Strategic reviews of public and community engagement

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Undertaking strategic reviews and helping Universities to develop effective strategies and approaches to funding and delivery.

I have been working both with and independently of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement to undertake strategic reviews of public and community engagement activity. This work has involved interviews, focus groups, documentary reviews and survey analysis.

During this process, I undertake reflective discussions with key staff and stakeholders, working hard to unpack the culture of the institution and help identify feasible opportunities and sensible next steps to embedding engagement in research and teaching; and to draw out recommendations that can then inform a more strategic approach.

The work I do in this area will offer insight on:

  • How do staff view the role and contribution of public engagement to the University's mission and strategy?
  • What do people think currently works well in the support offered to staff and students undertaking public engagement?
  • Where are there gaps or opportunities that should be addressed?
  • Which audiences, public groups, and partners do you most frequently work with and why? Which would you like to engage more with and why?
  • What models and approaches to public engagement used elsewhere are relevant to your institution?
  • What is your vision for public engagement, and how might you measure success?

Universities I have worked with include: the University of the Arts London, University College London, University of Brighton, the University of Bristol, the University of Huddersfield, the University of Westminster, University College London, and the University of South Wales.

Evaluation of your support for Public Engagement

In 2017 I was commissioned by the University of Bath's Public Engagement Unit to help take stock of their work over the last four years and produce strategic guidance to inform future direction. The final report evaluated the support offered by the PEU and set out key recommendations for developing their internal seed fund, training and ongoing one-on-one support. The report also informed a successful bid to the UKRI SEE PER Grant.

As part of this work, I investigated the provision, uptake and impact of training and professional development opportunities for researchers in public engagement. Training and continuous professional development (CPD) in public engagement is one of nine core strands of work to embed a positive culture of public engagement with university research. However, there is a perceived lack of availability and capacity among researchers to engage in training opportunities.

Key points about training and professional development from this work informed the development and delivery of activities and resources at the University of Bath. Including:

  • An online learning tool, the Public Engagement Knowledge Hub
  • Case studies of researchers' public engagement learning journeys featuring key learning moments and interventions
  • A toolkit for researchers to self-assess their skills for public engagement. Download the Public Engagement Skills Self-Assessment Toolkit.
  • Piloting co-produced training.
  • Producing workshops and guides for enablers of public engagement with research and external training providers.
  • Evaluating the value of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and the University of Manchester's Quality Framework for Public Engagement.

To access the outputs from this work, visit the ChallengeCPD website.

Supporting the development of a new public engagement approach for UCL East

I was commissioned by the Head of Community Engagement East to help set out how the UCL East Campus will achieve its vision of being open, accessible, and engaged. The support we offered included:

  • Desk research, including a review of existing UCL East documentation, UK University Campuses taking a Civic or Engaged approach
  • Facilitation and consultancy to support the development of UCL East Engagement Strategy and activity plan
  • Helping review written contributions to draft and final strategy and activity plan
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