Keeping PACE with Ethical Practice – Teaching ethics in Professional and Community Engagement

What do we mean when we talk about ethics? Is it behaviour towards others, rules and regulations, professional codes of conduct or is it regulatory guidelines for areas of specialisation, such as research involving people or animals? In higher education it is all these things and more. There are a range of approaches to teaching ethics. While the University’s regulatory framework for ethics is comprehensive and readily accessible, PACE unit convenors have also identified the need for a suite of resources that cover the more nebulous area of ethical practice in pedagogy and workplace contexts. As a result, PACE have developed a set of resources that can be utilised by unit convenors to support students going on a range of activities, be they local, international or on campus.

Students undertaking a PACE activity may be exposed to a range of ethical dilemmas during their activity. Previous research suggests that when ethical practice is embedded into curricula, it can change student perceptions and knowledge about their professional responsibilities. PACE supports students prior to their activity by providing education and resources to assist students in navigating these challenges. All PACE activities are embedded in an academic unit, and as part of the orientation and preparation prior to the activity, unit convenors support students learning ethical practice with a variety of discipline-specific resources. For instance, PACE International students learn about cross-cultural ethical practice during pre-departure workshops to prepare them for their overseas activity.

In support of the work already undertaken, PACE have updated their library of resources for unit convenors and students with new ethics digital recordings. These resources include case studies and testimonials of past PACE students which speak about challenges they have faced and how their PACE unit facilitated a greater awareness of these issues.  The videos are designed to be short and easily accessible giving introductions to complex issues such as The Philosophy of Ethics, Research Ethics and Business Ethics. Subject matter experts from the across the University have contributed to these resources and include Associate Professor Culum Brown who discusses animal ethics, while Walanga Muru’s Dr Leanne Holt and Professor Richie Howitt provide Indigenous perspectives.

PACE is planning to launch these resources at the next PACE Community of Practice (CoP) workshop.

If you want to learn more, come to the workshop on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 or contact Anna Rowe (

Ethics on the big screen, coming to a lecture theatre near you!