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Community psychology, millennium volunteers and UK higher education: a disruptive triptych?

Duckett, Paul (2002) Community psychology, millennium volunteers and UK higher education: a disruptive triptych? Journal of community and applied social psychology, 12 (2). pp. 94-107. ISSN 1099-1298

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In this paper I critically explore the ideological underpinnings of pedagogical and political practices in UK Higher Education (HE). I first map out the political and pedagogical features of community psychology and then describe the Millennium Volunteers project at the University of Northumbria - a scheme that integrates voluntary placements into undergraduate degree programmes, reflecting on the political and pedagogical premises upon which it is based. I consider the political context and recent social policy trends in UK HE. Through exploring the ideological underbellies of community psychology and Millennium Volunteers I describe the tensions created once both are situated within a HE student's learning and a lecturer's teaching portfolio. I reflect on how each appears to share similar wish lists but conclude that a surface comparison of the pedagogical practices of each can leave unrecognized serious ideological, ethical and political differences that can cause disruption at the interfaces of staff, students and HE institutions. I recommend making the political and ideological assumptions behind pedagogical practices and education policy initiatives more transparent to both students and lecturers alike and outline the reasons for doing so. I conclude by reflecting on implications for the widening access agenda in the present political climate from the standpoint of a community psychologist.

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