Doctor Brenda Dobia

Doctor Brenda Dobia

Adjunct Fellow,
Dean's Unit, School of Education

Senior Lecturer,
Centre for Educational Research (SoE)


Dr Brenda Dobia is a Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education at Western Sydney University where she has been a core member of its concentration in Social Ecology. She specialises in education for sustainability, ecopsychology, community engagement and participatory research methods. She has received several teaching awards for her work in sustainability education and in curriculum design.

Dr Dobia has a professional background in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Cultural Studies. She combines this expertise with a strong social justice agenda and an applied approach to research and teaching. Dr Dobia led resources development for KidsMatter, the Australian national primary schools mental health initiative, and undertook research into its ‘adaptation’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families. She works collaboratively with schools, partner organisations and communities to develop and evaluate programs that can make a difference to the lives of young people through promoting wellbeing and preventing violence.

Dr Dobia is an active researcher and research supervisor in the areas of sustainability education, violence prevention and school and community-based wellbeing. She has a deep commitment to social justice and to decolonising practices, including through her collaborative and inter-disciplinary doctoral research into women’s empowerment in India. She also has a longstanding involvement in research and teaching for social justice and wellbeing, working in partnership with Australian First Nations communities.

Dr Dobia takes an applied transdisciplinary approach to her research and teaching.  Her inter-cultural work has included the study of Indian philosophy, culture and traditional healing systems, as well as collaborative research with Indian colleagues. She has particular expertise in issues of gender and sustainability, community empowerment and cross-cultural knowledge translation. 

Throughout her professional life Dr Dobia has worked on issues of gender equity and women’s empowerment. She has provided research expertise and community development consultancy to national domestic violence prevention and respectful relationships education programs. She was recently a member of the Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention (MARVI) research team, with a focus on enhancing aspects of gender equity in relation to groundwater use and management in rural India.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Dobia.


  • PhD University of Western Sydney
  • MA University of Melbourne
  • BA (Hons) University of Melbourne


  • College of Arts Teaching Citation 2011-11-01
  • Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching Citation 2012-09-25
  • University of Western Sydney Vice Chancellor s Award for Excellence in University Sustainability 2012-11-30
  • Green Globe Award for Public Sector Sustainability - Youth Eco Summit 2013-09-24
  • Finalist WSU Research Impact Competition 2018-10-23
  • Womens research fellowship Western Sydney University 2016-01-18

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Dean's Unit, School of Education
  • Centre for Educational Research (SoE)


Location: Penrith (Kingswood)

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 100644 Ecopsychology and Cultural Change, 2014
  • 101663 Education for Sustainability, 2019
  • 102148 Engaging Communities, 2019
  • 102163 Professional Project, 2017
  • 102165 At the cultural interface - learning two ways, 2018



  • Dobia, B. and O'Rourke, V. (2011), 'Promoting the mental health and wellbeing of Indigenous children in Australian primary schools', : Commonwealth of Australia 9781742415208.

Chapters in Books

  • Dobia, B. (2022), 'Power and desire in the worship of the Goddess Kamakhya', Studies on Tantra in Bengal and Eastern India, Springer 9789811930218.
  • Dobia, B., Arthur, L., Jennings, P., Khlentzos, D., Parada, R., Roffey, S. and Sheinman, N. (2020), 'Implementation of social and emotional learning', Rethinking Learning: A Review of Social and Emotional Learning for Education Systems, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development 9788189218737.
  • Montgomery, M., Parada, R. and Dobia, B. (2020), 'Pedagogy and adverse childhood experiences : a teacher's action-learning journey in mitigating the impact of trauma through changing teaching practice', Alleviating the Educational Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences: School-University-Community Collaboration, Information Age Publishing 9781648021138.
  • Dobia, B. and Roffey, S. (2017), 'Respect for culture : social and emotional learning with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth', Social and Emotional Learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific: Perspectives, Programs and Approaches, Springer 9789811033933.
  • Dobia, B. (2014), 'What's in it for the man? : models of masculinity in the worship of the Goddess Kamakhya', Gender and Masculinities: Histories, Texts and Practices in India and Sri Lanka, Routledge 9780415725545.
  • Power, A., Mooney, M., Barker, K., Dobia, B., Watson, K. and Yeung, A. (2008), 'Positive Behaviour for Learning: School-wide Student Behaviour Intervention in Western Sydney', Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference, Springer International Handbooks of Education, Volume 11 978-1-4020-1007-1.

Journal Articles

  • Dobia, B., Parada, R., Roffey, S. and Smith, M. (2019), 'Social and emotional learning : from individual skills to class cohesion', Educational and Child Psychology, vol 36, no 2 , pp 78 - 90.
  • Yeung, A., Craven, R., Mooney, M., Tracey, D., Barker, K., Power, A., Dobia, B., Chen, Z., Schofield, J., Whitefield, P. and Lewis, T. (2016), 'Positive behavior interventions : the issue of sustainability of positive effects', Educational Psychology Review, vol 28, no 1 , pp 145 - 170.
  • Colley, T., Burgin, S. and Dobia, B. (2014), 'Building eco-social capacity to meet environmental crisis : a model accommodating perspectives of Western Sydney Community groups', International Journal of Sustainability Education, vol 10, no 1 , pp 1 - 15.
  • Dobia, B. (2013), 'What's in it for the man? Models of masculinity in the worship of the Goddess Kamakhya', South Asian History and Culture, vol 4, no 2 , pp 230 - 249.
  • Yeung, A., Mooney, M., Barker, K. and Dobia, B. (2009), 'Does school-wide positive behaviour system improve learning in primary schools? Some preliminary findings', New Horizons in Education, vol 57, no 1 , pp 17 - 32.
  • Graetz, B., Littlefield, L., Trinder, M., Dobia, B., Souter, M. and Champion, C. (2008), 'KidsMatter : a population health model to support student mental health and well-being in primary schools', International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, vol 10, no 4 , pp 13 - 20.
  • Dobia, B. (2007), 'Approaching the Hindu Goddess of Desire', Feminist Theology, vol 16, no 1 , pp 61 - 78.
  • Dobia, B. (2006), 'The Tantric Matrix at the Kamakhya Temple, Assam', TAASA Review: The Journal of The Asian Arts Society of Australia, vol 15, no 1 , pp 10 - 12.

Conference Papers

  • Barker, K., Yeung, A., Craven, R., Ali, J., Mooney, M., Dobia, B., Power, A., Schofield, J. and Whitefield, P. (2013), 'Does positive behaviour facilitate self-concept or does positive self-concept facilitate behaviour?', International Biennial SELF Research Conference, Singapore.
  • Barker, K., Yeung, A., Dobia, B. and Mooney, M. (2009), 'Positive Behaviour for Learning: Differentiating Teachers' Self-Efficacy', Australian Association for Research in Education Conference (AARE 2009), .
  • Barker, K., Dobia, B., Mooney, M., Watson, K., Power, A., Ha, T., Yeung, A., Schofield, J., McCloughan, G. and Denham, A. (2008), 'Positive Behaviour for Learning: Changing Student Behaviours for Sustainable Psychosocial Outcomes', Australian Association for Research in Education, International Education Reserach Conference, Brisbane, Queensland Australia.
  • Mooney, M., Watson, K., Dobia, B., Power, A., Barker, K., Ha, T., Yeung, A., McCloughan, G., McCloughan, G., Schofield, J. and Denham, A. (2008), 'Positive behaviour for learning : local features of an adapted US model of behaviour management', Australian Association for Research in Education, International Educatin Research Conference, Brisbane, Queensland Australia.
  • Mooney, M., Dobia, B., Power, A., Watson, K., Barker, K., Yeung, A., Denham, A., McCloughan, G. and Schofield, J. (2008), 'Why positive behaviour for learning : the how's and why's of translating a US model for local sustainable education', Australian Association for Research in Education, International Educatin Research Conference, Brisbane, Queensland Australia.

Other Publications

  • 2023, 'Learning Ground in School (LGiS): Final Report of the 2020-2022 Implementation', Report
  • 2019, 'Wilding Nature Play for Children and Families: An Evaluation of The Ian Potter Children's WILD PLAY Garden at Centennial Park, Sydney', Report
  • 2019, '"Every Client has a Trauma History": Teaching Respectful Relationships to Marginalised Youth: An Evaluation of NAPCAN's Respectful Relationships Program Northern Territory 2017-2018', Report
  • 2017, 'Inner West Council Respectful Relationships Education Project Scoping Study: Final Report 26 March 2017', Report
  • 2016, 'Each One Teach One: An Evaluation of Learning Ground Mt Druitt', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P1 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, S2 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P4 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P4 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P3 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P3 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, P1 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, S1 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, S1 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012 S3 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012 S3 School Findings', Report
  • 2014, 'Enabling Schooling Success: 2010-2012, S2 School Findings', Report
  • 2013, 'Aboriginal Girls Circle: Enhancing Connectedness and Promoting Resilience for Aboriginal girls: Final Pilot Report', Report
  • 2008, 'Positive Behaviour for Learning: Investigating the Transfer of a United States System into the New South Wales Department of Education and Training Western Sydney Region Schools: Report', Report

2009-2010 KidsMatter Indigenous Adaptation – research consultancy with National Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Dobia.

Previous Projects

Title: Outscaling MARVI in ABHY
  • The Australian Water Partnership
Western Researchers: Basant Maheshwari, Dharma Hagare, Maria Estela Varua, Brenda Dobia and Roger Packham
Years: 2020-06-15 - 2022-08-30
ID: P00026590
Title: NAPCAN Respectful Relationship Program Northern Territory 2017-2018 Evaluation
  • National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Inc
Western Researchers: Brenda Dobia
Years: 2018-02-12 - 2018-06-29
ID: P00024766
Title: Wilding Nature Play for Children and Families: An evaluation of the Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden
  • Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust
Western Researchers: Brenda Dobia, Son Truong and Kumara Ward
Years: 2018-07-23 - 2019-02-21
ID: P00025196
Title: Improving the Drinking Culture in Australia [via Macquarie University]
  • Memento Hospitality Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Kathryn Holmes, Kay Carroll, Christina Curry and Brenda Dobia
Years: 2018-12-18 - 2022-12-31
ID: P00025455
Title: Positive Behaviour for Learning: investigating the transfer of a US system into DET Western Sydney Region schools
  • University of Western Sydney
  • NSW Department of Education & Training
  • Panthers On The Prowl Ltd
Western Researchers: Mary Mooney, Alexander Yeung, Brenda Dobia and Katrina Barker
Years: 2006-12-21 - 2009-10-30
ID: P0015348
Title: Enabling schooling success: Psycho-social drivers & impact of Positive Behaviour for Learning intervention on behaviour, well-being, academic engagement & achievement
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • NSW Department of Education & Training
Western Researchers: Rhonda Craven, Margaret Vickers, Katrina Barker, Anne Power, Mary Mooney and Brenda Dobia
Years: 2009-07-14 - 2017-03-14
ID: P00016592
Title: Chain Reactions Learning Ground Project -Mt Druitt
  • Chain Reaction Foundation Ltd
Western Researchers: Brenda Dobia and Roberto Parada
Years: 2016-06-07 - 2016-08-01
ID: P00024392
Title: Learning Ground @ School
  • Chain Reaction Foundation
Western Researchers: Roberto Parada and Brenda Dobia
Years: 2019-10-21 - 2023-04-30
ID: P00026142
Title: The Aboriginal Girls Circle - enhancing connectedness and promoting resilience for Aboriginal girls
  • National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Inc
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Brenda Dobia, Sue Roffey and Roberto Parada
Years: 2012-01-04 - 2016-01-31
ID: P00020511


Doctor Dobia is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: TIPS: Trauma Informed Practices in Schools - Development of a Professional Development Package for Teachers and whole School Intervention Model
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Building Social Capacity for Rapid Action on Critical Natural Resource Issues in New Millennium Australia
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: People, Planet and Consumption: How young New Zealanders are responding to their awareness of consumption and ecological concerns
Field of Research: Ecology And Evolution; Family And Consumer Studies; Sociology; Human Geography
Thesis Title: Closing the Educational Gap for Australian Aboriginal Primary Students in Low Density Schools: A Qualitative Analysis of Inclusive Practices and Conditions for Success
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Re-storying to Restore: ?The truth not sought comes forth to the light?
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: An Investigation into the Relational Dynamics of Power, Exploring Awareness and Skill Development
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Reinventing the Goddess: Emanations of the Feminine Archetype in the Contemporary World
Field of Research: Society And Culture
Thesis Title: Neoshamanism and the Shadow: 'the soul's journey'.
Field of Research: Psychology
Thesis Title: ACTING AND ESSENCE: Experiencing Essence, Presence and Archetype in the Acting Traditions of Stanislavski and Copeau
Field of Research: Performing Arts
Thesis Title: EMBODIED VALUES, CONSCIOUSNESS, CHOICES: Evolution of Values in Women's Lives - A case Study
Field of Research: Social Work
Thesis Title: Women Dreaming Around Marriage: A Transpersonal Study of Personal Narratives, Group Dreamwork, Image and Archetype.
Field of Research: Education, N.e.c.
Thesis Title: Encountering Satyananda Yoga in Australia and India: Reflections of a Complex, Postcolonial, Gendered Subject
Field of Research: Society And Culture
Thesis Title: Sustaining Women's Sense of Occupational Authenticity in the Catholic Workplace
Field of Research: Religious Studies
Thesis Title: A Phenomenological Exploration of Ecological Consciousness and its Development
Field of Research: Ecology And Evolution
Thesis Title: Women's Wellbeing through Creative Arts and Spriritual Practice: Reclaiming a Space for the Emergence of Self within Community
Field of Research: Visual Arts And Crafts; Visual Arts And Crafts, N.e.c.; Other Society And Culture
Thesis Title: A Creative Imaginary for Cultural Change, Explored Through a Feminist Spirituality and Women's Textile Art.
Field of Research: Indigenous Studies
Thesis Title: Navigating the complexities of culture change
Field of Research: Sociology
Thesis Title: Climate Change and Psyche: Mapping Myths, Dreams and Conversations in the Era of Global Warming
Field of Research: Counselling; Psychology
Thesis Title: Empathic Connection or Addictive Flight? Helping Fathers in Recovery from Addiction Develop Empathic Relationships with their Children
Field of Research: Counselling; Mental Health Nursing; Psychology
Thesis Title: The Spirit of Reconciliation: A Phenomenology of the Fault-Line Between the Attachments to Land of Indigenous Australians and the Settler Society
Field of Research:

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