Lecturer, School of Applied Social Studies

Twitter: @JoeWhelan82


JOSEPH WHELAN has worked in the School of Applied Social Studies since 2016 where he is currently the year 1 coordinator on the Bachelor of Social Work program, thesis supervisor and lecturer to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Joseph’s current research interests centre on the lives of working-age welfare recipients in Ireland. Specifically, this work focuses on the ways in which stigma may be experienced by welfare recipients in their day to day lives. Joseph has also recently been involved in the founding the Critical Welfare State Studies Network, which aims to bring together scholars from a broad range of disciplines interested or engaged in work relating to the Irish welfare state. In addition, Joseph has contributed to RTE’s Brainstorm Project, and the Pat Kenny show on NewsTalk FM.


As soon as I saw the call for participation in the DISCs project it immediately jumped out at me and I applied straight away. I have a longstanding interest in and commitment to teaching for and about social justice and so having an opportunity to be involved in a project that seeks to meaningfully interrogate what this means in practice is something I am very grateful for. One reason for wanting to take part in the DISCs project is to engage and enhance that interest and commitment by learning from other like-minded colleagues across disciplines and institutions.

I would also hope that being involved in the project will give me an opportunity to interrogate my own teaching practice and understanding of social justice. In particular, I am interested in what it means to move beyond the classroom, in the sense of teaching about social justice, and towards a practice that is about the ‘doing’ of social justice. Inherent in this are questions about what it means to equip students with the ability to practice in a way that promotes an ethos of social justice. This is particularly relevant to the core student cohort to whom I teach as they are studying to become qualified professional social workers.

  • To more fully integrate the practice of teaching for social justice in my teaching approach
  • To learn from colleagues across institutions and disciplines about how they implement or plan to implement teaching strategies in respect to teaching for social justice
  • To use the benefit accruing from participation in the project to meaningfully engage with students around the topic of social justice in a way that challenges and enhances their abilities, knowledge and skills in the area


To learn more about Joseph’s course development and planning for the Spring 2020 semester, please choose from one of the links below.


To learn more about Joseph’s pedagogical orientation and approach as well as his experiences of participating on the DISCs Project, please click on one of the links below.

What is the purpose of Higher Education?

What does it mean to incorporate social justice principles into my teaching?

Reflections on the DISCs Project