Doing What we Know we Should: Engaged scholarship and community development

Bruce Muirhead
Geoff Woolcock


In Australia, engaged scholarship oriented towards community development objectives has yet to be recognised in funding regimes as being inherently beneficial in terms of scholarly excellence and university rankings. While the civic role of universities is acknowledged by individual universities, higher education management and at the Federal policy level, they are most often framed as funding problems related to ‘community service’ rather than as research opportunities which can raise the university’s profile by providing the basis for excellent research outputs and community enrichment. Community engagement has become a familiar term in the Australian higher education lexicon in recent years but there is still little institutional infrastructure that directly embodies the principles and sentiment of community engagement evident in current Australian universities. In this paper, the inaugural Director and Research Manager of the University of Queensland’s Community Service and Research Centre reflect on their five years leading a Centre that was/has been privileged to enjoy significant institutional support and the lessons learnt in forging into unknown territories. The reflections focus on the Centre’s seminal project, the Goodna Service Integration Project.

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