International fieldschool reciprocity: using a whole-of-university approach to create positive change in Northern Uganda

Paul G. Munro, Anne L. Bartlett, James T. Dhizaala, Stella Apecu Laloyo, Sebastian Oguti Oswin, Sarah Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


International fieldschools to developing countries have become an important component of the university curriculum because they provide experiential learning and research skills, while also contributing a range of soft skills such as resilience, empathy, resourcefulness, critical thinking, and cross-cultural communication. Yet, with the increasing popularity of ‘developing world’ fieldschools, an ever-more pertinent question to ask is, cui bono? Who benefits when relatively ‘privileged’ students from wealthy countries travel to visit ‘underprivileged’ communities in poorer parts of the world? In this article, we contribute to the discussion about fieldschool reciprocity using data from a newly established program in Northern Uganda, established as part of the University of New South Wales’ UNSW2025 strategy. We show that a whole-of-university approach has significant benefits for staff and students from both institutions, more diffuse benefits for the wider Ugandan host community, as well as the potential to create synergies to leverage community transformation. We also look at challenges that include: power differentials, uncertainty in the field environment, sustainability, and the ability to maintain collaborative equity between institutions over the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1474
Number of pages14
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • African higher education
  • community engagement
  • Educational development
  • internationalisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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