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New Community Engagement course in wake of earthquake

University of Canterbury developing new Community Engagement course in wake of 22 February earthquake

Academics across the University of Canterbury are developing a new 15-point community engagement course which it intends to offer to all University of Canterbury students and the wider community.

It is anticipated that CHCH 101: An Introduction to Community Engagement will be offered in semester two and during 2011-2012 summer school.

The academic component of the course will be delivered online. In addition, there will be a practical service learning requirement.

“The primary focus for the course is the theory and practice of community engagement,” said University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor, Dr Rod Carr. “There is a well-researched body of knowledge about community engagement techniques and practices that are more likely to be effective whether you are supporting a traumatised community, building consensus about medium-term plans or supporting established organisations. We can learn by studying the thinking and experience of others while at the same time creating new ways of engaging which reflect our special history, culture and circumstances.

“Many of our students and members of the wider community have already participated in numerous community-based efforts and the University would like to build on these experiences and future possibilities for community engagement, as connectors to academic disciplines through service learning.”

Students’ course fees for CHCH 101 will be waived for those who undertake the practical service requirement of the course in the Canterbury region. Where course service requirements are performed outside the Canterbury region, students enrolled in CHCH 101 will be asked to make a donation to the UC Foundation to support research and teaching in service learning.

There will be no pre-requisites to enrol in CHCH 101, however students under 20 years old will require UE or its equivalent. The course will be offered both as a Certificate of Proficiency to those not seeking credit towards a full degree programme of study or potentially as part of degree programmes.


“Whether the course counts towards a particular degree programme is a matter that will be determined on a programme by programme basis by the University of Canterbury Academic Board and Programme Managers and will in some cases require review and approval by professional bodies. CHCH 101 will also require the same regulatory approval as other newly-established courses.”

The new paper does not seek to replace any existing courses or degree requirements.

“We are in a position to offer current and new students a unique learning opportunity as Christchurch is rebuilt. CHCH 101 will add real value to our students’ degree studies. It will equip them for the contribution that they will go on to make as future citizens making a difference in the communities of which they choose to be a part.”

More details about the CHCH 101 programme delivery will be released in the coming weeks.

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