It has been widely accepted that higher
education can and must play a role in developing civicminded professionals who can respond to complex
societal challenges (Dey et al., 2009). This suggests that
educational institutions should not only focus on the
intellectual development of their students, but play a
much more critical role in providing the necessary skills
and experiences to develop “civic-minded graduates”
(Dey et al. 2009; Steinberg & Bringle 2011).
In line with this, the University of Technology
Sydney (UTS), Australia, launched the Shopfront
community program which has been in operation for 25
years. Housed within the Centre for Social Justice and
Inclusion, the program is the longest-standing
curriculum-based community engaged learning
initiative, that acts as a gateway between faculties and
small- to medium not-for-profit organizations.
Quantitative and qualitative data collected since its
inception, as well as case studies from 2020 and 2021,
provide the evidence-base for the ongoing use of
Shopfront as a blueprint for successful work-integrated
learning in higher education globally. The findings
indicate that by matching suitable community projects
with undergraduate and postgraduate coursework
programs, faculties are able to enhance their level of
engaged scholarship and support the work of non-profit
organizations whilst developing civic-minded students.
Further, the findings provide an indication of the
vital ingredients necessary to develop a long-standing
reciprocal relationship between students, faculties and
community organizations. The case studies presented
provide evidence that students benefit from communityengaged learning, academics receive support in
establishing networks to embed work-integrated
learning, and community partners receive resources they
would normally not have access to.
Keywords : work-integrated learning; engaged scholarship; civic-mindedness; higher education; social impact; community engagement.