Michael Curtin

Heads of Schools and Deans

Associate Professor Michael Curtin

EdD, MPhil, BOccThy

Head of School, School of Allied Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences
Albury / Wodonga
Building 673 Room 418

Michael graduated from the University of Queensland in 1983 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. After graduating he worked in Toowoomba, Hobart and Ballarat, primarily with children and young people, for a few years. He then lived in Botswana from 1987 to 1991, where he developed an occupational therapy service in Gaborone, Francistown and surrounding areas. Following this he gained employment as a research occupational therapist for four years at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, England. This led onto a position as an occupational therapy lecturer at the University of Southampton, England, from 1995 to 2003.

Michael returned to Australia at the beginning of 2004 to take up the post of occupational therapy lecturer at Charles Sturt University.  He became Discipline Lead of the occupational therapy course in 2005 and Associate Head of School of Community Health in 2014. He became Head of School of Community Health in 2017.

Michael completed his Master of Philosophy, from Oxford Brookes University in 1996. The title of his dissertation was "Tetraplegic Hand Grips". In 2004, he completed his Doctorate of Education, from the University of Southampton. The title for his dissertation was "The Biographies of Young People with Motor Impairment".

Michael has written a number of occupational therapy related journal articles and book chapters, and presented at national and international conferences on a variety of topics. He is the co-author of two World Health Organization manuals, "Promoting the Development of Young Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Guide for Mid-level Rehabilitation Workers" and "Promoting Independence Following a Spinal Cord Injury: A Manual for Mid-Level Rehabilitation Workers". In 2009 Michael authored "Guidelines for Creating Barrier-free Emergency Shelters" on behalf of Handicap International, Nepal.  Michael is also the co-editor of the 6th edition of the occupational therapy textbook "Occupational Therapy and Physical Dysfunction" (2010) and the 7th edition of this book with a new title “Occupational Therapy for People Experiencing Illness, Injury or Impairment” (2017).


Michael has been involved in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum since 1995 when he was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Southampton, England.  Since this time he has taught a range of profession specific and inter-disciplinary subject at all pre-registration and post-graduate levels.  His interest is in engaging students in the learning process and in ensuring high-quality and relevant assessments that are coherently linked to subject learning outcomes. During his time in England he was an external examiner for three other occupational therapy schools and since returning to Australia he has been a reviewer or monitor for several courses in Australia and New Zealand.  As the discipline lead for the occupational therapy course at CSU Michael worked collaboratively with the occupational therapy team to continually deliver an innovative, current, and progressive curriculum.

Michael also became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.

Subjects Delivered

Michael has taught numerous subjects such as core occupational therapy assessment and practice skills, assistive technologies, compensation strategies, research, paediatric practice, cardio-vascular practice, neurology, anatomy, professional reasoning, and more recently workplace learning.

Innovations in Teaching

Michael has led the interdisciplinary international program in the School of Community Health. Since 2005 he has been involved organising, running, and developing collaborations for various international fourth year placements for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology students.  This includes the Vietnam project where up to 12 students work with children with disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City.  More recently a relationship has been established with AutismCare in Nepal, who have begun to offer mutually beneficial opportunities for fourth year placements.  To support these international placements, collaborations with Australian organisation have and are being developed.  These organisations, such as Yooralla and Aspect, provide qualified allied health staff to supervise our students overseas and to provide education for staff and clients at these overseas locations.

Michael, along with Kristy Robson and Kay Skinner, received a 2014 OLT Award for Programs that Enhance Learning for our overseas programs.


Fields of Research Codes:  1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1103 Clinical Sciences

Key Terms:  disability, vulnerable groups, human rights and social justice, developing countries biographical / life experiences, phenomenology

Michael's research interest primarily focus on investigating the live experiences of people with disability, their significant others, and the professionals who work with them.  He tends to use qualitative research approaches which are underpinned by biographical and phenomenological philosophies.  However, he is also interested in mix methods, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, choosing the approach or approaches which will best address the questions being asked.

Michael's research projects are eclectic in their nature.  His masters level research looked at identifying the elements of effective grip for adults with a tetraplegic spinal cord injury.  In his doctoral level research he worked with nine children with cerebral palsy to write and analyse their life stories.  His more recent research interests have ranged from evaluating an older persons' circus skills program, to investigating the participant of adults with brain injury living in regional, rural and remote areas, to working collaboratively with occupational therapy practitioners across Australia to develop a community of practice scholars, to describing the transition experiences of middle aged adults with disabilities, including the evaluation of the effectiveness of therapy packages to assist with a transition.

In all his research projects, Michael is keen to collaborate with other researchers and with the participants.  He is passionate about conducting research in which there is collaboration and involvement between the participants and the researchers, to ensure that the participants voices are heard and are guiding the research process.