Award for Outstanding Community Engagement
Vice-Chancellor's Award Winners
Global School Partners (GSP)
Dr Jann Carroll, School of Education NSW, Canberra campus, co-founded GSP with her husband. This innovative community engagement partners 16 Australian schools with 16 schools in impoverished communities in Kenya and Zimbabwe. GSP works collaboratively with all stakeholders to form mutually beneficial relationships based upon sustainable partnerships. Working with mutually agreed goals the partnerships build capacity aimed at alleviating poverty in practical ways and raising awareness of how education overcomes poverty. Approximately 5,500 students from Australia partner with 4,000 African students.
Each partner school in Kenya determines, through community consultation, their long term priorities creating local community engagement based on subsidiarity and participation. Strategically, all deliverables for each school's priority projects are through local business thereby creating work and strengthening the local community and economy.
Strong community leadership is provided by the Chapter in Kenya which is comprised of the directors of GSP's long term partner schools. Effective June 2014 the Chapter is now a registered not-for-profit organisation.
The GSP project aligns with ACU's mission and identity. Dr Carroll lectures in Education studies in the B. ED (Primary), specifically in teaching EDSS428/468 (Connecting Society and Environment for Learning) and the Core Curriculum unit UNCC100 (Our World: Community and Vulnerability). In her teaching, Dr Carroll uses her experience with GSP to encourage students to see beyond borders and the boundaries of their immediate circumstances to broaden their perspectives and to live the principles of Human Flourishing.
GSP as a community engagement program exemplifies sustained and strategic involvement of University, community and partner organisations creating hope for a better tomorrow through education that enables students in partner schools to achieve their full potential. Central to this community engagement are the principles of human flourishing and the dignity of all.
Further, the commitment of stakeholders in the development of the partnerships, sustainability, mutuality and the holistic nature of the project brings hope to the wider community through the attainment of self-sustainability and the common good.
Critical reflection and research undertaken by GSP has to-date focused on the quest for quality education, culturally appropriate teacher training and capacity building. In 2015, a Kenyan PhD candidate will investigate the impact of digital tools to improve basic literacy.
In future, the potential exists to work with GSP to replicate their innovative framework across ACU Faculties and Beyond Borders' community engagements. GSP hopes that the Faculty of Educations and Arts and the Faculty of Health Sciences and their students will participate in GSP for their future community engagements.
2013 Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups in Schools Project
2013 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is awarded to Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups in Schools Project: a program from the Faculty of Education, Ballarat Campus, focused on strengthening community capacity in the Ballarat region by providing children and families with access to supported playgroups in five local primary schools.
Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups in Schools Project, Ballarat (Connecting Schools) is an innovative community capacity-building program conducted by ACU's Faculty of Education at Ballarat campus and its many partners: the Catholic Education Office Ballarat, Ballarat City Council (Best Start), Playgroup Victoria, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and five regional primary schools from both State and Catholic sectors.
Dr Karen McLean, Lecturer in Education/Curriculum from the Faculty of Education at Ballarat Campus, is to be applauded as a leading contributor to the success of Connecting Schools, facilitating the development of the project and research into its effectiveness, liaising with the many partners involved, building community pride in the project, and enabling the supported playgroup concept to spread to other schools in Ballarat, with an increase in attendance numbers and regularity of attendance.
Since its inception in 2011, Connecting Schools has developed and strengthened the partnership of the University, state and local government bodies, schools and community agencies. Dr McLean's involvement has included research into the effects of supported playgroups that will continue in 2014. Her work enables the partnership to evaluate its achievements formally, and has strengthened the already exceptional community co-operation and capacity in Ballarat. Research findings will have the potential to underpin the replication of Connecting Schools in other regions in Victoria.
Connecting Schools aligns closely with ACU's mission and identity, working collaboratively with all stakeholders to serve the common good by supporting families in marginalised and disadvantaged communities. It offers assistance with parenting, education and service provision, and builds a strong sense of community connection. In addition, it contributes to the preparation of highly competent ACU graduates through their experience of leadership, of working with families, and of the social and ethical dimensions of their lives as professionals in the community.
2012 Future in Youth, Timor Leste
2012 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is awarded to Future in Youth, Timor Leste: a program from the School of Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences. Future in Youth in Baucau is an innovative community capacity building program that engages children and youth through sport.
Future in Youth (FIY) is an innovative community capacity building program that engages children and youth in Baucau, Timor Leste through sport. Dr Ross Smith and Dr Paul Callery from the School of Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences developed FIY at the invitation of the Institute for Advancing Community Engagement.
The key stakeholders in the program are: Australian Catholic University, School of Exercise Science and Faculty of Health Sciences; Catholic Parish, Baucau; Baucau Football Association; Timor Leste Football Association; Football Federation of Australia; Toll Holdings, Timor Leste; Catholic Education Office, Melbourne; and Nylec Products, Melbourne.
Dr Callery is to be applauded on his commitment to, and leadership of, the Future in Youth program. ACU students, or Team ACU as they are known, are the backbone of the program and excel under Dr Callery's leadership. The students experience significant personal and professional transformation.
The School of Exercise Science and Faculty of Health Sciences are to be commended for embedding FIY in the University's teaching, learning and research. The Faculty, School and the FIY partners have achieved sustained support and strategic development of FIY, which has become an internationally recognised ACU community engagement program.
FIY outcomes have included capacity building, personal and community health and wellbeing, equity and personal leadership and communication skills. A significant impact has been the increase in social connectedness for participants.
In 2012, FIY explored the potential to expand beyond Baucau into two other towns in Timor Leste. The program is also being considered for potential implementation in Australia and other countries.
For more information: http://www.acu.edu.au/273376
2011 National Church Life Survey (NCLS)
The winner of the 2011 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is the National Church Life Survey (NCLS).
National Church Life Survey is a research-based community engagement that has, since its inception in 1991, developed and enhanced connections between Church and community. The National Church Life Survey, the primary project of NCLS Research, is a survey instrument completed nationally by thousands of local churches across 23 denominations every five years.
The key stakeholders in the program are Australian Catholic University, through Associate Professor Ruth Powell, Director, NCLS Research, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Anglicare Diocese of Sydney and Uniting Mission and Education, Uniting Church, NSW and ACT Synod.
NCLS is reflective of the original community needs and, over time has adapted its research tools to be inclusive of the wider community. This flexible, multidimensional approach provides research that is responsive and reflective of community needs and changing community contexts.
The NCLS is the largest survey in Australia after the National Census. The 2011 NCLS involved 4500 local churches in 23 Christian denominations and movements and over a quarter of a million church attenders and 10 000 leaders completed surveys during 2011
Australian Churches and their communities use the NCLS research for capacity building that strengthens local Church communities across the nation so they can more effectively engage and make a difference in their own and the wider community.
Australian Catholic University students benefit from access to the NCLS research data, a rich foundation for studying faith and Church contexts.
The internationally recognised NCLS generates new knowledge for Australian Churches and informs them on matters of social capital, building stronger communities and Australian spirituality and wellbeing thereby creating hope for a better tomorrow as part for the University's Beyond Differences community engagement theme.
This research–based community engagement exemplifies sustained and strategic involvement of partner organisations in Australia and internationally and is an inspiration to the wider Church, other universities and research institutions.
2010 Refugee Program on the Thai-Burma border
The winner of the 2010 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is the Refugee Program on the Thai-Burma border.
The Australian Catholic University Refugee Program on the Thai-Burma Border provides Burmese refugees and migrants with quality, accredited tertiary education.
The key stakeholders in the program are Australian Catholic University (through the ACU Refugee Program in the Faculty of Education and Arts), the Refugee Tertiary Education Committee – an initiative of the Australian Jesuits, Marist Mission Ranong, and York University.
Ranong Computer Room
The program generates hope in the disadvantaged communities which it services: many of the graduates who remain in Thailand continue to work for refugees and migrants, while those who resettle in third countries are able to gain entry to university with a scholarship on the basis of their ACU testamur.
This educational initiative exemplifies sustained and strategic involvement of partner organisations in Australia and internationally and is an inspiration to other universities and institutions to follow suit in protracted refugee situations. Through the research it generates, it reinforces advocacy efforts on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, non-governmental organisations and governments to do more for tertiary education for refugees.