Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces students to the theories and practices of community development and group work within the context of human service agency practice. It examines community development and group work approaches to social issues and social problems within Australia. This course shifts the focus from people as clients to people as community and group members and citizens, who can and should have the capacity to act on issues collectively and speak out about issues that affect them.

Working collaboratively and effectively with communities, service users, colleagues and teams are key skills in human service practice particularly when working across diverse settings with vulnerable and marginalised groups. This course provides a platform for developing and integrating knowledge and skills necessary for effective group and team practice. Community development and group work are explored as empowering strategies, grounded in the notion that people with common experiences, issues or problems, can gain some control over their lives through collective action.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Implement the theory and practice of community development and group work as approaches to social issues and social problems

2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the philosophy, policies and practice of community development based on concepts of community care and group work

3. Apply knowledge and advanced skills in the identification of community and group needs associated with social issues

4. Display small and large group process skills and related expertise

5. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of community consultation and participation structures and practices


The course will include the following topics:

  • Theories and practice of community development
  • The nature and role of community, place and space
  • Contexts and challenges in undertaking community level practice
  • Principles and strategies for community place based practice
  • Models of group work practice
  • Planning and forming groups
  • Group dynamics including dynamics of power and facilitating groups


If you have successfully completed SPSW2002 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

40 units at 1000 level

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Literature review - formative - 30%

Project: Applied group work activity - 30%

Written Assignment: Written analysis of group work activity - summative - 40%

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.