Filling the Social Justice Gap: Curriculum Development Project

Introduction to the Simulation

This project aims to develop curricula for Australian university courses that teach social justice (including human rights, law, development, public health, and peace and conflict). Teaching university students social justice principles and practice is important in encouraging civic engagement and participation in community life, and building social capital. University students -including those studying social-justice-related-courses- often undertake study with practical or vocational goals. However there is often criticism that a gap exists between theoretical learning and practical experience in university courses teaching social justice. In other words, there is concern that university studies do not provide the opportunity to explore how theoretical learning and critical analysis skills are applied, in the implementation of social justice programs and campaigns on the ground. The aim of this project is to close this gap between theoretical learning and practical experience when teaching social justice principles and practice. This will be done by:

  • Working with faculty members from seven universities across Australia to develop social justice-related curricula using simulations
  • Developing pedagogical tools to teach students social justice-related skills such as lobbying, working with the media, and collaborating with partners
  • Applying these tools to a range of social justice scenarios
  • Holding simulation practicums at each university
  • Publishing and disseminating both written and video material to a range of educators, students, practitioners, and community stakeholders

Lead Institution Personnel

Project Leader and Lead Institution: Dr. Susan Banki, The University of Sydney
Project Manager: Paul Duffill, The University of Sydney

Partners and Partner Institutions

Project Reference Group

  • Professor Danielle Celermajer, founder of the Human Rights program at the University of Sydney
  • Dr Annie Pettitt, Community Engagement and Human Rights Education, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Graham Thom, National Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International
  • Dr John Tobin, Associate Professor in the Melbourne Law School; Director of the Human Rights Tertiary Teachers’ Network; and Coordinator of the Melbourne Law School Human Rights Alumni Network
  • Ms Penelope Davie, Assistant Director, Access and Participation Branch, Ministry for the Arts, Australian Commonwealth Government
  • Ms Elena Rosenman, Assistant Director, Human Rights Policy Branch, Attorney-General's Department, Australian Commonwealth Government

Project Dates

Project commencement: June 2013
End date: November 2016

Video Teaching Resources


Project Manager: Paul Duffill
Project Leader/Pedagogy: Dr. Susan Banki

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