Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig

Senior Lecturer - UNE Business School

Theresa Smith-Ruig

Phone: +61 2 6773 3917

Email: tsmith24@une.edu.au


Dr. Theresa Smith-Ruig is one of only a handful of vision impaired academics currently teaching in Australia. She is Course Coordinator for all undergraduate and postgraduate business degrees. Theresa’s teaching and research interests reflect her strong passion for promoting equity and inclusion. Theresa graduated in 2006 with her PhD in the area of career management. She teaches at both and undergraduate and postgraduate level in the area of human resource management (HRM). Theresa has numerous publications in the areas of career development, diversity management, gender and leadership in Local Government and the non-profit sector, and on work-integrated learning. She has been the recipient of both state and national research grants focused on enhancing the student learning experience. Theresa also has strong connections with business through her current and previous roles as a Director on boards of national and local not-for-profit organisations in the disability sector.


B. Commerce Hons (UNE), PhD (UNE), DFP

Teaching Areas


MM221 Human Resource Management


MM439 Strategic Human Resource Management
MM 453 Workforce Planning & Staff Development

HDR supervision topic areas
  • Human resource management
  • Career Development
  • Diversity management (e.g. gender, disability)
  • Not-for-profit management
  • Local government leadership

Research Interests

Theresa has research interests spanning three main themes:

  • Organisational research – examining career choice & development; work/life balance; leadership; diversity management. Her research spans both the publick, private and not-for-profit sectors.
  • Social policy – Theresa is currently interested in the emerging area of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what it means for both organisations and clients.
  • Student experience – Theresa researches in the area of work-integrated learning, and business/management education.
Recent & Ongoing Research

Theresa is currently collaborating with Dr. Lucie Newsome on researching the experieinces of women entrepreneurs in agribusiness.

Exploring the role out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); and leadership in local government

Research Grants

Kennedy, A. (UNE); Smith-Ruig, T. (UNE); Coverdale, R. (Deakin); Nielsen, J. (SCU); Macken, C. (La Trobe); Hart, C. (USQ); Mortensen, R. (USQ), (2011-12). Rethinking the law curriculum: educational strategies to prepare graduates for legal practice in rural and regional Australia, ALTC Grant (RE23077-1), $133,000.

Smith-Ruig, T. (2010).Review of the Lucy Mentoring Program, NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet, $4,400.


Book Chapters

Smith-Ruig, T. (2018) Champions for charities: Exploring male and female inclusive leadership in the nonprofit sector in Australia. In S. Adapa & A. Sheridan (Eds.), Inclusive Leadership – Negotiating Gendered Spaces. Palgrave MacMillan.

Smith-Ruig, T. (2010). The diversity and complexity of disability: Emphasising ability not disability. In G. Strachan, J. Burgess & E. French (Eds.), Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice. Australia: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd.

Smith-Ruig, T. (2009). Mapping the career journey of male and female accountants in Australia. In S.G. Baugh & S.E Sullivan (Eds.), Research in Careers: Maintaining focus, energy, and options over the life span. USA: Information Age Publishing.

Smith-Ruig, T., & Sheridan, A. (2009). Through my eyes: Conducting research as a vision impaired researcher. In J. Kottler & V. Minichello (Eds),  Qualitative Journeys: Student and mentor experiences with research. USA: Sage publishers.

Journal Articles

Grant, B., Smith-Ruig, T. and Sheridan, A. (2016). Slow change at the top: ‘Old hands’ and ‘accidental executives’ in New South Wales local government, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 75(1), pp. 89-99.

Dalton, V., Grant, B., Smith-Ruig, T. and Hempsall, K. (2015). 'Developing the virtuous virtual self in an online MBA: Reflections on instruments and processes'. International Journal of Business and Management 10(10): (in print).

Smith-Ruig, T. (2014). Exploring the links between mentoring and work-integrated learning, Higher Education Research & Development, 33 (4), pp. 769-782.

Kennedy, A.L., Coverdale, R., Hart, C., Macken, C., Mortensen, R., Mundy, T., Nielsen, J., and Smith-Ruig, T. (2014). Educating Law Students for Rural and Regional Legal Practice: Embedding Place Consciousness in Law Curricula’, Legal Education Review 24 (1), pp. 6-27.

Smith-Ruig, T. (2009). Exploring career as a multi-faceted phenomenon, British Journal of Management, vol. 20, no. 4: pp. 610-622.

Smith-Ruig, T. (2008). Making sense of careers through the lens of a path metaphor, Career Development International, vol. 13, no. 1: 20-32.

Smith, T., & Sheridan, A. (2006). Organisational careers versus boundaryless careers: Insights from the accounting profession, Journal of Management & Organization, vol. 12,  no 3: pp. 223-234.

Smith, T. (2002). Diversity and disability: Exploring the experiences of blind and vision impaired people in the workplace, Equal Opportunities International, vol. 21, no. 8: pp. 59-72.

Conference Papers

Smith-Ruig, T. & Grant, B. (2013). Seasoned campaigners and accidental executives: A study of the career paths of Local Government CEOs in NSW, Australia. Australian Centre of Excellence in Local Government - Local Government Researchers Forum, Adelaide, June (refereed conference paper).

Smith, T. (2006). Climbing the corporate ladder: What happens after you reach the top? Australia New Zealand Academy of management Conference, Yeppoon QLD, December 6-9.

Smith, T., & Sheridan, A. (2005). More hands on please: Career development in the accounting profession, Australian New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Canberra Australia, December 7-10.

Smith, T. (2005). Using metaphors in career theory: A road map for career development.  Australian Centre for Research in Employment & Work Inaugural Conference, Melbourne, Australia, June 24-25.

Smith, T. (2004). Managing careers in a world of diversity and change – Understanding the work life balance issue.  SAM/IFSAM VII World Congress, Goteborg, Sweden, July 4-7.

Non-refereed Conference Paper

Dalton, V. Hempsall, K., Grant, B., & Smith-Ruig, T. (2013). Constructing the virtual virtuous self: reflections on instruments and processes in a global business learning environment. Paper presented at the E-Learning in Business & Economics Workshop, University of Catelonia Spain, October.

Clinical Skills and Experience

Other School/External Roles
  • Chair UNE Business School Equity Committee
  • Deputy Chair, Vision Australia
  • Member - Management Committee, PEDAL Armidale Early Childhood Intervention Service
Other involvements/achievements
  • 2008 – UNE Young Distinguished Alumni Award


Member – Australia New Zealand Academy of Management; Member – Australian Institute of Company Directors

Consultancy Interests

Theresa would be interested in consulting work involving HRM or diversity management.

Further Information