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Victoria University is set to institute a series of civic engagement programmes in 2018.
Coined “Victoria Values”, the credit-based initiative would involve “embedded experiential learning” within undergraduate qualifications.
This could potentially take the form of practical, out-of-class activities, such as internships or volunteering with community, government, or private sector organisations.
A discussion paper on the programme articulated a desire to upscale existing civic engagement activities and “embed these more fully in the curriculum where appropriate.”
Most existing initiatives were fairly small-scale, and “not necessarily well-supported by the university.”
Wendy Larner, Victoria University’s Provost, referred to the global trend of universities considering how to “develop that whole bundle of skills that we all know employers say they value most about students.”
Existing co-curricular programmes Victoria Plus and the Victoria International Leadership Programme (VILP) are both badge systems. Larner described Victoria Plus and VILP as “terrific co-curricular programmes” and stressed that they would continue to exist.
Larner said there had been “huge amounts” of consultation to date, and student voices would continue to be heard as part of “a broader consultation” once the Learning and Teaching Committee finalises more specifics.
VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin confirmed that the initiative is in its early stages, and a lot has yet to be determined. However he stated that Victoria Values “is an exciting new exploration that the university is making about rediscovering the civic focus that is such a valuable and important part of a tertiary institution such as Vic.”
Lenihan-Ikin confirmed that co-production between staff and students in the developmental stages of the programme “is at the heart of this exploration.”
VUWSA Academic Vice-President Isabella Lenihan-Ikin will meet with the Vice-Provost (Academic and Equity), to “further VUWSA’s contribution in the planning discussions.”
An upcoming conference in Canada will also provide opportunity to “look further into the design of Victoria Values.”
Massey University provides several core civics courses in its Bachelor of Arts programme, including Turangawaewae: Identity & Belonging in Aotearoa NZ, Tu Rangaranga: Global Encounters, and Tu Tira Mai: Practising Engagement.
Massey describes these “citizenship core courses” as important because it is “an area of strategic importance to the university, New Zealand, and beyond.”
Unlike Massey’s programme, Victoria Values will be embedded in all qualifications across the board.