Macquarie University, Australia
Abstract In 2008-09 Macquarie University engaged in a major review of its undergraduate curriculum. A distinctive outcome was the inclusion of a professional and community engagement (PACE) component as a general requirement in all undergraduate programs. PACE builds on traditions of practice-based learning, service learning and volunteering. It is designed to provide ALL undergraduate students with a participatory experience, embedded firmly within a rigorous academic framework with real learning outcomes and authentic learning assessments. In 2013, over 3800 students underwent a PACE experience with over 450 partners.
An important component of the PACE program is PACE international which provides opportunities for students to engage with partner organisations internationally, providing a global experience that prepares students for the reality of the globalized world. Whilst not as extensive as the domestic offerings, PACE International places students in international projects and internships in a huge range of countries including India, Borneo, Peru, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and via on-line delivery on-campus.
Initial anecdotal evidence has highlighted the transformative nature of the PACE program in general, and PACE international in particular, but we have implemented an ongoing research and evaluation framework (built around interviews, focus groups and surveys) to ensure that student and partner experiences and outcomes are as desired. The showcase presentation highlights the trajectory of the PACE international program and presents early data gleaned from that research.