Community Engagement

Community engagement is valuable because it gives students direct examples of how their work can bring about positive change. It involves connecting with the public in order to improve some part of their community. 

It is also a good way to understand how diverse society is. Much like a workplace setting, working within the community will show students how to co-operate with different processes, resources and values. This is a useful exercise in learning ways of communicating with others.

The community partners can be local, national or international and therefore integrate well with the other graduate attributes.

The social change wheel gives some examples of rich ways that community engagement can be passed on to our students.

Social change wheel 2

The kaupapa outlined below are overarching ideas on which to base more specific pedagogy, activities and experiences. Learning outcomes can be linked directly to them, as can course assessments. They provide a macro view to inform curriculum and do not define how these are to be applied to individual programmes of study. 

Engaged with the Community Kaupapa


Engagement: Gaining knowledge and understanding of a community by interacting with a community



Reflection: Gaining knowledge and understanding of a community through reflection on one’s experience with that community.


Self and local

Application: Understanding and articulating how the content and/or skills of the subject/programme enhances the community.




  • Keep a 'news journal' reporting and reflection on community issues reported in the local paper or radio
  • Volunteer with a local community organisation
  • Contribute to a blog or ongoing journal to capture experiences and reflections
  • Listen to in-class speakers from the community (eg professional, civic, social)
  • Apply academic or personal perspectives to their experience of the community through in-class discussion, presentation or assessments
  • Contribute to a community organisation-driven research project in which the organisation identifies the question to be answered or problem to be solved
  • Write a reflection report relative to the discipline
  • Speaking or writing to individuals, groups or officials on behalf of a cause
  • Developing marketing plans or other consultant work to benefit a small business or community group
  • Organising and facilitating social change movements
  • Mapping skills, interests, relationships and other assets of residents to inform work on particular issues
  • Organising ongoing community projects or discussions
  • Create a piece of work intended to bring awareness to an issue
  • Launch a business with a clear social benefit