Did you miss the launch of the Manifesto for Public Engagement, which encourages universities to make an explicit commitment to supporting their staff and students to ‘make a difference’ ?
The Manifesto aims to build on the historic and ongoing contribution that universities make to UK society. NCCPE research recently revealed that 63% of current students report taking part in formal volunteering since starting university, with 95% motivated by a desire to improve things and help people. In addition, over six million people a year are enjoying university collections and public lectures; millions of people are tuning in to explore cutting edge research presented by academics. This will not be news to anyone involved in student volunteering or community collection projects. NCCPE are defining public engagement thus:
Public engagement describes the many ways in which higher education institutions and their staff and students can connect and share their work with the public. Done well, it generates mutual benefit, with all parties learning from each other through sharing knowledge, expertise and skills. In the process, it can build trust, understanding and collaboration, and increase the sector’s relevance to, and impact on, civil society.
Last year OUCS highlighted our own engagement activities, and the way in which we support others in theirs, in the OUCS Guide to using IT for Impact.
In a recent JISC study which has provided background underpinning for several funding calls Chris Batt was tasked to explore :
“the principle of two-way engagement – knowledge co-creation and exchange rather than simply knowledge transfer: a dialogue which enriches knowledge for mutual benefit.”
This, along with Toby Ord’s inspirational podcasts about ‘Giving what we can’, makes me think we should target our further outreach and engagement activies carefully, thinking carefully about two-way engagement, appropriate communities and sustained co-development.
Should Oxford University sign up to the manifesto?
Suggestions on a post-it note to me please.