Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


UNCC100 Self and Community: Exploring the Anatomy of Modern Society OR PHCC102 Being Human OR PHCC104 Ethics and the Good Life

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

All students should graduate with an understanding of how their discipline contributes to the dignity of the human person and the common good. Awareness of societal structure and attitudes are essential to this understanding, and this awareness is impossible to attain without engaging with the community and learning within a community setting.

As the third Core Curriculum unit, HLSC301 builds on previous learning outcomes by exploring the principles of pursuing justice, acting with humility, building connections, and developing understanding in the context of community. It provides an opportunity for students to undertake work in a community placement, where they can explore the role and complexities of an organisation in supporting community. This community involvement provides a vehicle for self-development and reflective practice in the student, and will help them understand how their discipline contributes to society. The values of partnership, diversity, equity, equality, mutual respect, empathy, and commitment are emphasised. The transformative experiences provided by this unit empower students to better implement these values and prepare them for successful interactions with their community upon completion of their degree. This unit aims to enhance awareness of the importance of self-determination and capacity building for healthy communities.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain the principles and importance of community engagement (GA1, GA2)

LO2 - Discuss the mission, aims, objectives and functions of different types of public sector and non-profit organisations that support student placement and build capacity in the community (GA1, GA2)

LO3 - Discuss factors that can impact on the roles and functions of volunteers within a public sector or non-profit organisation (GA1)

LO4 - Reflect critically on how ethical and professional perspectives inform decision making and create empathy in a volunteer setting (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5)

LO5 - Reflect critically on self- transformation that has occurred during community engagement (GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - Demonstrates values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and profession


Topics will include:

Principles of community engagement

  • Respect for human dignity
  • Mutuality and reciprocity
  • Forging partnerships for transformation

Focus of community engagement locally, nationally, and internationally

Volunteers in public-sector, private-sector, and non-profit community organisations

  • Roles, functions, and stakeholder relationships
  • Stakeholder issues
  • Ethical issues
  • Risk management
  • Reflection and reciprocity

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit combines classroom learning with learning in a community setting. A theoretical understanding of discipline-related issues in society can be gained by engaging with research and classroom learning. However, understanding the importance of discipline knowledge for the functioning of communities is best attained through learning in the community.

Workshops prepare students for their community experience. Literature research, peer discussions, and self-directed work create an explicit awareness of personal transformation, support learning for assessments, and deepen learning during placements.

Each student completes 60 hours of volunteer placement in a community organisation. Placements provide students with an opportunity to engage and grow relationships in a community, and also provide students first-hand experience and insight into the challenges and resilience of individuals and groups.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments in this unit are designed for students to develop theoretical and practical knowledge of community engagement. For the Hurdle Task, some students will be working in a volunteer setting that may include working with children and young people. It is essential that all students are prepared for the possibility. The Safeguarding Children and Young People Portal includes a range of relevant research publications and resources, tools, and professional development opportunities to increase capacity to protect children and young people.

For the Sector Report, students undertake literature-based research to report on the sector of the community in which they plan to complete their placement. This assists students to recognise relevant societal pressures affecting communities, and helps students prepare for placement into the sector.

For the Fieldwork Report, students track the progress of their placement and report on the function of the host organisation, the organisation's role in community, and their own contribution to the host organisation. This assists students to track their transformation.

For the Reflective Piece, students apply reflective learning theory from workshops to reflect on and communicate their experiences in their community placement.

Assessment outputs can then be used reflectively by students as they transition into the workforce post University.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle ACU Child Safe Organisations online module

To develop knowledge and understanding of the importance of wellbeing, rights, safety, dignity, and taking a preventative, proactive and participatory

approach to the protection of children and young people.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2

Sector Report

Students will write a literature report focusing on a community issue, aimed at preparing the student for their unique community placement.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3

Fieldwork report

Students will report on their community placement by describing (i) the workplace and the nature of the work conducted by the organisation,

(ii) their progress during placement, and (iii) the type of work expected of them.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5

Reflective Piece

Students will describe their perceptions of activities and experiences undertaken during the placement and reflect on how their university

studies aided them in the completion of their placement.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Faculty of Health Sciences Professional Practice Experience Guidelines and Protocols

Gardinier, L. (2017). Service-learning through community engagement: what community partners and members gain, lose, and learn from campus collaborations. Springer Publishing Company, LLC.

Hicks Peterson, T. (2018). Student development and social justice critical learning, radical healing, and community engagement (1st Edition). Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.

Macías-Gómez-Estern, B., Árias-Sánchez, S. , Marco-Macarro, M. J., Cabillas-Romero, M. R., & Martínez-Lozano, V. (2019). Does service learning make a difference? Comparing students’ valuations in service learning and non-service-learning teaching of psychology. Studies in Higher Education, 1–11. doi:10.1080/03075079.2019.1675622

Mackay, H. (2013). Good life: what makes a life worth living? Pan MacMillan.

Mtawa, N. N. (2019). Human development and community engagement through service-learning: the capability approach and public good in education (1st Edition). Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.

Parlier, T. R., Rocconi, L. M., Skolits, G., & Davidson, C. T. (2020). The effect of learning community participation on community college students’ perceptions of learning gains and engagement. Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

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