Giving institutional voice to work-integrated learning in academic workloads
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Little is known about how university institutions are coping with increased placement demands in professional disciplines, and what this means for the quality and integrity of the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences offered within degree programs for all partners concerned. The first stage of a critical ethnographic study is reported in this paper. It forms part of a larger, ongoing study that seeks to generate critical perspectives on the impact and effects of an inquiry-based WIL philosophy that fosters sustained, meaningful university-community partnerships across a suite of Early Childhood programs. Institutional insights into the workload of university staff responsible for these programs are presented, revealing the complexities and possibilities of what this form of work involves in efforts to sustain meaningful, reciprocal partnerships over time. Findings reveal challenges to the relational foundations of this work and the potential implications for universities to reconsider the nature of their engagement with community in the education of deliberate professionals.