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Wicked Problems Unit

Many challenges facing Western Australian communities are complex and require a cross-disciplinary approach. In this unit, students form small cross-faculty teams, working collaboratively with staff from UWA faculties, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship and stakeholders.

From 2014-16, the Transdisciplinary Service Learning and Design unit placed 90 students working in cross-faculty teams in the West Australian Wheatbelt. Teams of 5-6 students worked together with the Wheatbelt Development Commission and the councils and residents of selected Wheatbelt towns, to address complex problems identified by Wheatbelt Communities.

The current focus of this unit is on the Perth metropolitan region of Mirrabooka which has entrenched unemployment that the Stirling Council has identified as a wicked problem that demands transdisciplinary solutions.

Read the Scope of Work here.

Enrolments for 2019/20 Summer School will open November 2019.

How to apply

Applications will open in November 2019. For more information, visit the 2019 UWA Handbook.

Please also contact our Academic Coordinator when applying.

Enrolments are welcome from all honours, masters and HDR students.

Student feedback

"There should be more such units. Great learning experience working with students from other disciplines."

"Normally at uni we are given a rubric and complete an assignment following it. While this may seem easier at the time, it does not reflect how the workplace operates. Learning to create something from the ground up and to think outside the box was a highly valuable experience. This unit has definitely helped me prepare for the future."

"This unit was one of the best learning experiences I've had in my time at UWA. I have learned about myself, working in teams and about my project subject matter."

Organisation feedback

“Student suggestions are already being considered for future programs and services within the Community Hub.” - Viv Barton, Mirrabooka Library Manager

“The completed research has documented some of the key issues contributing to the high unemployment in the area and provided some practical solutions to help address this long-term issue. The City is excited by the benefits that can come from this partnership.”- Mark Irwin, City of Stirling Mayor


Sarah McCauley
Current UWA Student
Intern at Southcare

"The McCusker Centre for Citizenship provided an opportunity to explore unchartered territory and experience firsthand the inspiring work, people, and mission of the community and not-for-profit sector. I would recommend this opportunity to any UWA student. You might find a new passion or direction for your future career. I know I did."

Rebecca Ball
Executive Director
Office of Multicultural Interests

"There’s a great need for young people to contribute to internships like these. They bring contemporary thinking, they reflect the views of not only their own personal views but the views of their peers and that’s very important... to be embedding that type of thinking ..."

Ross Wortham
Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia

“Our organisation and others have been blown away by the quality and professionalism of the interns and we benefit from the different viewpoints they bring. I'm now very excited by the collective impact that potentially hundreds of these interns will have on the community service sector over the coming years, helping to build real generational change.”