The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Many students engage in voluntary work and/or leadership activities as part of their personal and/or professional development. Professionals in a range of fields also work with volunteers in the course of their daily practice. Volunteerism transcends disciplinary boundaries and is relevant to a broad range of professions in areas such as health, human services, education, science, engineering, and business. Volunteerism also transcends community, non-government, government and commercial sectors. Important to working as, or with, volunteers is knowledge about the purpose, history functions, and contribution of volunteering. This course examines key perspectives on volunteerism, and explores the experience of working as a volunteer. Students undertaking this course will develop professional skill in the recruitment, training, management and support of volunteers. The course enables students currently engaged in voluntary work/leadership experiences to apply their learning to professional and personal development through critical reflection in light of theories on volunteerism and volunteer management.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. Define volunteerism.

2. Critically examine the concept, history, purpose and functions of volunteerism.

3. Evaluate trends in volunteering activity across a range of contexts.

4. Develop knowledge and skill in volunteer management including recruitment, training, supervision, support, and ongoing development.

5. Demonstrate understanding of ethical issues in volunteer management

6. Critically reflect on volunteer experiences in light of theory.

7. Examine ethical and value issues in volunteer practice.

8. Apply learning from voluntary experience to professional context.


The content in this course includes the following topics:

  1. Definitions of volunteerism.
  2. Functions of volunteerism.
  3. Trends in volunteerism.
  4. Social capital.
  5. Critical debates relating to volunteerism.
  6. Volunteer management practices including policy, recruitment, training, supervision, support and development.
  7. Skills in volunteer management.
  8. Ethical issues in volunteer work
  9. Critical reflection on volunteer experience
  10. Application of learning from volunteer work to professional practice

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Online Learning Activity

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study / Problem Based Learning Assignment

Written Assignment: Written Assignment - Case Study

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 10 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks

The course is currently offered online. Students are expected to complete 10 hours of guided learning via online activities and an additional 6 hours of independent study per week.