WIL Leadership Vignette 03:
What was learned from this:
For the teaching team, the outcome is the recognition that Work Integrated Learning seems to be most effective when there has been careful preparation, the development of a reflective turn of mind and flexibility in the pedagogical approaches so that the workplace’s demands for versatility do not come as a disabling shock.
Context of the event, experience or activity:
Griffith University, located in South East Queensland, with five campuses and 40,000 students, was one of the first university in Australia to introduce Work Integrated Learning across all disciplines. In 2008, Humanities at Griffith decided to introduce Work Integrated Learning into the Bachelor of Arts, becoming the first university in Australia to do so. The Social Enterprise core stream was introduced in that year, comprising six units –one for each semester in the three year degree. The placement followed at the beginning of the third year and a final unit allowed students to reflect upon their whole degree and to present a showcase in which they could display their achievements.
Description of the event, experience or activity:
There were several challenges presented in developing the Social enterprise stream, both from the curriculum and from the student management points of view. The curriculum needed to incorporate practices and approaches that were not always familiar to students being trained in research into such disciplines as history and literary studies. While there was initial student resistance – Arts students do not have a culture of undertaking compulsory studies- as the years have gone on, this has diminished, and more students have realised that the suite enables them "to make a difference" – one of the ideals that they ascribe to. Placements vary across the community and voluntary sector, with some of our Industry Partners being traditional charity organisations, while many are active social enterprises.
Many of our students have reported that the placement experience has changed their lives and career directions.
Susanna Chamberlain is Convenor of Griffith’s Bachelor of Arts Social Enterprise core stream.