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Jose van den Akker

PhD, MEdSt, AdvDipTransArtTher
Academic Casual - Research
School of Education and the Arts
LEAP Centre (Learning, Equity, Access and Participation)
Rockhampton North - 33, 2.23
About Me

Dr José van den Akker works as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Research Centre for Learning, Equity, Access And Participation (LEAP) at CQUniversity. José completed her PhD (Exploring and Working with the Dynamics in Cross Cultural Education) in 2009. At present she seeks to explore how the use of national and transnational social networks and social media helps younger older Dutch migrants, who live in Western Australia and Queensland, to improve their social wellbeing and resilience.


José was born and raised in the Netherlands, and developed deep interest and expertise in arts-based and experiential learning, organisational learning, cross-cultural education viewed from an organisational perspective, and community services development. She has over 20 years of experience facilitating – mostly disadvantaged - individuals and groups of people in their personal and professional development. She has taught and worked with, for example, people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, migrants with non-English speaking backgrounds, prisoners, youth at risk, long term unemployed people, homeless people and groups of women.

Her lifelong interest in working with Indigenous Australians has led her to teach Aboriginal primary school students in Yuendumu (NT), commence a PhD in cross-cultural education, and lecture and tutor at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University for many years.

Whilst doing her PhD study, José was involved in two Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research projects that respectively focused on migrant teachers in Australian schools and on female secondary students studying IT-related subjects. Since graduating for her PhD in 2009, whilst lecturing at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University, José initiated and developed five research projects in partnership with other researchers. Most of these projects focused on people’s health and wellbeing in education and community contexts.

During the whole of 2014, she worked full time for the University of Western Australia, on an evaluation project for the Western Australian Disability Services Commission, examining the system wide application of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) with a system reform (change management) agenda that provides optimal conditions to support this implementation in the Western Australian Disability Sector.

In 2016 she worked full time for Murdoch University to conduct and report on an evaluation study for a Perth based community agency that offered programs for homeless people with complex needs. She focused on the person-centred approach, interagency partnership dynamics and development, issues related to the NDIS, and the effectiveness of service delivery from clients’ perspectives.

Universities Studied At

2013-2014     Advanced Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy, IKON Institute, Perth, Australia.

2004-2009     PhD (Distinction). Research project: Understanding and Working with Dynamics in Cross-Cultural Education: University of Western Sydney                     (UWS), Penrith South, NSW, Australia

2003             PhD/DBA (foundation year): University of Humanistics (UvH), Utrecht, Netherlands

1994-1997     MEdSt (research-focused). Project: Education: The Educare/Educere Paradigm, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia

1993             Cert English as a Second Language (ESL): Royal Society of the Arts, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia

1988-1991     Cert Painting and Cert. Drawing: Hobart Technical College, Australia

1982-1986     First grade teacher training: Academie Voor Expressie & Communicatie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands

1981-1982     Social Worker training: Sociale Academie, Den Bosch, Netherlands

1978-1980     Primary school teacher training: Pedagogische Academie, Veghel, Netherlands

Universities Worked At

  • 2017                 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Learning, Equity, Access and Participation (LEAP) Research Centre, CQUniversity, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia

    2017                 University Associate/ researcher (casual), School of Humanities (Built Environment), Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Projects: 1/ LakhnuSustainable Rural Development Project in India; 2/ Exploring Indigenous Employment Opportunities in Wakathanu, Pilbara region, Western Australia.

                            2015-2017         Tutor (Indigenous Tertiary Assistance Scheme or ITAS) (casual), Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin

                             University, Perth, Australia

    2016                 Program Evaluation Researcher, Murdoch University, School of Arts, Perth, Australia. Project: Evaluating a

                            Program for Homeless People in Perth.

    2015                 Tutor, IKON Institute, Graduate Diploma Arts Psychotherapy, Perth, Western Australia.

    2014                 Program Evaluation Researcher (Research Associate), University of Western Australia, Business School, Perth, Australia. Project: Exploring the roll-out of the Disability Services Positive Behavior Support program in Western Australia.

                            2013                 Research Associate (casual), Anthropology and Sociology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western

                            Australia. Project: The Australian National Curriculum, and how racial, ethnic, national and religious identities are constructed.

                            2013                 Researcher, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Project:

                            Expanding the Academic Mentoring Program

                            2013-2016         PhD supervisor, School of Built Environment, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

    2010-2013         Lecturer/Researcher, Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Core subjects taught: Evaluation Research; Academic Communication

                            2010                 Online Professional Experience Facilitator/ Marker: School of Education, University of Southern

                            Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia

                            2005-2006         Research-assistant for Ass. Prof. Carol Reid, University of Western Sydney, Australia

    (re 2 ARC funded projects: From high school to higher education:Gendered pathways in information, communication and computer technology education and Global Teachers, an Australian Perspective: Goodbye Mr. Chips, Hello Ms. Banerjee’)



2013 Excellence & Innovation in Teaching Program Award, Curtin University Health Sciences

Previous teaching

Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University.

Subjects: Evaluation Research, Academic Communication 

Professional Experience

  2015         Academic/ Capacity Development Facilitator, Curtin University Business School and Health Faculty, Perth, Australia. Project: Clinical Field                     Placements Expansion in Regional and Rural Western Australia.

2003         School-guidance officer: Maximum Security Penitentiary, Vught, Netherlands

2002-2003 Employment consultant/trainer: Diamant-Group, Tilburg, Netherlands

2001         Teacher: Special Highschool De Korenaer, Eindhoven, Netherlands

2000         Teacher: Grade 7, Yuendumu, (Aboriginal community in the desert), Northern Territory, Australia

1999         Consultant 'Newcomers' (new immigrants to Holland): Dept. Of Social Services, Local Council of Veghel, Netherlands

1998         Teacher personal effectiveness/ projectleader jobmarket-orientation: Laborel Oss, Netherlands

1997         Teacher personal effectiveness & vocational education (for young people-at-risk): Bridging Education & Training, Melbourne, Australia

1996         Lifestyle-management consultant: private practice, Gold Coast, Australia

1995         Teacher personal effectiveness and job-orientation (for unemployed people): Gold Coast College of Business, Australia

1994         Case-manager: Strive Employment, Gold Coast, Australia

1992-1993 Case-manager/ jobcoach (for people with intellectual disability): Jobmatch, Hobart, Australia

1990-1992 Teacher/ coordinator (for young people-at-risk): GO-Life Skills Program, Hobart, Australia

1989-1992 Teacher personal effectiveness, communication and the arts: Schools for Welfare Studies, Child Care Studies, and Womens Studies: Devonport and                 Hobart Technical Colleges, Australia


2015                 Reviewer for AshEse Journal of Business Management.

2015                 Reviewer for Equality, diversity and inclusion: An international journal.

2012-2014         Guest-Editor, Special Issue for the International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong

Learning (IJCEELL)

2013                 Associate Editor for the International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC)  
2012                 Associate Editor for The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

2011                 Associate Editor, Volume 9, Issue 5, The International Journal of the Humanities.

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • Zoology
  • Education Systems
  • Sociology

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Checking For Students Supervised
Research Interests

Other Education - Education not elsewhere classified


Specialist Studies in Education - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education

Languages, Communication And Culture

Communication and Media Studies - Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication

Languages, Communication And Culture

Cultural Studies - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies

Languages, Communication And Culture

Cultural Studies - Globalisation and Culture

Languages, Communication And Culture

Cultural Studies - Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies

Studies In Creative Arts And Writing

Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing - Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified
art therapy

Studies In Human Society

Sociology - Race and Ethnic Relations

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