Community Engagement receives global recognition with Uniservitate

An ACU Engagement update:

ACU has been selected as one of 20 international institutions to participate in Uniservitate, a global program for the development and promotion of service-learning in Catholic higher education institutions. Service-learning, also known as community engagement at ACU, is a teaching method that unites community service with academic instruction.

In ACU, service-learning is inspired by the gospel values and speaks directly to the university mission; it is a practical way of responding to social inequity and injustice in the context of academic learning.  

Led by the Latin American Centre for Service-Learning (CLAYSS), and through the support of the international philanthropic organisation PORTICUS, Uniservitate’s aim is to generate a systematic change in Catholic higher education by integrating academic learning with community engagement. The program is a response to Pope Francis’ call for the Church to “go out to the peripheries”, offering students opportunities to involve “heads, hands and hearts” to create a more just and supportive society, and thereby construct the “civilisation of love”.

National Community Engagement Manager Dr Matthew Pink said, “I am thrilled with our acceptance into the Uniservitate program. This provides ACU with a fantastic opportunity to learn from the global Catholic higher education network and to share our work on the international stage. I am excited to see the practical manifestation of this collaboration evolve in the coming years.” 

Through our mission, ACU is committed to ensuring that all students and staff have the opportunity to make a contribution to their community that is feasible and meaningful to them, and to work with communities in a way that is valuable and respectful. This is available to all staff through our Community Engagement Time Release Policy

ACU has a long history of involvement with community engagement both domestically and internationally, and in 2020 over 3,500 students took part in a community engagement experience with a community which experiences disadvantage or marginalisation.

As one of only three universities in the Asia-Pacific region selected to participate in this  program, ACU will be working with Assam Don Bosco University (India) and Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan) to further enhance the institutionalisation and quality of our service-learning/community engagement program. We will also have the opportunity to share our experience of how service-learning has been applied in an Australian context. 

The Uniservitate program runs for the next two years and involves online symposia; training for university leaders; and the identification of, and action toward, key areas of development for participating universities. 

By providing our students and staff with more opportunities to be agents of social change for the common good, this will also strengthen our identity as a Catholic university. 

If you have any enquiries or for more information, please contact Dr Matthew Pink

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