Tag: community engagement

Podcast: University Civic Engagement – What Does It Mean To Be An Engaged University?

The recording was made during a seminar organized by the research group ExCID (Expert cultures and institutional dynamics: Studies in higher education and work) at University of Oslo. The ExCID group is focused on theoretical, methodological, and empirical understanding of the dynamics of higher education and its way of fostering academic and professional development. The seminar was held 15th of November 2016.

University Civic Engagement: What Does It Mean To Be An Engaged University?

Presenter: Dr. Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Bojana Culum
(University of Rijeka, Croatia)

Abstract for the seminar:

Civic engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s (better) future, through both political and non-political processes. Civic engagement is considered to be central to the public purpose of higher education and essential to the student experience, empowering students to become active and socially responsible citizens in a democratic society. However, in the context of major societal changes and challenges, it is argued that publicly-funded universities have to move beyond creating such engaged experiences only for students and that they have a civic duty to engage with wider society on the local, national and global scales, and to do so in a manner which links the social to the economic spheres. There are many ways to live our commitment to community and civic engagement, from big impacts to small decisions. This seminar will reflect on research in the field as well as critics and serve as a platform for discussion on what does it mean for contemporary universities to embrace civic engagement and become active and socially responsible institutional citizen(s) and caring (institutional) neighbours – how to foster meaningful connections and engagement between universities and communities to effect positive change in society.

Bojana Culum works as assistant professor at the University of Rijeka’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Pedagogy, Croatia. Her research focuses on university third and civic mission, university civic and community engagement (the concept of an engaged university) and changes in academic profession with particular interest for early career (female) researchers’ socialisation into academia. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Portland State University, USA, during the academic year 2015/2016.

Listen without the Flashplayer

View the slides of the presentation here. 


The recording has been reposted with permission from the research group.

View the research group homepage here.




Thematic week follow-up: The university in emergency situations – Quisqueya University, Haiti

Therese Marie Pankratov

This special guest entry follows up on our thematic week on higher education and crisis and is also a follow-up to one of our earlier post on Haiti. Therese Marie Pankratov has interviewed  Jacky Lumarque, the rector of Quisqueya University on Haiti and writes about some of the challenges higher education faces on the aftermath of major natural crisis. 

January 2010. All eyes were turned towards Haiti, as we horrified received news of the devastating earthquake that shattered the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.
December 2012, almost three years later, and the international attention has shifted, though Haiti is still in a state of recovery from the damages of the earthquake and its consequences.

Haiti was a fragile country before the earthquake hit. 76% of the population lived on under 2USD a day. Almost 40% of Haitians have never gone to school. Only 8% of schools belonged to the public system, causing school fees to be a key hindrance in primary enrollment. Only 22% of enrolled children completed primary education. Higher education is a mere dream for the majority of the population, and for those who do obtain a degree, it has often been a ticket to emigration. The consequence for Haiti is a lack of needed skills.

Unusual to a humanitarian response has been a focus on the education sector in Haiti, and its role in “building back better” after the earthquake. Even the higher education sector has received international attention from UNESCO and the media (The New York Times, The Star), pointing to its role in mitigating fragility. The last three years have seen progress, but there is still a long way ahead.




Guest blogger: The elicitation of research impact through engagement

dr. Richard Watermeyer (University of Cardiff)

In this guest entry, dr. Richard Watermeyer from University of Cardiff examines the  public engagement agenda and shift towards using “impact” as a core element in evaluating the quality of research in UK. 

This guest entry draws on the article “From Engagement to Impact? Articulating the Public Value of Academic Research”.

In recent years the UK’s Higher Education (HE) community has been tasked with responding to a mandate of increased transparency, openness and a willingness to more proactively and fluently engage with public constituencies, particularly cohorts outwith the realms of common or established interaction, in the pursuit of greater social inclusion and cohesion.

Advocates of engagement in HE have mobilised around a discourse of dialogue, upstream engagement and knowledge co-production co-opted from the burgeoning disciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and proponents of a public understanding of science movement, which/who emerged in the UK in the mid-1980s and promulgated the social responsibilities of the scientific community and the social and economic advantages of a more integrated and cohesive arrangement between scientific experts and lay publics, predicated on the latter’s early dialogical integration and sustained involvement in the deliberative aspects of the research process.




Higher Education and Community Engagement

The University World News featured articles from around the globe that addressed the growing community engagement mission of universities. Coupled with teaching and research, community engagement is considered to be one of the core functions of universities. How are systems of higher education incorporating community engagement into their mission and objectives and what sort of programs, policies, and plans are being established to address this core function? Community engagement can mean many different things; community development, community service, service learning, etc. Here are a few articles that will shed light on how some higher education systems are approaching the community engagement function.
University World News Logo.
AUSTRALIA: Mixed attitudes to community involvement
UK: Growing engagement with communities
SOUTH AFRICA: Engaging developments on the up
GREECE: Engagement is a moveable feast
US: Service learning expanding rapidly