School of Psychology and Public Health Statement of Strategic Intent

The Department of Psychology, Counselling and Therapy is part of the School of Psychology and Public Health.

The School's Statement of Strategic Intent contextualises our part in achieving the University’s mission: To be known for making a positive difference in the lives of our students, partners, and communities.

The School proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands where its campuses are located, recognises the ongoing connection to Country of local communities, and values the contributions Indigenous people make to its activities.

Enhancing the health and wellbeing of individuals and societies

The School of Psychology and Public Health offers quality teaching and research programs to advance knowledge in Psychology, Counselling, Therapy and Public Health.

Our goal is to consolidate our position as an education and research leader in the fields of Public Health and Psychology, Counselling and Therapy by addressing the determinants of both public and psychological health such as policy, social factors, environmental conditions and contexts, health services, and individual behaviours. We will lead development and implementation of evidence-based practice improvements and the graduates of our distinct course portfolio will be well-informed, socially responsive, and agile, ready to adopt new approaches, interrogate new ideas, and lead sustainable community development in our areas of expertise.

We will be known for our distinctive course portfolio that embraces diversity, flexibility, equity, and accessibility – and provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to work effectively in local and international settings.

We will work with our extensive network of healthcare services and industry partners to offer practice-based education that builds knowledge and delivers outstanding graduate employment outcomes. We will build on our current arrangements and continue to seek innovative approaches that efficiently and affordably increase placement opportunities for our students.

We will continue to produce impactful research of national and international significance. This research is multidisciplinary, covers the entirety of the life course, and ranges from being person-centred to population-based. We will collaborate with industry, government, and not-for-profit organisations to produce findings that have translational value that improves practice and enhances the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.

We will prioritise our partnership development based on shared values and individual strengths, committing to maximising individual and population health impacts of our teaching and research activities at the local, national, and international level. Our partnership programs will be aligned with the principle of “Health for All and Health in All” and adapt to the knowledge and skill needs of our key stakeholders, including governmental agencies, community organisations, health and care services, and our alumni.

We will maintain strong regional, rural, and international engagement in all our activities. We will strive to serve the unmet health needs of our communities in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, regional Victoria, and beyond.

Our contribution will align with La Trobe’s research themes, particularly Healthy people, families and communities, Social change and equity, and Understanding and preventing disease.

There are five strategic goals that guide us in our work.

Reputation: We will build capability through continuous improvement in research and teaching to consolidate our position as a pre-eminent school in psychology and public health.

Impact: We will conduct research of great translational value and thus makes a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Our teaching programs will continue to build the workforce in areas with unmet demand in regional and rural Victoria as well as metropolitan Melbourne, including in clinical and professional psychology, rehabilitation counselling, health information management, and public health to name a few.

Equity and access: We will expand our range of entry pathways into qualifications that meet society’s needs and prepare students for the workplace by working with external educational partners such as Wiley and Open Universities Australia. We will continue to focus on creating individual and social improvements in equity and access through our teaching and research.

Culture: We will prioritise student, staff, and stakeholder wellbeing by aligning our activities with La Trobe’s cultural qualities of being accountable, connected, innovative, and caring.

Engagement: We will build strong and lasting partnerships with our students, alumni, stakeholders, and communities, locally, nationally, and internationally.

The School of Psychology and Public Health is comprised of a strong, cohesive, and collegial team of academics and professional staff who work together to support our core missions of teaching and research.

We will continue to champion a workplace that is safe, inclusive, and supports health and wellbeing. The University’s cultural qualities will continue to underpin everything we do.

We will promote equity, diversity, and inclusion to make us an employer of choice for academic and professional staff. We will support strategies for the recruitment, retention, and career development of Indigenous employees and other under-represented groups.

We will collaborate to drive new innovations that further strengthen our work and impact. We will create a culture of shared practice that encourages best practice.

We will promote flexibility in work arrangements, while being accountable for maximising efficiencies. We will optimise productivity by ensuring our operations are consolidated, efficient, and sustainable.

We will continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our staff and students and co-partner with them to maintain a culture of excellence. We will engage, to ensure that our stakeholders are informed, and staff and students have professional visibility within and external to the School.

We will promote regional and global health and wellbeing outcomes by forging partnerships with students, colleagues, alumni, and external stakeholders, locally, nationally, and internationally.


We will know we have succeeded in our goal to develop and sustain a positive culture through continued improvement of the Employee Experience, as indicated by a La Trobe Employee Experience Survey.

The School of Psychology and Public Health delivers education programs that are informed by current research and practice, where students learn from experts and peers in a range of clinical and health-related disciplines. Our flexible approach to content delivery, with most of our subjects offered both online and face-to-face (StudyFlex), will allow students, wherever possible, to engage in learning at a time and place of their choosing. In addition to contributing to several of the largest degrees at La Trobe (e.g., Bachelor of Psychological Science, Bachelor of Health Science, and now the Bachelor of Arts), we also offer degrees that are unique to Victoria and uncommon in Australia (e.g., Health Information Management, Art Therapy, Family Therapy, Rehabilitation Counselling, Digital Health) and the move to StudyFlex has created opportunities to capitalise on their uniqueness. With offerings at La Trobe’s Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses, our staff, students, graduates, and industry partners will work together to grow our health workforce in regional and rural Victoria.

We continue to expand the pathways for students to enter our courses. We have articulation pathways from La Trobe College Australia into our undergraduate psychology course and have recently added a pathway into Health Information Management. Similarly, we have engaged with Open Universities Australia for a pathway into our undergraduate Psychology course and seek to expand this to Health Information Management as well. Our current partnership with Wiley to deliver Masters courses in Public Health and Health Administration is expanding to include Digital Health. We work in partnership with Harbin Medical University, offering an evidence-informed Master of Health Administration degree course tailored to the needs of health managers in China. We also work in partnerships with professional associations for course accreditation (e.g., Australasian College of Health Services Management) and articulation pathways (e.g., Health Information Management Association of Australia).

In line with La Trobe’s increased focus on health and wellbeing, we will continue to curate a contemporary, evidence-based course portfolio that is augmented by authentic assessment and taught by experts in their disciplines, and that seeks to address individual, relational, group-based, organisational, cultural, and societal influences on health and wellbeing. For example, we will collaborate with key industry stakeholders to access a simulated Electronic Health Record to advance the digital literacy and competency of Health Information Management and Digital Health students in preparation for professional practice. We will engineer opportunities for students to engage with relevant industry leaders to build expertise and capacity in the health sector. We will collaborate with industry partners on joint models of Work Integrated Learning to ensure that students receive a strong combination of theoretical learning and sustained, hands-on training. Employability will be embedded across our undergraduate programs.

We will strive to ensure that our graduates are career ready; that they are excellent communicators, possess transferable leadership skills, are digitally literate, and culturally attuned. We will equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to improve health practice outcomes for individuals and communities. We will continue to ensure that undergraduate students in psychology and health sciences have meaningful pathways into careers by highlighting other postgraduate studies such as our Masters programs in Rehabilitation Counselling, Art Therapy, and Public Health. We will aim to improve our graduate destinations for undergraduate students by foregrounding career preparation skills and knowledge and providing resources that enable students to find meaningful employment if they elect not to pursue postgraduate study. We will engage with the alumni office to identify graduates who can support students with insights from their own career journeys.

Our suite of postgraduate therapy courses seek synergies in how our internal clinics used for placements can operate together. To assist students to become psychologists, we are developing a unique first-in-Australia sixth year Masters program that will support students currently doing an external internship to fulfil the requirements necessary for registration with the Psychology Board of Australia.

We will support our academics to ensure our teaching reflects and informs best practice, particularly in online settings. Staff are invited to join our monthly learning and teaching community of practice that engages them in discussions with policy and educational experts on hot topics and necessary know-how. Student representatives and subject and course coordinators come together in quarterly student-staff consultation meetings where feedback is delivered and considered with an eye towards continuous improvement of our offerings.

Our staff have joined the community of practice offered by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project and La Trobe’s newly established Indigenous Education Community of Practice and we seek to embed Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into all our programs. Moreover, we offer the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy: First Nations, which is unique in Australia. Further, we count among our staff experts in cultural psychology and cultural influences on health and wellbeing and we both deliver content in these areas and utilise this knowledge in our engagement with students. As such, we welcome international students and support them to contextualise their learning to their home country.

We will collaborate with industry to develop micro-credentials that can be nested within existing subjects or courses to meet industry needs. We see ergonomics, safety, and health, digital health, health information management, health administration/leadership, and program development as areas that are ripe to be redeveloped into short, sharp, and relevant offerings to professionals in health organisations. We intend to offer professional development opportunities to psychologists and psychologists-in-training based on our content expertise and deep understanding of skills necessary for effective practice.


We will know we have succeeded in our goal to ensure quality of teaching when we achieve top 12 nationally in those disciplines which can be identified in the Student Experience Survey for Teaching Quality and Overall Experience.

The School of Psychology and Public Health is comprised of a strong team of outstanding researchers who are working to improve health and wellbeing for individuals and communities. We have an excellent reputation that originates from our ongoing close collaborations with a broad network of both Australian and international leading institutions.

Our research will be translated to meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities and have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Our success will be measured by the adoption of practice improvements, an increase in the number and diversity of industry partnerships, publications, research income, and policy papers.

We will invest in our prestigious research centres – the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society; The Bouverie Centre; the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research; and the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre – including, if necessary, providing bridging support for E/MCRs to ensure they continue to play a strong role in our research success and impact.

We will support Indigenous researchers, communities, and organisations to, wherever possible, lead or partner in work of potential impact for Indigenous people. We will consult their knowledges, co-design projects, and carefully consider the impact of research processes and findings on Indigenous people.

We will continue to invest in and grow the capacity of our researchers, at all career stages, through support programs including start-up funds, internal grant schemes, mentoring, and facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations that enhance their expertise and impact. Our existing initiatives, like the School’s internal mentoring program, the weekly Research Lunchbox Forum, and the encouragement for all researchers in the School to develop individual Research Plans will assist us in achieving this goal by identifying gaps in the existing support and shared research interests, and thus will facilitate targeted support for researchers and innovative ideas.

We will work cooperatively with our community and industry partners to understand their needs, bring together the right capabilities, manage projects efficiently, act with integrity, and guide the translation of research results into evidence-based practice and policy decisions.

Our research will continue to be multidisciplinary, cover the entirety of the life course, and range from being person-centred to population-based at the local, national, and international levels. We will reach across the University to build interdisciplinary teams that allow us to achieve the United Nations' third Sustainable Development goal of good health and wellbeing. The School’s strong alignment and existing engagement with La Trobe’s research themes as well as the ongoing process to create new research institutes will assist us in accomplishing this goal.

Our contributions will align with La Trobe’s research themes, particularly Healthy people, families and communities, Social change and equity, and Understanding and preventing disease.


We will know we have succeeded in our goals to create impact and achieve recognition when we achieve an Excellence in Research for Australia ranking of four or five (above or well above world standard) for the psychology and public health fields of research at the 4-digit level, and psychology returns to the top 200 in the QS World University Rankings.