ACU National possesses a unique position within the community. Our history, our mission, our population, and our goals provide our thrust towards progressive change for social justice.
Recognising that the community is not a laboratory for research, nor a funding source for higher education, careful consideration is given to initiating programs that best meet the needs of the community. Structures are strengthened to allow the University to deploy its resources and complement efforts to social concerns — students, faculty, research, curriculum, outreach and infrastructure – are directed toward community building. Our partnership principles are governed by reciprocity, accountability, and sustainability.
- Students represent the diversity in our community. Beyond ethnic and cultural diversity, students are diverse in age, backgrounds, family needs and financial situations. Faculty curriculum, pedagogy, and extra-curricular services ensure the recruitment, retention and success of the diverse student body.
- Teaching is value-based and responsive to the community we serve, encouraging students to be responsible and effective in the real world. Learning in the community is supplemented with learning in the classroom. The curriculum is continually updated and adapted to meet changing community needs. So academic learning is carefully developed and applied to concrete and collaborative problem-solving efforts in the community.
- Research underpins community needs. Opportunities for research programs are designed to address the critical current problems and issues facing our community. We help to develop a sense of respect for diverse values that surround us, and encourage our staff and students in their civic and moral development, and their sense of individual and collective social responsibility
- University connections are multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary, to meet the challenges and complexity of the modern world. Issues of culture intermingle with those of technology, history, politics and the economy. ACU National provides its students the skills needed to address these issues. Interdisciplinary problem solving is emphasised across the curriculum. Students learn to distinguish between multi-disciplinary (exposure to a mix of disciplines) and inter-disciplinary (integrating knowledge from a mix of disciplines).
Issues, problems, and projects originating outside the academy typically are not presented as neat packages. They are addressed by developing a menu of problem-solving strategies and by integrating expertise from several disciplines. The reality of working with businesses and other organizations makes student learning particularly meaningful in an inter-disciplinary setting.
Overall, University connections are established in unison with the community served; targets determine the best interdisciplinary approach; and the community and University design strategies within which the best collaborative approach each project is facilitated.