University community engagement is a powerful instrument in developing community capacity and creating a two way process of mutuality and reciprocity.
Three years ago, Flinders Northern Territory in Katherine established the Speaking Easy for Living and Learning (SELL) program where student-led clinics provide speech pathology and language support services to more than 45 pupils from Katherine and surrounding communities. This community-campus partnership has been well supported and has led to an increase in school enrolments.
Speech Pathology students delivering the clinic are from James Cook University and University of Sydney and their placement in Katherine provides them with a unique and rewarding experience, creating future employment possibilities with the Department of Education.
Student-led clinics are one of the most popular models of successful university community engagement and have provided access to health services and support for children in underprivileged communities in the USA and Canada for the past 40 years. In Australia this model has been successfully developed in some fields but the uptake in health has been much slower.
A grandparent’s perspective on the SELL program “ … I cannot read the words with my granddaughter but I can sing them and I bought a guitar to sing the words with her…”.
One student reflected “…it was a great privilege to be working in the SELL clinic with the pupils and the teachers, and this has opened my eyes to the life in these underprivileged communities and how my profession can make a difference for the future of these kids. Flinders is doing a fantastic job for us students and for these kids.”
For enquiries contact:
Associate Professor Pascale Dettwiller
Program coordinator FNT Katherine RCS