ACAN & Australian Catholic University (ACU) — What is Modern about Modern Slavery?
27 February 2023
Modern Slavery Curriculum Pilot at ACU
All undergraduate students at Australian Catholic University (ACU) will complete training to identify and respond to modern slavery following a pilot project with the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Modern slavery content has been formally introduced into ACU’s Core Curriculum, which all undergraduate students are required to undertake as part of their various degrees.
The project, which includes video resources for wider use, is a collaboration with ACU’s Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit in conjunction with ACU’s Faculty of Theology and
Philosophy, and the Anti-Slavery Taskforce of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. The project supports both organisations’ shared commitment to raising awareness of modern slavery.
Approximately 700 students across the university’s seven campuses have accessed the new training modules since the pilot program began in the second half of last year.
Anti-Slavery Taskforce Executive Manager Jenny Stanger said the pilot program with ACU was a significant milestone in raising awareness of modern slavery with future workers.
Students investigate four principal areas, including defining and measuring modern slavery; the root causes and contributing factors of modern slavery; intersections of modern slavery with economic and labour policy, environmental degradation, human rights, and development; and responding to modern slavery.
“The topic of modern slavery is introduced to ACU students before they embark on their professional journeys in business, healthcare, law, social work and many other areas that now include modern slavery accountabilities,” Ms Stanger said.
“The content prepares students to identify and respond to severe forms of exploitation and slavery-related crimes which they may encounter in the workforce and their personal lives.”
ACU academic Blake Wassell explained ACU’s Core Curriculum was a distinctive pair of educational units that invited students to relate the Catholic tradition to significant and international contexts, including the proliferation of modern slavery.
“Students are asked to work through new learning materials on modern slavery through the third-year undergraduate unit of study UNCC300: Justice and Change in a Global World.” Dr Wassell said.
“Modern slavery is presented in its theoretical context as well as a range of real-world settings to challenge students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours. The project was included in the unit of study because of modern slavery’s salient relevance to sustainability and justice issues.”
The project has been wholly collaborative, with a recognition of the expertise of all project team members. Manager of ACU’s Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit Vivien Cinque said that ACU’s work to address modern slavery was strengthened by the partnership with the Anti-Slavery Taskforce.
“It was incredibly valuable to have the opportunity to co-design the learning materials with the Anti-Slavery Taskforce through this partnership. We are continuing to work together to further embed modern slavery into ACU’s Core Curriculum beyond the pilot project, so students can graduate feeling more empowered to act against injustices,” Ms Cinque said.
Ms Stanger explained that the new materials will also be relevant to others in the sector.
“I am grateful to colleagues who agreed to record video interviews that complement the content. These resources will be useful to the wider anti-slavery sector and we look forward to sharing them more broadly in the coming months.”
An animation produced for the commencement of the course can be viewed and shared here: What is Modern About Modern Slavery?