CDU to host 2007 AUCEA Community Engagement Conference 


Charles Darwin University will host the next Australian University Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA) conference in Alice Springs on 2 - 4 July 2007.  CDU’s Coordinator Community Engagement, Linda Cuttriss and PVC Community and Access, Don Zoellner made the announcement in Perth last week at the 2006 AUCEA Conference hosted by Curtin University of Technology.

The 2007 AUCEA conference theme will be The Scholarship of Community Engagement: Australia’s way forward.  International, national and local speakers, refereed and non-refereed papers, workshops and panel discussions will address:

  • workable university-wide models for community engagement
  • best practice engaged teaching, learning and research
  • diverse methods and approaches for diverse communities
  • systems for measuring and benchmarking engagement

The 2006 AUCEA Conference (July 12 -14) theme was Embedding Community Engagement.  Charles Darwin University was well represented with three papers presented:

  • Linda Cuttriss and Ruth Wallace: Taking it Down the Track - realigning universities’ activities to regional communities’ priorities
  • Paul Royce: Beer, Bananas, Barramundi and Biosecurity- a community engagement project in Kununurra
  • Martin Jarvis: Social Justice Flows from Music in the Community – a practical example in the Northern Territory
  • Conference proceedings will be available on the AUCEA website in the coming weeks.

The Territory was also represented by Paul Rajan, Director Community Engagement, Department of the Chief Minister, NT Government.  Paul’s national keynote address provided a government and community sector perspective on university-community engagement.  Paul’s insights were refreshing, at times challenging and had a powerful impact on the delegates.  His key take home message was to listen to our communities.  Paul’s message will ensure that business, industry, government, non-government and Indigenous perceptions of university-community engagement will be a focus of the dialogue and debate at next year’s conference.

The international keynote speaker, Josef Lazarans is the Director of the Community - Higher Education – Service Partnerships (CHESP) of JET Educational Services in South Africa.  The broad aim of CHESP is to assist the National Department of Education, the South African Education Council of Higher Education and South African universities with the conceptualisation and implementation of community engagement as an integrated and core function of higher education.  The strategy to achieve this aim is to support the development of pilot initiatives, monitor, evaluate and research the initiatives and use the data to inform higher education policy and practice at national, institutional and program levels.  Josef’s key message was the importance of leadership at the executive and operational levels of universities.

The Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Education, Science and Training closed the conference with a resounding endorsement of the importance of two-way mutually beneficial relationships between universities and their communities for the economic and social benefit of their regions.  The Minister believes engagement is fundamental to a diverse higher education system, that the Research Quality Framework is vital for quality, impact and international benchmarking of research and stressed the importance of effective connections and pathways for technical innovation.

Linda Cuttriss will be coordinating the 2007 AUCEA Community Engagement Conference with the support of conference organisers and a steering committee.  Any CDU staff who would like to engage their students or community, industry or government partners in participating at the conference are invited to contact Linda on 8946 6336 or

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