Personal profile

Biography

Allen is an Associate Professor and Educational and Developmental Psychologist at Monash University, and an Honorary Principal Fellow at the Centre for Wellbeing Science, University of Melbourne. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Educational and Developmental Psychologist and founder and advisor of the Journal of Belonging and Human Connection. As a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society, some of her most recent appoints include past Treasurer for both the Positive Psychology Interest group and the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists.

Allen’s mission is to signal and accentuate the importance of belonging in day-to-day life, and to better understand the mechanics of how it can be enhanced across the lifespan, but particularly in educational and organisational contexts. Her work is based on the need to belong as a powerful driver of motivation and a fundamental pillar of good physical and mental health. In a world of rising rates of loneliness and social isolation, a comprehensive understanding of belonging has never been more important.

Allen has been recognised by The Australian as one of Australia's top researchers in the are of belonging/school belonging and ranked by their independent data-science partner, The League of Scholars as Best In Field  (2022) in these areas. On an international level, she is a frequently cited author in the field of school belonging (e.g., Google Scholar, Web of Science, Scopus) and has been listed in the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) top 2% of researchers' annual world-wide analyses for the years 2020 to 2023 (Ioannidis et al., 2021; 2022; 2023). Allen has consistently contributed to influential work on student belonging. She has also been recognised by the Journal of University Learning and Teaching Practice for the most influential paper in 2023 (co-authored with Crawford & Cowling) and 2021 (co-authored with Trice, Baumeister & Crawford) and holds the most-cited, paper on school belonging published in the last five years – a work that identifies core factors for fostering school belonging (co-authored with Kern, Waters, Vella-Brodrick & Hattie). Her monograph, The Psychology of Belonging (Routledge, 2020) has been translated into Serbian, Indonesian, Mandarin, and Arabic and won the 2022 Gold Award in the Nonfiction Book Authors’ Association Awards. 

Allen values global networks and partnerships, recognising that these are essential to ensuring that research is translated in a way that is practical, usable, and socially beneficial. In 2018, she founded and now co-directs the Global Belonging Collaborative, a large transdisciplinary team dedicated to developing the field of belonging through the dissemination of research, engagement in translational projects, and the pooling of international expertise. Among other things, the collaborative includes a publicly accessible belonging metric repository. In 2022, Allen joined the M&M'S FUNd Advisory Council, alongside other belonging, diversity and inclusion advocates and experts, to assist the iconic brand in achieving their innovative vision of increasing a sense of belonging for 10 million people around the world by 2025.

Allen writes for Psychology Today and PsychWire on the science of belonging.  

Research interests

Dr Allen’s core work is in direct response to the widely reported global decline in belonging, particularly for students. Her research traces the further deterioration of belonging following COVID-19, and its strong associations with mental illness (both in adolescence and adulthood), wellbeing and academic outcomes, demonstrating that student belonging is an important problem to address. With the study of belonging core to Dr. Allen’s research priorities, her projects have built a conceptual and empirical understanding of what it means to belong. Continued work in this space is both critical and timely.  

More broadly, Dr Allen holds research interests in the areas of working with schools and wellbeing. She has expertise in statistical synthesis.

Monash teaching commitment

Dr Allen is the Chief Examiner and Unit Co-Ordinator of  EDF4599 - Positive psychology in professional practice within the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology. Dr Allen supervises graduate research students in the Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology. 

Consulting

Dr Allen is available for consultantion, belonging assessment, and contract research in the areas of belonging and wellbeing. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

Educational Psychology, PhD

20112015

Educational Psychology, Masters

20052008

External positions

Chair of the Global Centre for Modern Ageing Human Research Ethics Advisory Committee (HREAC), Global Centre for Modern Ageing

6 Dec 2023 → …

Treasurer, Positive Psychology Interest Group, Australian Psychological Society

20222023

Board Director, Early Childhood Intervention Australia Victoria/Tasmania Ltd

20182021

Board Director, Homeless Project Ltd

2018 → …

Treasurer, Australian Psychological Society

20122020

Principal Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne

2012 → …

Research area keywords

  • Belonging
  • School belonging
  • Positive Psychology
  • Social and emotional learning
  • social inclusion
  • relationships
  • Enhancing health and wellbeing
  • Educating for diversity and inclusion
  • Transforming teaching and learning

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or