09 Apr Jacinthe Brosseau & Valentine Mukuria – Re-positioning university-community engagement
This webinar presents anecdotal evidence from the perspective of a peak body for volunteering and a university in repositioning university-community engagement. The presenters will discuss some of the issues and challenges that arise in designing student volunteer experiences that meet the host organisations expectations and achieve the anticipated student learning outcomes.
This webinar is based on a vital question that arose in the pseudo dialogical inquiry process of collaboration: “What are the challenges we face and prospects that arise when coming together to design activities, or projects that meet both the academic rigour and community benefit expectations?” One of the prospects highlighted is the role of a volunteering peak body in being a conduit between its members (community organisations) and the university.
The peak body tends to be ideally placed to look at challenges and practicalities of matching student volunteers to community organisations and not just trying to “fit” students in. On the other hand, universities face the challenge of ensuring student learning outcomes are met in the process of engagement with and in the community organisations (particularly in service-learning models). As a result, some of the quandaries revolve around: How are students prepared to engage with the community organisation and how well equipped are the community organisations to guide the student learning process? The presenters will discuss their understandings around increasing the capacity of community organisations through conduits such as volunteer peak bodies, and engaging community organisations in the curriculum design process – viewing these organisations as partners in education.