Doctor Nicole Peel

Doctor Nicole Peel

Academic Program Advisor - Undergraduate Health Sciences,
Undergraduate Health Science

Lecturer - Therapeutic Recreation,
Undergraduate Health Science


Nicole Peel is a Lecturer in Recreational Therapy in the School of Health Sciences at Western Sydney University. Nicole holds a PhD from Western Sydney University and has completed a B. Leisure Studies, M. Health Science and an M. Business Administration. Nicole is an established practitioner, and health educator with over 30 years of experience in working with people with an intellectual disability, people with a physical disability, older people, children and adolescents and marginalised individuals. Foremost she is a scientist with a curiosity to look for innovation and cracks for change.

Her research focuses on the use of therapy for health outcomes with disadvantaged groups to assist in progressing their lives within complex and complicated support systems. Nicole has been involved in projects funded to work in partnership with other Universities, Government and Non-Government Organisations.  Nicole's PhD thesis utilised case studies and explanation building to understand leisure and opportunities for young people in Out-of-Home Care for independent living.

Nicole is a registered HDR supervisor and welcomes inquiries from potential honours, masters and PhD students. 

Nicole is actively engaged in the community with professionals, non-government organisations and private providers across NSW Area Health, disability services, children services and aged care providers. Nicole holds the following positions:

  • Chair of Western Sydney University Children in Out-of-Home care Steering Committee
  • Member, World Leisure Association Access and Inclusion Committee
  • Australian representative on the International Therapeutic Recreation Coalition
  • Board Member, Myrtle Cottage (not for profit service provider to the elderly and marginalised individuals)
  • Executive Board Member, Cycling Without Age


This information has been contributed by Doctor Peel.


  • C4TA Competency Training Institute of Australia
  • GradCertResSt University of Western Sydney
  • MBA University of Western Sydney
  • Master of Health Science University of Sydney
  • Blest University of New South Wales

Professional Memberships

  • World Leisure Organisation (2015)
  • Australian Bush Therapy Association (2019)
  • The Australian Sociolological Association (2019)
  • ANZALS (2015)


  • WSU Vice-Chancellor Award for Excellence in University Engagement and Sustainability 2017-12-12
  • School of Health Science Teaching Excellence Award 2020-12-01
  • School of Health Science Engagement Excellence Award 2020-12-01

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Undergraduate Health Science
  • Undergraduate Health Science


Phone: (02) 4620 3232
Location: 24.2.10

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 400252 Workplace Learning 2 (Community Placement), 2019
  • 400254 Therapeutic Recreation Professional Project, 2018
  • 400786 Professional Transition Project, 2018
  • 400789 Leisure Education Programming and Mental Health, 2019
  • 400790 Professional Practice in Aged Care and Disability, 2018


Chapters in Books

  • O'Shea, M., Maxwell, H., Duffy, S. and Peel, N. (2020), 'One step forward and two steps back? : pandemic effects and women's sport in Australia', Impacts and Implications for the Sports Industry in the Post-COVID-19 Era, IGI Global 9781799867807.
  • Peel, N. (2015), 'Robotics programming kids for leisure', Innovative Leisure Practices: Cases as Conduits Between Theory and Practice, World Leisure Center of Excellence 9781928172031.

Journal Articles

  • Peel, N., Maxwell, H. and McGrath, R. (2021), 'Leisure and health: conjoined and contested concepts', Annals of Leisure Research, vol 24, no 3 , pp 295 - 309.
  • Young, J., Maxwell, H. and Peel, N. (2021), 'Leisure meets health : important intersections and alternative discourses', Annals of Leisure, vol 24, no 3 , pp 275 - 282.
  • Young, J., Maxwell, H. and Peel, N. (2020), '[In Press] Book review : Leisure, health and well-being: a holistic approach', Annals of Leisure Research, .
  • Peel, N. and Robinson, D. (2019), 'Therapeutic recreation in Australia', Therapeutic Recreation Journal, vol 53, no 3 , pp 264 - 267.
  • Tower, J., McGrath, R., Sibson, R., Adair, D., Bevan, N., Brown, G., Foley, G., Fullagar, S., Gray, L., Hawkins, C., Jeanes, R., Kerr, R., Martin, K., Maxwell, H., McDonald, K., Peel, N., Reis, A., Xing, T., Yerbury, R. and Zimmerman, J. (2018), 'State of leisure studies in Australia and New Zealand', World Leisure Journal, vol 60, no 1 , pp 58 - 66.
  • Peel, N. (2016), 'Navigating opportunities for young people in care', Developing Practice, vol 46 , pp 20 - 28.
  • Peel, N. and Beckley, A. (2015), 'Children in out of home care : should we give them a fair go?', Children Australia, vol 40, no Special Issue 4 , pp 372 - 378.

Conference Papers

  • Tang, C., Thyer, E., Bye, R., Tannous, C., Kenny, B., Penkala, S., Tulliani, N., Peel, N., Sun, Y., Zhu, X., Dark, L. and Gordon, R. (2021), 'The impact of COVID online learning on first year clinical health students' sense of belonging : student and academic perspectives', Students Transitions Achievement Retention and Success Conference, online.
  • Grashorn, J., Peel, N. and Alford, S. (2021), 'Recreation therapy in the time of Covid-19, a multi-faceted rapid knowledge synthesis on the implications and opportunities of telehealth for recreation therapy practice', Diversional and Recreation Therapy Australia. Conference, online.
  • O'Shea , M., Maxwell, H. and Peel, N. (2020), '"Women in Sport Roadshow" : exploring partnership approaches to creating sport opportunities for girls and emerging women', Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand. Conference, online.
  • Truong, S. and Peel, N. (2019), 'Australian professional identity in therapeutic recreation : exploring perspectives from the field', Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association. Annual Conference, Quebec, Canada.
  • McGrath, R., Maxwell, H. and Peel, N. (2019), 'Unravelling linkages between leisure and health discourses', Leisure Studies Association. Annual Conference, Dundee, Scotland.
  • Peel, N. (2019), 'Leisure education within a health framework', Australia and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies. Conference, Queenstown, N.Z..
  • Peel, N. (2019), 'Young people in foster care and their leisure : tools for living independently', Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies. Conference, Queenstown, N.Z..
  • Zimmerman, J., Peel, N. and Thomas, K. (2018), 'Study abroad partnerships : costs and benefits for host universities', World Leisure Congress, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Peel, N. and Maxwell, H. (2017), 'Leisure "either biomedical or salutogenic"', Australia and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies. Conference, Hobart, Tas..
  • Peel, N. (2017), 'Navigating to greater opportunity', Australia and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies. Conference, Hobart, Tas..
  • Beckley, A., Peel, N. and Pourau, R. (2015), 'Ensuring equal opportunities for Children in Out of Home Care : what is being done?', National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia. Conference, Western Sydney University, Parramatta Campus.
  • Matheson, I., Fernandez, E., McNamara, P. and Peel, N. (2015), 'Slipping down ladders and climbing up snakes : the experiences of university students who were formerly in OOHC, and research challenges to current policy and practice', , .

Other Publications

  • 2019, 'Sounding Out: Music for Health and Wellbeing', Report

Nicole's overall research interest is in understanding how health and leisure link to improve the lives of marginalised individuals.

Research interests

Health and Leisure

Access and social inclusion

Adolescents and family health

People with disabilities

Foster carers and young people in foster care

Outdoor recreation 




Exploring the experiences of female consumers of alcohol and other drugs services of an arts-based support program in Western Sydney Health, Reis & Peel


School of Education Partnership Grant: Australian professional identity in Therapeutic Recreation: Exploring perspectives from the field, Truong & Peel



This information has been contributed by Doctor Peel.

Previous Projects

Title: Operation Surf Australia - Impacts of a Surf Therapy Program on Young Veterans
  • Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group
Western Researchers: Arianne Reis and Nicole Peel
Years: 2020-09-01 - 2022-03-01
ID: P00026743


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: How do recreational therapists facilitate purposeful living for people with high support needs, in residential aged care facilities
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Impacts of a Surfing Therapy Program on Ex-Serving Veterans
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: A Qualitative Exploration of the Perceived Causes, Impacts and Solutions to Domestic Violence with Aboriginal Women in Australia
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Evaluation of Pedestrian Safety Skills Intervention for Individuals with Autism
Field of Research:

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