Thompson Rivers University

Bala Nikku

Name: Dr Bala Nikku
Position: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Education & Social Work
Phone: 250-828-5242


Homepage URL:


Bala Nikku, PhD hails from an agricultural family in India. Bala Joined Thompson Rivers University School of Social Work and Human Service as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Dr. Nikku served in the academia and grassroots social work practice in India, Nepal, Malaysia and held adjunct positions in the UK and Thailand. He served as founding director of the Nepal School of Social Work (2005- 2011).

I have been a social work and social policy teaching faculty, researcher and practitioner for the last 20 years. I bring an interdisciplinary, racial and cultural safety to my work space and classrooms. I had the opportunity to collaborate a diverse group to carry out research projects that are curiosity driven and find solutions that empower communities.

As an interdisciplinary policy researcher, I am interested in politics of policies (disasters, health, poverty) and their framing and implementation on the ground. My research focus continues to be on South Asia a dynamic but fragmented, resource poor, culturally diverse region. I am currently part of a research collective ( and interested in applying rights-based approaches to human displacement. We are currently involved in book projects and covid19 epidemic management and analyzing whether the current regional frameworks are adequate enough to protect the rights of epidemic victims and internally displaced persons.

Research Interests

International Social Work, Green Social Work, Disasters and Epidemics, Community engagement, Health equity action framework, Scholarship of teaching and learning, Decolonization, intercultural studies, Race and immigration, comparative social policy, curricular innovations


Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2006

Post Graduate Diploma in Planning (PGDipPlan), CEPT University, Gujarat, India, 1999

Training in Environmental Education (TEE), Centre for Environment Education, Gujarat, 1997

Master of Arts in Social Work (MASW), Acharya Nagarjuna University, A.P, India, 1994


Dominelli, Lena with Nikku, B.R and Ku, Hok Bun (2018) The Routledge Handbook of Green Social Work (ed), Routledge

Nikku, B.R. and Hatta, Z.A. (eds) (2014) Social Work Education and Practice: Scholarship and innovations in the Asia Pacific. Sydney: Primrose Hall Publishing Group.

Nikku, B. R. (2013). Politics, Policy and People: Irrigation Governance in a South Indian State. USA: Nova Science Publishers

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications:

Nikku, B. R., & Rafique, Z. (2019). Empowering people: Role for political social work in South Asia. International Social Work, 62(2): 877-891.

Jafar, M., Hatta, Z. A., & Nikku, B. R. (2018). Integrating welfare economics in social work curriculum: a Malaysian case. Social Work Education, 37(5): 652-664.

Rosilawati, Y., Rafique, Z., Nikku, B. R., & Habib, S. (2018). Civil society organizations and participatory local governance in Pakistan: An exploratory study. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 12(3): 158-168.

Parker, J., Crabtree, S.A, Azman, A., Nikku, B. R., & Nguyen, U. T. T. (2017). Towards a Typology of Social Work Assessments: Developing practice in Malaysia, Nepal, United Kingdom and Vietnam. Social Work & Society, 15(2).

Nikku, B.R & Kadambari, P (2016) Teaching and Practice of Family Social Work: Insights from Nepal School of Social Work, Indian Journal of Social Work, 77(4):479-490

Nikku, B.R (2015) Editorial: Living through and responding to disasters: Multiple roles for Social Work, Social Work Education, 34(6): 601-606

Nikku, B.R., (2015). International Social Work. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, pp. 557-561, Vol 12. Oxford: Elsevier

Nikku, B.R & Pulla V (2014) Global agenda for social work and social development: voices of the social work educators from Asia. Int Soc Work 57:373???385

Parker, Sara; Nikku, B.R & Khatri, R (2014) Social Policy, Social Work and Age Care in Nepal: Mapping Services and Missing Links, European Journal of Social Work, 17 (3):353-366

Nikku, B. R. (2013). Nepal: Public vs. Private? International Higher Education, (70): 16-18.

Nikku, B.R (2013) Children Rights in Disasters: Concerns for social work:Insights from South Asia and possible lessons for Africa, International Social Work, 56 (1): 51-66

Nikku, B.R & Pokhrel, R. (2013). Crafting Child-friendly Cities: Evidence from Biratnagar Sub-metropolitan City, Eastern Nepal. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 7(2):135-150

Book Chapters:

Nikku B.R. (2020) Building Disaster-Resilient Communities. In: Todd S., Drolet J. (eds) Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work. Social Work. Springer, Singapore

Nikku, B. R. (2020). Hidden privatization in higher education of Nepal, In Higher Education in Nepal: Policies and Perspectives, in (Ed.) Bista, K; Sharma, S and Raby, R. London: Routledge.

Nikku, B.R, Kadambari, P and Riggs, A (2019) Recreating creative social work: insights from Nepal 2015 disasters, Chapter 20 (pp 246-256) in Huss, E. (Ed.), Bos, E. (Ed.). Art in Social Work Practice. London: Routledge

Nikku, B. R. (2019). A Himalayan Kingdom to Federal Republic: Nepal, Insights in to development of social welfare and social work in a transition country, Chapter 9, (pp. 177-193) In Austerity, social work and welfare policies: A global perspective. (ed) Pelaez, AL and Ciriano, EJG, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi.

Nikku, B. R., Dash, B.M & Akhunzada, Z. U. (2019). Strengthening field in field education: Structural and functional issues in South Asian social work. In Fieldwork Training in Social Work (pp. 138-150). (Ed) Dash, BM and Roy Sanjoy, Routledge India.

Employment History

Assistant Professor, Thompson Rivers University, School of Social Work and Human Service, Faculty of Education and Social Work ( 2018-present)

Sr. University Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), School of Social Sciences, Penang, Malaysia (2012-2018(Jan)

COFUND Senior Research Fellow, IHRR and at Trevelyan College, Durham University,UK (Jan-April, 2016)

Founding Director, Nepal School of Social Work (2005-2012)

Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand (2009)

Head, Department of Social Work, St. Xavier's College, Kathmandu, Nepal (2005-2007)

Courses Taught

Thompson Rivers University (2018 to Present)

SOCW 4800 : International Social Work
SOCW 4600 : Special Topics in Social Work (Green Social Work)
SOCW 4550 : Social Work Practice with Communities
SOCW 4500 : Leadership Practice in Social Service

Universiti Sains Malaysia ( 2012-2017)

Advanced Social Work Theories with Individuals and families (SSW501)
Social Policy and Social Services (SSW503)
Integrated Social Work Seminar (SSW504)
Social Work Education (SSW505)
Social Services Management (SSW507)
Comparative Social Policy in Asia (SAA556)
Policy and Social Planning ( Dasar Dan Perancangan Sosial) SSW 322E (for BSW)

Nepal School of Social Work ( 2005-2011)

History and Philosophy of Social Work (HPS113)
Social Work Practicum and Skills Lab (SWP112)
Community Organisation (COM123)
Neighbourhood Study Camp (NHC121)
Social Work Profession: History, Philosophy and Methods (SWH114)
Community Organisation (COM 124)
Social Action (SOA123)
Family and Social Work (FSW122)

Professional Affiliations

Teaching Fellow, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2019-2020), Thompson Rivers University

Co-Chair, Human Rights Committee (2019-2021), TRUFA

Member of the CASWE- The Canadian Association for Social Work Education (2018)

Member at Large, Executive Board of International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)2012-2016

Member, Disaster and Climate Change Committee and member of the Census Committee of IASSW (2014-2017)

Associate Editor, Social Work Education: The International Journal, Routledge

Editorial Board Member, International Social Work Journal, Sage

Editorial Board Member, Practice: Social Work in Action, Published on behalf of the British Association of Social Workers, Routledge

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Education and Educational Development, Department of Education, College of Economics and Social Development, Pakistan


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