conference Symposiums and Seminars
McDonald, D. (20 April 2015). User-direction: what do new service-users think? Griffith NDIS Symposium. Brisbane.
McDonald,D., Boddy, J. (12 July 2014). Reflect and Connect: Ethical Professional Writing for Social Workers (presented by J. Boddy) Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development, Melbourne, Australia.
McDonald, D. (3 May 2014). Employees’ experiences of working life, barriers experienced, accommodation success stories and stories of the support of employers and colleagues. Panel Member. XXXII World Congress of Audiology/ 8th National Deafness Sector Summit. Brisbane
McDonald, D. (24-25th March 2014). What do consumers need to know about the NDIS to ensure its success? Panel member. Queensland Disability Conference, Brisbane.
McDonald, D. (17-18 March 2014). The Challenges of Effectively Setting, Measuring and Evaluating Outcomes. (Invited).5th Annual National Disability Summit, Melbourne
McDonald, D. (3 Feb 2014).The potential power in having a partnership of economists and advocates. Griffith NDIS Symposium. Brisbane
McDonald, D. (31 Oct 2013). Bolstering the Advocate's Authority: the case for understanding the economics of disability rights. (Invited). 5th DANA National Disability Advocacy Conference. Brisbane
- McDonald, D. (2013) 'Pathways Resilience Authenticity'. Keynote address at All Hallows Girls School, Brisbane. Careers Day. 17 September 2013.
- McDonald, D. (2013) 'Shadowlands: the implications of writing a memoir of deafness on identity' ANZCED 2013 (The National Association of Australian Teacher of the Deaf). Brisbane, Australia. 6 July 2013.
- McDonald, D. (2013) 'Shadowlands: the implications of writing a disability memoir on identity' Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. Honolulu, Hawaii. 29 April 2013.
- McDonald, D. & Ling, H.K. (2013) 'Cross cultural learning: An Australian-Malaysian partnership in disability research'. Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. Honolulu Hawaii. 29 April 2013.
- McDonald, D. (2012). Invited as the Keynote speaker at a one day symposium on disability studies hosted by Associate Professor How Kee Ling, Director for the Centre of Excellence in Disability Studies, UNIMAS (University Malaysia). I delivered three presentations: disability studiees in Australia; ethics of inclusion practice; disability rights in Australia. 7 November 2012.
- McDonald, D. (2012). 'Reframe: Animals and Difference'. Chaired a panel discussion on art as a vehicle for udnerstnading diversity, public health and social inclusion. University of Queensland Art Museum. University of Queensland, Australia. Diversity Week. 25 May 2012. Podcast available at http://www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au/animal-human
- McDonald, D. (2012). 'Reflect and Connect: ethics of inclusive professional practice'. School of English, Media Studies and Art History. University of Queensland, Australia. Diversity Week. 25 May 2012.
- McDonald, D. (2012). 'Leadership through inclusion'. Charltown Brown and ALA Fellows. 25 March 2012.
- McDonald, D. 'Trauma and Catharsis in Narrative'. Guest panelist, Brisbane Writers Festival. 11 September 2011.
- McDonald, D. & O'Callaghan, k. (2011). 'Perspectives, Mindsets, Practices: social inclusions in VET'
- TDC Conference. Melbourne, Victoria. 1 September 2011.
- McDonald, D. & O'Callaghan, k. (2011). 'Perspectives, Mindsets, Practices: social inclusions in VET'. ACPET NT Conference. Darwin, Australia. June 2011.
- McDonald, D. & O'Callaghan, k. (2011). 'Perspectives, Mindsets, Practices: social inclusions in VET'. VET Teaching Conference. Brisbane Australia. 25 May 2011.
- McDonald, D. & Lenette, C. (2011). 'Social Inclusion in the Classroom and the Workplace'. ACPET Workshop (via video-conference). Adelaide, South Australia. 6 May 2011.
PhD Presentations (2007-2011)
- ‘Hearsay: How Stories of Deafness and Deaf People are Told.’ University of the Third Age. Griffith University (Gold Coast). 1 April 2011.
- ‘Hearsay: How Stories of Deafness and Deaf People are Told.’ Rhizomes VI: Other words, other worlds Conference. The University of Queensland. 11 February 2011.
- ‘Deaf Heroes and Heroines: Not toeing the hearing line.’ NeMLA 40th Anniversary Convention, Boston. 27 February 2009.
- ‘With Deaf Heroes and Heroines.’ Brown Bag Research Seminar Series at Rochester National Institute for the Deaf (RNITD), Rochester, USA. 23 February 2009. Following this presentation, Dr McDonald was invited to serve as a Visiting Scholar to the Rochester National Institute for the Deaf: she hopes to take up this invitation at a suitable time.
- ‘Crossing the Hearing Line.’ 12th Annual WIP (Work-in-Progress) Conference: Border States-mental, political and textual landscapes. The University of Queensland. 9 August 2008.
- ‘Hearsay: How Stories of Deafness and Deaf People are Told.’ EMSAH Research Seminar Series, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland. 4 April 2008.
- ‘The Art of Being Deaf.’ Victorian Council of the Deaf 3rd State Conference: The Changing Face of the Deaf Community. 18 November 2007.
- 'The Art of Stories to Create Change.’ 11th Annual WIP (Work-in-Progress) Interdisciplinary Conference: Climate Change. 27 September 2007.
- ‘The Art of Being Deaf: representations of silence in fiction.’ Literature and Sensation Conference. The first annual conference of the Australasian Association for Literature (AAL). University of Western Sydney. July 12-13, 2007. Dr McDonald’s paper was published as ‘The Silence of Sounds’, a book chapter in Literature and Sensation. (2009). Eds. Uhlmann, Anthony, Helen Groth, Paul Sheehan, Stephen McLaren, 173-183. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.