The Importance of Faculty Development in Inculcating Social Responsibility in Undergraduates

The range of environmental, social and economic issues besetting our world demand that undergraduates be better equipped with demonstrable skills in citizenship, civic duty and social responsibility. Additionally, as corporations and individuals become increasingly connected, as global citizens our graduates must be better able to engage in and discuss contemporary global issues, and collaboratively develop suitable strategies to resolve them. The educators of university students are primarily researchers, who may or may not be motivated to develop such skills in their students, given that academic reward, recognition and promotion depend principally upon research output. Unless such educators are empowered and rewarded for the inclusion of citizenship and social responsibility into the curricular they teach, and providing students with meaningful and contextually relevant ways to apply this to their future careers, it is likely that only a minority of undergraduates will develop such skills. In this paper, I outline a vision for best practice professional development (PD) of academic staff to enable them to inculcate social responsibility, civic duty and citizenship into their teaching. The vision includes a suite of blended an online PD modules that incorporate civics and social responsibility, together with associated aspects, including enhancing intercultural skills, maintaining academic integrity, and addressing diversity and disability. Engagement with this suite of PD modules demonstrates their relevance and appeal to academics, and evaluations indicate their value in equipping academics with the capacity to design or revise curricula to better equip students with such skills.

Social Responsibility, Academic Professional Development, Undergraduate Skills, Curriculum Revision

Educational Organization and Leadership

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Gerry Rayner
    • Associate Professor, Monash Education Academy, Monash University, Australia Australia
    • I'm an academic in the Monash Education Academy (MEA), Australia. The MEA  runs a suite of professional development programs for university educators. In my role, I also conduct peer review of teaching, and provide feedback to staff on their teaching quality, and recommend areas for improvement and potential innovation. I also research the scholarship of teaching and learning, with areas of scholarly interest including work-integrated learning, graduate employability, academic professional development, curriculum design and renewal, and peer assisted learning. I review other scholarly papers and am on the editorial committees of several education-related journals.  My other passions include teaching biology, and I remain adjunct faculty in the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, where I teach tropical terrestrial biology and the biology and evolution of Australian vegetation. 
  • Kim Anh Dang
    • Senior Lecturer, Monash University, Australia Australia
  • Robert Nelson
    • Associate Professor, Monash University, Australia Australia