In line with its mission as a Catholic university that seeks to serve and promote the common good, the university encourages staff to contribute to the community by working collaboratively with community partners, targeting priority groups and communities identified by ACU Engagement, in order to achieve mutually agreed goals. Approved Community Engagement Time Release provides staff with access of up to 5 days per calendar year to participate in community-based activities (where it occurs during your normal working hours) that contribute to the common good, address social justice issues in the community, and help those in our communities who are experiencing disadvantage and/or marginalisation.
This policy applies to all continuing and fixed term staff of the University.
Community Engagement Time Release is not available to staff that undertake the types of community engagement activities, as per clause 5. Availability, that are a requirement of the normal duties of their position.
For academic staff, Community Engagement Time Release needs to be consistent with the principles for allocating academic workload under the Academic Workload Policy. Australian Catholic University focuses its community engagement on academic staff expertise in teaching and research. Thus, community engagement will normally be embedded within a staff member’s teaching and/or research workload. In special circumstances, it may be reflected in other activities as outlined in D14 Other University Activity of the Academic Workload Policy, which provides an allocation for all staff to participate in and undertake other university activities, including Community Engagement Time Release activities, not already embedded within the staff member’s academic role.
Community Engagement Time Release provides staff with the opportunity to contribute to advancing the Catholic mission of the University. Community Engagement Time Release enables staff to participate in community-based activities that contribute to the common good, address social justice issues in the community, and help those in our communities who are experiencing disadvantage and/or marginalisation.
Community Engagement Time Release will normally be taken to support recognised ACU community partners and targeting priority groups and communities identified by ACU Engagement. Community Engagement Time Release is designed to support activities including, but not limited to:
homework support/tutoring programs for children from low Socioeconomic Status (SES) communities or other backgrounds of disadvantage;
international community development programs with ACU Engagement international partners and recommended organisations;
programs providing education, training and support for those who are sleeping rough, have been incarcerated, are living in conditions of poverty, or have experienced domestic violence;
programs providing education, training and support for refugee and newly arrived migrant communities, and members of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities who are socially isolated;
social support programs supporting elderly people;
programs supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
activities and organisations supporting people with disabilities, mental health issues, or chronic illness;
programs supporting those who are experiencing hardship or disadvantage (such as living with domestic violence or having an incarcerated parent or recognised carer).
A staff member may access up to five (5) days per calendar year (January to December) of time release to participate in approved community engagement activities that satisfy the parameters in this policy and where it occurs during the staff member’s normal working hours. Community Engagement Time Release is not cumulative.
Where a staff member can demonstrate the merits of additional Community Engagement Time Release, time release of greater than five (5) days per annum may be approved. A proposal that includes the merits of the proposed community engagement activity and its alignment with ACU’s Mission must be provided to the Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement for appropriate consideration.
Approval is required before a staff member or a group of staff may proceed on a community engagement activity. A staff member that intends to request Community Engagement Time Release should first contact the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement via email: ACUEngagement@acu.edu.au for guidance on whether the proposed community engagement activity supports the Mission of the University.
The request for Community Engagement Time Release will require endorsement of the request by the Nominated Supervisor and then approval of the community engagement activity by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement. If not approved, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement will advise the staff member of the decision.
Revisions made to this Policy
Major, Minor or Editorial
11 May 2020
Update at clause 2. Policy Statement stating approved Community Engagement Time Release provides access of up to 5 days per calendar year.
Update at clause 4. Application of Policy noting inclusion of D14 “Other University Activity” from revised Academic Workload Policy.
Any staff member who requires assistance in understanding this policy should contact the office of the Pro Vice- Chancellor, Engagement via email: ACUEngagement@acu.edu.au. Information on ACU’s recognised community partners, priority issues, priority groups and communities can be obtained from the ACU Engagement website or by contacting the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement.
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols
This policy relates to Community Engagement Time Release for ACU Staff and is not associated with Community Service Leave which is covered by the separate Community Service & Emergency Services Leave Policy.