2016/17 CfCSC Report
2016/17 CfCSC Report

In 2016/2017, the CfCSC made noteworthy achievements in research, teaching, engagement, and impact on the end-users of its work.


Established in 2007, the Centre for Communication and Social Change (CfCSC) is the only research centre in Australia that specialises in Communication for Development (C4D) and Social Change (CSC).

The core vision of the Centre is to become an internationally recognised leader in communication for social change research, facilitation, and capacity building, contributing to a world in which all voices are heard, equally respected, and included in decisions that affect them.

CfCSC facilitates courses in Communication for Social Change as part of the Bachelor and Master degree programs in UQ's School of Communication and Arts. 

Since its establishment, the CfCSC has excelled in research, engagement and teaching, and continued to attract global recognition in the CSC field.  This brief review reflects on the achievements made in the 2016/2017 academic years in research, engagement, teaching and learning and consultancy.

Research and Engagement

The Centre has been highly effective in strengthening and promoting impact research. In 2016 /2017, the Centre continued to build on this strength to advance research and make valuable contributions to publications and the field of CSC.

In 2017 the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO) and The University of Queensland (UQ) published the first world report on evaluation approaches in rural communication services.  The report, Inclusive Rural Communication Service:  Building Evidence, Informing Policy, was the result of international collaborative research led by CfCSC.

The research project started in 2014 as part of a new rural communication services development initiative of the UN FAO Forum on Communication for Development & Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM).  Researchers from six universities (UQ, University of Guelph, Reading University, Wageningen University, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, and University of the Philippines Los Baños) studied 19 cases that documented the processes and outcomes of communication mechanisms in rural development initiatives.  The case studies include examples from Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Other key successes in research and publications in 2016/2017 are summarised in the table below.  

Research Project

Publication

Book series

Completed 3 research projects and 2 ongoing.

 

44 publications, including 6 books, 6 book chapters, 26 journal articles, 6 research reports

Completed a 5-year Communication for Social Change book series contract and signed a new agreement with Palgrave Macmillan starting 2018.

 

Partnerships

Building internal and external partnerships, to strengthen research, teaching, and funding portfolio, is at the centre of the CfCSC strategic framework. In 2016/2017, CfCSC achieved a significant milestone in building partnerships across Schools and Centres at UQ, such as the UQ Law School’s Pro Bono Centre, UQ Engineering School’s Energy and Poverty Group and UQ School of Public Health.

These partnerships saw staff from the Centre engaging in supervision of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students in the Engineering School and developing pathways for collaborative research with the UQ School of Public Health. It also offered an avenue for students from the Pro Bono Centre to acquire relevant media production skills at the Centre. 

Externally, CfCSC successfully built a mutually beneficial partnership with the Australian Red Cross. The two institutions are currently developing a collaborative research project on place-based communication and community development initiatives. Negotiations are also underway on developing partnership opportunities with other public and private sector institutions in Queensland and beyond.  

CfCSC continued to serve as a vital source for expertise with our Staff and Affiliates from the CfCSC served or continue to hold key industry positions, such as President, Treasurer, and Executive Board Member, in reputable organisations, including but not limited to the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology and UN FAO Forum on Communication for Development & Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM). CfCSC staff members are also at the forefront of participating in and contributing to international and national conferences, meetings and events as (keynote) speakers.

Teaching and Learning

The Centre continued to demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning in 2016/2017.  Centre Associates supervised 20 HDR students in the field of CSC. 9 students were awarded their degrees during 2016/2017. The Centre also continued to attract new students, with 3 new HDR students commencing study in 2016 and 2 in 2017.

The CSC Undergraduate course, COMU2311, attracted an unprecedented number of enrolments.   In 2017, 102 students enrolled in the course – a significant increase from the 63 enrolments in 2015.  

The CSC postgraduate program also continues to gain recognition and interest from students worldwide for its theory, practice and work integrated learning approaches.

Source: Media produced by Camille Jeboult, CSC master student, on the learning and teaching activities at the centre.

CfCSC also continues to develop the capacity of professionals from diverse sectors.  For example, in July 2017, Elske van de Fliert and Pradip Thomas were invited as consultants by UQ International Development to share their expertise in a capacity building training organised for middle and senior government delegates from Bangladesh. The training focused on equipping the participants with skills and tools needed to reduce the impact and severity of violent extremism in Bangladesh.

Communication

In 2017, the Centre maintained the publication of its monthly e-newsletters to our mailing list of over 1300 subscribers. These newsletters featured stories about our research projects, events, alumni profiles and industry jobs & opportunities. It serves as one of the important channels through which CfCSC communicates and shares its work, engaging with students, alumni, partners, associates and friends. 

The Centre’s Facebook and Twitter pages continued to be successful platforms through which we share news and attract high levels of engagement and interest.  Our most popular Facebook posts have attracted a reach of over 4.2k. Twitter posts have reached 20k impressions.

In sum, the CfCSC, though small in size, has continued to maintain a strong progress in its strategic areas of focus, demonstrating its significant value in the CSC field. 

The Centre will build on these successes to continue to develop and streamline its strategic framework to ensure a high record of quality and impactful publications and teaching and learning in 2018 and 2019.  

 

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