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Community Engagement: Theory into Practice (IL017)

This module offers a rather different experience from other university courses. Whilst having the chance to investigate and reflect on your own aspirations and values, you will also complete 30 to 40 hours of volunteering in a local not-for-profit organisation or similar setting. During Autumn term 2018, you will be matched with a community-identified project, ready to start volunteering on your project when you begin the module at the beginning of 2019. This course will encourage you to reflect on and enhance your practical experience in a community-engaged setting. You will explore the links between academic study and community engagement within a framework of respect, reciprocity, relevance and reflection.

The module will combine theoretical understandings from your home discipline with new interdisciplinary perspectives and apply them to practical, real world problems in communities outside the university. We will investigate and reflect on what can be learned from engagement with communities and with community-identified problems, and you will test the relationship between theory and practice, reflecting collectively and individually on the emergent learning that results.

The content catered to every single individual in the class and included the interdisciplinary aspect in every single session.
– 2016/17 student


In order to ensure that volunteering arrangements are solidly in place for Spring 2019, there will be two pre-meetings in Autumn 2018, to be arranged to suit student timetables.

The module will then consist of ten two-hour sessions, in addition to the community-based project. Some weeks, a guest lecturer will examine aspects of community engagement from the perspective of their particular discipline. With these perspectives in mind, you will work in the second half of each session with the module convenor to develop your learning in an interdisciplinary manner, including reflection on practical project experience. Other weeks will be workshop style throughout.

A very welcoming atmosphere was created which made it easy to share and develop personal ideas. I enjoyed the great speakers from a range of departments as this really expanded my thinking - and I especially enjoyed the group discussions, because these allowed me to explore, question and consolidate my thinking.
– 2016/17 student

Please note: Consistent attendance each week is essential to the development of critically reflective responses to theory and practice for this module, including successful assignment writing.


The module is assessed through a critically reflective presentation and essay, each of which brings together theoretical perspectives with emergent learning and reflection on your practical experience as a volunteer.

Critical reflection in an academic context is new for many students - effective approaches to reflecting on practice will be developed through classroom exercises and peer support throughout the module, and formative work and written resources will be used to support the development of academic critical reflection.

Everyone participated equally and this was very successfully facilitated. I feel genuinely enlightened by the ability to challenge my preconceptions of the world through other disciplines. Very nice to have some assessed presentation and self-reflection - made a wonderful change from the norm.
– 2016/17 student

Indicative weekly topics

  1. Introduction to community engagement: emergent learning and reflective practice
  2. Participation, democracy and development: the history of an ideal
  3. Listening and talking to strangers – language/s, engagement/s, communities
  4. Doing engaged social research in the twenty-first century university
  5. How social change happens? The abolition of slavery in the British Empire
  6. Reflecting critically, engaging fully – communities and universities working in partnership
  7. Assessed presentations
  8. Biological understandings of 'community'
  9. Inter-culturality and cultural dominances
  10. Community engagement and you – your project experience and your future plans

Module Convenor

Mark Hinton
M dot E dot Hinton at warwick dot ac dot uk

Any questions about the module? Please do feel free to email me!


Term 2 (Spring) 2018-19
Thursdays 11.00-13.00


Humanities Studio
Humanities Building


For 15 CATS

Presentation (40%)
2500 word reflective essay (60%)

For 12 CATS

Presentation (40%)
1500 word reflective essay (60%)