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Ms Judith Davies

Profile summary

Professional biography

Judith has worked for the Open University in a variety of roles, including Associate Lecturer and Staff Tutor, Social Work, prior to taking up her current post as Head of Social Work, Wales, in January 2012.  She is also Wales Manager in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care. Judith is also a senior lecturer and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

With a background mainly in Adult Mental Health services, Judith has also worked in Learning and Physical disability, and in Social Services Deptartments, the Voluntary Sector, and in the NHS,as well as in Higher Education.

Since working at the OU in Wales, Judith has worked to ensure the involvement of service users/carers in every aspect of the social work degree, as well as ensuring that students are enabled to use the Welsh Lanaguage during the course of their studies.  Judith has a particular interest in these two areas, and in the area of Practising in Wales.  A further area of interest is in exploring how teams learn through hosting students.


Research interests

Scholarship interests include service user/carer involvement, practising in Wales,and  how teams learn/the benefits of hosting students. Having won a small scholarship award, Judith is currently carrying out further study into the learning of social work teams who host students.

A successful bid for the Ian Light Award in 2010 enabled pursuit of joint scholarship activity with a colleague from Edgehill Univesity to explore the relationship between higher education and service user/carer involvement in development, management and delivery of the social work degee.  


Teaching interests

Part of Judith's role as Head of Social Work, Wales, is to ensure that the OU social work programme meets the needs of students in Wales, including  with regard to Welsh Language and context. This includes the development of appropriate resources and delivery of staff development to equip tutors in Wales to deliver a 'Welsh' social work programme, as well as supporting tutors to develop their own resources for this purpose.

The programme made a successful bid in 2014 to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, to fund a Welsh Language Development Tutor, whose role is to support and develop use of Welsh in the social work programme.

Judith taught on the social work practice modules at the OU for a number of years. She has also taught at other Universities, particularly in relation to Working in the Wales Context, while other teaching/training activity has largely been in relation to social work skills and mental health.

Conference papers include:

 Davies, J. and Billingham, J., 2007 ‘Welsh Language and Culture – Big Red Herring or Caviar for the Masses?’ Joint Social Work Education Conference, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales

Davies, J, 2009 'Service User and Carer Involvement in Social Work Education - Who Benefits?' Authenticity to Action, University of central Lancashire, England

Davies, J.,  2010  ‘The Practice learning opportunity – learning for whom?’   Strategies and Business Models for Lifelong Learning, European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, Zermatt, Switzerland,  ISBN 978-90-79730-06-3

Davies, J., 2011  'Embracing diversity in distance teaching and learning – providing a professional programme across and within cultural and linguistic boundaries in the UK' Universities and regional development in an open knowledge society; sharing innovation and knowledge in European universities European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, Eskisehir, Turkey ISBN 978-90-79730-09-4

Davies, J., 2014 'Pam bod rhaid i mi ddewis? Dull ‘hefyd/a’ i gefnogi myfyrwyr dwyieithog (Cymraeg/Saesneg)/Why do I have to choose? Taking a ‘both/and’ approach to supporting bilingual students (Welsh/English) What role for our language in higher education?, Cynhadledd ryngwladol y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol International Conference, Cardiff, Wales

Davies, J. and Gwilym C., 2015 'Providing a professional social work programme across and within legislative, cultural and linguistic boundaries in the UK' Social work education and research across boundaries Joint Social Work Education Conference, the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK



Davies, J., 2017 'The Welsh Language in Social Work Practice' Community Care Inform, available at

In 2018, Judith spent two months working in Mbale in Eastern Uganda, with the Wales for Africa Programme. Working in partnership with local welfare organisations, Judith's work included supporting a school-based team with skills development and strategic planning,  exploring a social model of care in health and education settings, and supporting development of community resilience in the event of natural disaster. Judith is currently working with Ugandan colleagues to set up a network of health, social care and wellbeing workers in the Mbale region.