Maximising Universities’ Civic Contribution

This report understand universities’ civic mission as their commitment to bettering the local and regional communities of which they are part. A civic mission is an acknowledgement that universities have an obligation to act in this way, and civic engagement is the process by which this is achieved.

Universities’ potential for civic engagement in Wales is shaped by several factors: institutional origin and subsequent development, the Welsh, and UK, higher education
policy context and the globalisation of higher education and the economy at large.

Six recommendations are made:

  • Adopting a strategic vision for the post-compulsory education and training sector in Wales;
  • Including civic engagement as a formal aspect of universities’ performance;
  • Developing regional clusters of institutions as a means of strengthening place-based planning and decision-making between higher education and other parts of Welsh society and economy;
  • Incentivising collaboration between universities and other parts of the post-compulsory education sector;
  • Embedding and widening access and life-long-learning, including adult education, as intrinsic characteristics and responsibilities of civic mission;
  • Providing engagement funding for universities contingent on collaboration and alignment with Welsh national and regional priorities.