NESET report: Community engagement in higher education - trends, practices and policies

09 March 2021

NESET, the Network of Experts working on the Social dimension of Education and Training, has published the report “Community engagement in higher education: trends, practices and policies”.

The report found that universities play a crucial role in responding to societal needs, and can further enhance their societal impact at local, national and international levels through community engagement.

The report proposes a broad definition of community engagement in higher education, whereby:

  • engagement refers to the range of ways in which university staff, students and management interact with external communities in mutually beneficial ways, either as part of teaching and research or as part of other projects and joint initiatives;
  • community is defined as ‘communities of place, identity or interest’, and thus includes among others, public authorities, businesses, schools, civil society and citizens;
  • societal needs addressed through community engagement refer to all political, economic, cultural, social, technological and environmental factors that influence the quality of life within society.
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