Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

300 hours in total with a normal expectation of 48 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 48 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Unit rationale, description and aim

As places of learning and believing, Catholic schools contribute to the evangelising mission of the church. School communities have a deep theological foundation and spiritual traditions and charisms can assist in realising the ecclesial identity and mission of schools. In various ways, the Vatican documents on Catholic education and schooling express the mission of these Catholic institutions in terms of integrating faith, life and culture. This unit, to be taught at the Rome Campus of ACU, will focus on key documents concerning Catholic Education and schooling, the role of schools in realising the mission of the Church and how spiritualties and charisms can contribute to the culture of Catholic schools and communio. Students experience the history and culture of the Catholic Church as it has developed overtime by visiting key historical and contemporary sites in Rome, Subiaco and Assisi. 

The aim of this unit is that, through immersion in the Catholic Christian tradition in Rome, students will understand and be able to articulate the function and purpose of Catholic schools as an expression of the mission of the Church. 

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 - Identify key understandings and church teachings foundational to the mission and purpose of Catholic education and schools (GA4, GA8; APST 6.2 Lead)

LO2 - Critique contrasting and contested understandings of the mission and identity of Catholic schools in various cultural contexts (GA5, GA8; APST 6.3 Lead)

LO3 - Explore and analyse the ecclesial identity of Catholic schools and implications for developing schools as communities of faith (GA4, GA6; APST 6.2 Lead)

LO4 - Investigate Benedictine, Franciscan, and Marian spiritualities and related charisms which may help realise the mission of Catholic schools and inform their identity (GA4, GA6; APST 6.1, 7.4 Lead)

LO5 - Identify, analyse and report on issues of substantial importance for Catholic education internationally (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 6.4 Lead)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Lead

On successful  completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

6.1 Identify and plan professional learning needs

Use comprehensive knowledge of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to plan and lead the development of professional learning policies and programs that address the professional learning needs of colleagues and pre-service teachers

6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice

Initiate collaborative relationships to expand professional learning opportunities, engage in research, and provide quality opportunities and placements for pre-service teachers.

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice

Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students. 

 6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning

Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning. 

7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities

Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities. 


Topics will include:

  • Mission and purpose of Catholic schools
  • Church documents on Catholic education and schooling
  • Historical overview of purpose and function of Catholic education and schooling
  • Contemporary realities of Catholic schools
  • Realising mission
  • Ecclesial identity of Catholic schools
  • Communio and Catholic school culture
  • Leading for mission in educational settings including international settings
  • Schools as communities of faith
  • Catholic spiritual traditions
  • Spiritualities as culture in Catholic schools
  • Spirituality and Charism with Catholic schools

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is only taught at the Rome campus and is delivered in face-to-face mode using an active learning approach to support students investigation Catholic Education from an international and cultural perspective. Students explore Church documents related to the function and purpose of Catholic schools, theoretical and practical expressions of a variety of spiritualties, and visit a variety of sites significant to the Catholic Church and its mission of education throughout the world. Students have the opportunity to attend lectures at various Vatican dicasteries and to engage is workshops focused on various topics related to contemporary Catholic education contributing to the construction and synthesis of knowledge. The site visits to locations such as Congregation of Catholic Education, Assist and Subiaco blend explicit knowledge with a priori knowledge and posteriori knowledge. Prior to departing for Rome and on return from Rome students attend online sessions to participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge gained. 

The learning and teaching strategy facilitates active involvement of participants in a variety of pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and the strategy is responsive to the diverse contexts of individual students and cohorts from various dioceses. 

This unit is offered on the Rome campus of ACU and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the various elements of culture, spirituality and mission of Catholic Education.

The unit is taught in face-to-face mode in Rome over a three week period. Prior to and after the Rome experience, students also attend synchronous online webinars to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. Students are also supported with access to digital resources and activities available through the LEO site.

This learning and teaching strategy facilitates active participation in pedagogical approaches that include lectures, guest presentations, site visits, video presentations, liturgies and individual reading and reflection.

This is a 20 credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 300 hours in total. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc. Students should anticipate that the total time commitment to these activities will be approximately 300 hours across the semester. 

These strategies include: lectures, workshops, guest speaker presentations, site visits to places of religious significance in Rome and surrounding areas that have relevance to Catholic education and schooling, group discussions and reflection webinars and podcasts. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The first task is an extended writing piece which requires students to respond to stimulus material selected from one or more Church documents related to Catholic education and reflect on the nature of Catholic education as expressed in formal Church documents.   The second task, an analytical essay, requires students to use knowledge and understandings gained during their time in Rome to critique contemporary approaches to Catholic education from the perspectives of contemporary understandings of Christian anthropology. The third assessment task is a Case Study of contemporary Catholic schooling where the student applies the knowledge and insights gained to their specific situation with the aim of providing improvements to their local Catholic Education setting. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Extended writing task involving response to stimulus documents focusing on Church documents related to Catholic education.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Analytical Essay which requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 3

Case Study or Report which requires students to synthesise knowledge, critique their current working situation and propose changes for future improvement.



GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Convery, R., & Franchi, L (2017). Reclaiming the piazza II: Catholic education and the new evangelization. Leominster Gracewing

Congregation for Catholic Education (2017). Educating to fraternal humanism: Building a civilization of love 50 years after populorum progression. Rome: Vatican City. Available at

Congregation for Catholic Education (2014). Educating today and tomorrow: A renewing passion. Rome: Vatican City. Available at

Congregation for Catholic Education (2013).Educating to intercultural dialogue in Catholic schools: Living in harmony for a civilization of love. Rome: Vatican City. Available at:

Franchi, L. (2014). The Catholic school as a "Courtyard of the Gentiles". Journal of Catholic Education, 17(2), 57-76.

Lane, D. (2016). Catholic education in light of ‘Laudato Si’’. London: Veritas.

Lydon, J. (ed). (2018). Contemporary perspectives on Catholic education. Leominster Gracewing Ltd.

Manning, P.R. (2018)> Disintegrating worldviews and the future of Catholic education: Addressing the deep roots of Catholic disaffiliation. Journal of Catholic Education, 21(2) 26-52

Whittle, S. (Ed). (2017). Vatican II and new thinking about Catholic education: The impact and legacy of Gravissimum educationis. London: Routledge.

Whittle, S. (2018). Researching Catholic education: Contemporary perspectives. Dordrecht, NL: Springer.  

Whittle, S. (ed) (2021). New thinking, new scholarship and new research in Catholic education: Responses to the work of Professor Gerald Grace. London: Routledge

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs