One thought on “Tackling the ‘Wicked Issues’ – the Future of University/Public Engagement and Social Justice?

  1. Really interesting blog. I agree that corporate volunteering through external organisations has its negatives, however I would argue that initiatives spearheaded by student volunteering are the future of public/community engagement. A number of Universities (Leeds, Staffordshire, Derby and De Montfort) have developed programmes in which students are guided by academics to respond to identified community needs through targeted projects. Further to this, to create a sustainable relationship, these projects are integrated into course modules and are allowed to grow organically with the community. All this has taken from a organisational point of view, is a more collaborative approach between these institutions professional services staff, student unions and academic departments.

    These initiatives also have the added benefit of creating a much more solid and stable foundation for varied research activity to take place, as through more proactive engagement around targeted projects (IT training, English language courses, health projects, SME support, primary and secondary school projects etc), the process of relationship building with key community contacts is already at an advanced stage, as well as staff, academics and students have a much more in depth understanding of the that particular community, allowing for more supported researchers.

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