Senior Lecturer in Social Work
I am a registered social worker with Social Work England (SW SW62215) and have extensive social work experience, mainly in children's services. I joined the University of Sunderland in September 2020.
I qualified as a social worker in 1985 and initially worked in adult care (hospital setting) for Manchester City Council. In 1988, I moved to a children's (adolescent) team, working in child protection and youth justice. Between 1990-1992, I worked for Cornwall County Council in children's safeguarding teams, where I first became a practice educator offering social work student placements. In 1992, I moved to NSPCC Lincolnshire in a team providing complex assessment and therapeutic work. NSPCC Lincolnshire also provided work for children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours and between 2002 and 2004, I was seconded to the post of Lincolnshire Co-ordinator for Children and Young People with Harmful Sexual Behaviours. This post focused on supporting multi-agency staff to assess and support children/young people. My MA dissertation (2000) examined factors that promoted or blocked staff to work with children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours.
In 2004, I moved to a training and development post with Lincolnshire County Council and was a training officer for children's services. In 2006, I became a senior lecturer in social work at the University of Lincoln and worked there until 2016 when I moved to take up a senior lecturer post in social work at Teesside University. From 2018-2020, I was social work placements co-ordinator at Teesside University, working with partner agencies to provide high quality social work placements. While at Teesside, I developed a social work undergraduate buddying scheme. This was a co-produced project with undergraduate students based on a theoretical basis of Student as Producer and Communities of Practice. In 2019/20, I successfully obtained internal funding for a student as researcher project and worked with 4 undergraduate social work students to evaluate the buddying scheme.
Teaching and supervision
I teach theories and models of social work practice and children's law on MA Social Work. I also teach The Social Work Process module on the Social Work apprenticeship. I'm also involved in supervising BA Social Work dissertations and I'm a member of two PhD supervision teams.
Research interests for potential research students
My research interests are broad and varied. My early projects and outputs were concerned mainly with co-construction of knowledge and research with students (e.g. evaluating the social work degree; students as mentors; developing a conceptual model for co-production). I have a number of outputs and conference presentations on collaborating with student researchers. Additionally, I have written about, been involved with projects and undertaken conference presentations on pedagogical practice (e.g. creating open educational resources, developing an e portfolio). I have also undertaken research about social work placements leading to co-authored journal articles and a book. In 2011, I was involved in a scoping study funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to examine the concept of communities for looked after children.
My doctoral thesis “Being and Becoming a Social Work Academic: Negotiating Transitions and Identities” examined the experiences of social work practitioners who become social work academics, exploring transition experiences and the plurality of academic identities. My thesis used a Foucauldian theoretical framework, drawing upon and merging, the concepts of disciplinary power, technologies of self, subject positions and discourses. My thesis supports, extends and challenges Foucault’s work and I have a forthcoming journal article on the carcerality of social work education. I have presented papers on my doctoral work at the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) annual conference (2014 and 2015).
In 2018-19, I was involved in a project with Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch funded by Public Health England to evaluate the impact of the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health and obtained honorary researcher status with Public Health England. While at Teesside University, I developed a social work buddying scheme which was co-produced with students and has expanded to include newly qualified social workers in the Tees Valley as mentors for final year students. In 2019/20, I obtained and led a student as researcher project which investigated the undergraduate social work buddying scheme at Teesside University.
Recently, I have been involved in another collaborative project with Professor Newbury-Birch and colleagues from Teesside University which is funded by NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). This project examines how to develop a memorandum of understanding into a research system between public health and universities in the Tees Valley region.
From April 2021 to September 2022, I am joint Principal Investigator (with Professor Newbury-Birch, Teesside University) on a NIHR-ARC funded project: Developing policy and practice guidelines for working with young people aged 18 and under in relation to self-harm, suicide attempts and deaths by suicide.
I am currently Principal Investigator on a community funded project working with other members of the social work team (Dr Louise Harvey-Golding, Carrie Phillips and Julie Smiles) to explore the experiences of Eastern European women in the North East.
Simpson, Diane and Amsler, Sarah (2020) The carceral existence of social work academics: a Foucauldian analysis of social work education in English universities. Foucault Studies, 1 (28). pp. 36-70. ISSN 1832-5203
Matthews, I, Griffiths, A, Hunt, R, McIntyre, K and Simpson, Diane (2018) 'I hope to find myself’. Social work students’ initial encounter with practice explored in the context of professional identity. Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 15 (1). pp. 24-38.
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian and Crawford, Karin (2014) Finding the Perfect Match: Pre-placement Meetings in Social Work Practice. Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 12 (3). pp. 44-31.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2013) Change, challenge and choice: being a student mentor. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 2 (2). 137 - 148. ISSN 2046-6854
Jones, Rebecca, Race, Leanne, Sawyer, Chelsea, Slater, Eleanor, Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian and Crawford, Karin (2012) Being a Student as Producer: Reflections on Students Co-Researching with Academic Staff. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 4 (3). ISSN 1756-848X
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Croft, Adrian, McKinna, Gillian and Lee, Mary (2010) Student Views on Good Practice in Social Work Education. Social Work Education, 29 (7). pp. 729-743. ISSN 0261-5479
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Croft, Adrian, McKinna, Gillian and Lee, Mary (2009) Unsung heroes – who supports social work students on placement? Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 9 (2). 57 - 71. ISSN 1759-5150
Hicks, Leslie, Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Koorts, Harriet and Cooper, Kevin (2011) Communities in care: a scoping review to establish the relationship of community to the lives of looked after children and young people. Project Report. University of Lincoln.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2011) Students as Mentors: Changing the Next Generation. Documentation. University of Lincoln.
Conference or Workshop Item
Simpson, Diane (2019) A university student social worker buddying scheme: the individual, the community and the developing profession(al). In: Social work communities: the people and the profession, 26 Sep 2019, Newcastle, UK.
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Hunt, Rachael and Saunders, Heather (2016) From potential to reality: the development and use of an eportfolio in social work learning and assessment. In: International Practice Teaching and Field Education conference 2016, 4-6 Apr 2016, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Mathews, Ian, Beeken, Andrew, Simpson, Diane, Saunders, Heather and Hunt, Rachael (2015) From potential to reality: the development and use of an e-portfolio in social work education. In: Society for Research into Higher Education, 9-11 Dec 2015, Newport, UK.
Simpson, Diane (2015) Social work academics’ subject positions: convergence and divergence. In: Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), 9-11 Dec 2015, Newport, UK.
Mathews, Ian, Beeken, Andrew, Simpson, Diane, Saunders, Heather and Hunt, Rachael (2015) From potential to reality: the development and use of an e-portfolio in social work education. In: Converging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research:, 9 - 11 Dec 2015, Newport, UK.
Simpson, Diane (2014) Social work education and carcerality. In: Society for Research into Higher Education, 10-12-Dec 2014.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2014) Working towards a connected future: understanding the changing dynamics in the relationships between students and teachers in higher education. In: Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2014, 2-3 Jul 2014, Birmingham, UK.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2013) A model for analysing the challenges and opportunities in co-production. In: Student as Producer Conference, 26-27 Jun 2013, Lincoln, UK.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2012) Higher Education as a Public Good: Pushing Forward, Pushing Boundaries. In: Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference 2012, 12-14 Dec 2012, Newport, UK.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2011) Students as mentors: changing the next generation. In: UNSPECIFIED, 14 Jul 2011, Joint Social Work Education Council (JSWEC) : Social work under pressure: solutions, sustainability and social justice.
Simpson, Diane, Crawford, Karin and Mathews, Ian (2011) Shaping the next generation – the experience of being a student mentor. In: 4th Annual CERD (Centre for Education Research and Development) Conference, 3 Jun 2011.
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Croft, Adrian and McKinna, Gillian (2010) The teaching of social work in times of change. In: Social Policy Association conference 2010, 5-7 Jul 2010.
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian, Croft, Adrian, McKinna, Gillian and Lee, Mary (2009) Partnership in practice; students and staff in research. In: Joint Social Work Education Conference 2009, 8-10 Jul 2009.
Simpson, Diane, Mathews, Ian and Crawford, Karin (2013) Your Social Work Practice Placement: from Start to Finish. SAGE Publications Ltd, United Kingdom. ISBN 9781849201780
Simpson, Diane, Fletcher, Steven, Kelly, Marie, Mendum, Ian, Pearson, Bethany and Lockwood, Amy (2020) Buddy Up! [Project]. UNSPECIFIED.
Simpson, Diane and Newbury-Birch, Dorothy (2019) Measuring the positive effects/impact of the prevention concordat for better mental health [Project]. UNSPECIFIED.
Simpson, Diane, Hicks, Leslie, Mathews, Ian, Crawford, Karin, Koorts, Harriet and Cooper, Kevin (2011) A scoping review to establish the relationship of community to the lives of looked after children and young people [Project]. UNSPECIFIED.
- Social work
- Child care social work
- Academic identities
- Social work practice placements
- Undergraduate mentoring
- Teaching and learning
- Co production
- Foucauldian theory