The University of Western Sydney has six campuses located in Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and a mission that links its activities to the development of the region. The multicultural community of GWS is one of the most diverse in the world with over 100 nationalities calling GWS home. The region combines the majestic beauty of the Blue Mountains National Park; historical sites of Indigenous and Colonial importance; and traditional rural environments with high-tech business districts. UWS’s website>>
Civic engagement is seen as being integrally linked with research at the institution. In fact, the starting point for the university’s approach to civic engagement is to establish a complete understanding of the community and its issues. Research, therefore, forms a critical component of this program. The institution’s Research Plan will involve collaborative research with industries, NGOs, and communities, locally, regionally and internationally, with the aim of focusing on research projects that are more responsive to the realities of the people they serve. UWS’s Institutional Profile>>
The Sudanese Learning and Literacy Alliance aims to support improved literacy skills and acculturation of Sudanese refugee students and their families.
A similar program is the Pacific Islander Learning and Literacy Alliance which provides support for a homework centre attended by high school students from Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and other South Pacific Island migrant families. The project focuses on a range of culturally specific teaching strategies and provides an option for education students to learn how to plan and implement learning experiences for students from those backgrounds.
The Indigenous Students Learning and Literacy Alliance is under development. UWS students will be matched with an Aboriginal Education Assistant in a particular high school in a reciprocal mentoring program.
The Refugee Action Support (RAS) program is a partnership of the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, University of Western Sydney, and the New South Wales Department of Education. The goal is to enhance the literacy and social development of refugee high school students based on small group tutoring by UWS students in school and after-school homework centres across the Western and South Western suburbs of Sydney. UWS pre-service teachers enroll in this elective in a compulsory service-learning course to explore their understanding of approaches to teaching refugee students and to contribute to refugee family success in our region where nearly half of the residents are first or second generation from another nation. Evaluations of the program reveal positive outcomes for refugee families and UWS students and the program model is being replicated in other universities. Visit the project’s website>>