Report says universities must play their part to improve Welsh society

Welsh universities should expand their contribution to society by finding new ways of reaching out and connecting with the communities around them, according to a new report from the Wales Centre for Public Policy.

Maximising universities’ civic contribution, written for the WCPP by Professors Ellen Hazelkorn and John Goddard, suggests that Welsh Ministers have a role to play in influencing universities to better meet a broader range of needs across Welsh society and economy.

The authors make six recommendations to policymakers, including:

  • Developing regional clusters of universities, colleges and training providers and introducing a mandate to work collaboratively
  • Improving links with primary and secondary schools to increase access to university for those from more deprived backgrounds
  • Measuring universities’ civic engagement in widening access, innovation and other means, through the performance management system.

The report will be launched on Tuesday morning at an event at Cardiff Bay, featuring Education Secretary Kirsty Williams AM.

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, one of the report’s authors, said:

“Universities play a central and unique role in society, through furthering our understanding of the world around us and sharing that knowledge to equip people to live successful and satisfying lives.

“Recent reforms and future pressures create an uncertain environment, and in this context the Welsh Government is asking them to do more; to fully embed engagement with their communities as part of their core missions of teaching and research.

“With this report we want to start a conversation about how universities can become hubs of activity within their regions. By reaching out to engage with communities and the public services that support them, universities can expand their role in helping to advance Welsh society.”

Click here to read the full report.