International Community Engagement PhD Scholarship

About this scholarship

International community engagement programs offered through universities have the potential to provide transformative, though challenging, learning opportunities for students (Green, 2019; Kollman & Morgan, 2014). A primary challenge of such programs is how to shape rich, authentic learning experiences for students that avoid ‘cultural tourism’ (Addleman, Nava, Cevallos, Brazo, & Dixon, 2014), while benefitting the community which they serve and ensuring reciprocity. While the body of research on the pedagogy of international community engagement has increased in recent years (Hepple et al., 2017; Pink et al., 2016), several questions remain regarding the impact of such programs on the community, their sustainability, and best practice for university-community partnerships in developing nations.


We are seeking a suitable PhD candidate to conduct research on international university-community engagement. The study would include an evaluation of a flagship ACU international community engagement program that serves communities experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation. Conceivably, this research may include exploring the experience of university students engaging in the program, the perspectives of university and community members, mutual benefits for community and university, and the conditions that lead to these outcomes. The approach to the study (e.g. sociological, psychological, etc.) is left to the discretion of the PhD candidate and their supervisory team. This scholarship would contribute to advancing understanding of what works and what does not in international community engagement programs.

One scholarship will be available that includes a focus on international community engagement programs. We welcome applications from individuals with an academic background and/or professional experience in:

  • Community engagement
  • Social work
  • Public health
  • International development
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Or a related discipline

In addition to the application documentation, we invite PhD applicants to submit a cover letter no more than three pages outlining their interest in the specific topic area. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Sandra Jones or Dr Chloe Gordon in ACU Engagement to discuss ideas before preparing an application.

At ACU, our commitment to community is part of the university mission. We value community engagement as a key means of advancing our mission in serving the common good and enhancing the dignity and wellbeing of people and communities. It is integral to our teaching, learning and research. Integral to our vision of community engagement are the five principles of building

connections, acting with humility, developing understanding, affirming dignity, and pursuing justice. Please see our website for more information about ACU’s approach to community engagement.

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Application dates

Open Date: Thursday 23 May 2019

Close Date: Monday 03 June 2019


  • a tax-free stipend of $27,596 per annum (indexed annually) for 3 years;
  • funding for project costs;
  • a Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship (that is, a tuition fee waiver) for domestic candidates; and
  • an ACU tuition fee waiver and Overseas Student Health Care Policy for international candidates.

Student type

Current Students Or Future Students

Application process

This scholarship is open to domestic applicants willing to commence in Research Term C 2019 (from July) and to domestic and international applicants willing to commence in Research Term A 2020 (from January).

Applicants should stipulate that they are applying for the “International Community Engagement PhD Scholarship” on their application form.

  • If you are not currently enrolled in a research degree at ACU, visit the ACU Research webpage for instructions on how to submit your application
  • If you are currently enrolled in a research degree at ACU, please download the application form for currently enrolled candidates from Orion and submit all required documentation to the Candidature Services team on

Applicants should also include:

  • A cover letter of no more than three pages outlining their interest in the specific topic area, alignment of research experience and interests and other evidence of how they meet the scholarship-specific criteria listed above. The cover letter would include specific area of research, aims, methodology, feasibility, timeline, and a preliminary survey of sources.
  • A copy of their CV that includes evidence of academic excellence; skills in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods; previous research experience; and ability to contribute to a team.


For more information contact:

Prof Sandra Jones ( Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement

Dr Chloe Gordon ( Research Associate, ACU Engagement

For general candidature enquiries, email Candidature Services on, with the subject line ‘Community Engagement PhD Scholarship.’

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