A report from ESRC funded research has found that university-community engagement is marginal to the funding, organisation, management and strategic control of universities and this means that universities are missing out on the chance to help develop ‘social capital’ in their local communities.
The research team advised a 3 step approach to engage more effectively with community groups and have greater impact:
- Create small-scale learning communities, linking academics with community groups
- Link the activities of these communities temporarily to core university teaching and research to allow the activities to professionalise and grow.
- ‘Spin out’ these activities into the deprived communities to develop further, allowing them to address particular symptoms arising from social exclusion.
BU’s student services team have developed excellent relationships with local residents associations. If research staff would like to publicise any community-related initiatives through these links, or go a step further and develop any initiatives with these groups please email Mandi Barron, Head of Student Services, who can help with suitable contacts.
Further information on the ESRC-funded research can be found here.