19 December 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Talloires Network
GLOBAL
The future of university engagement
Rebecca Warden and Karen MacGregor
Educating global citizens, expanding access, measuring the impacts of work with communities, influencing rankings, incentives for engaged academics and a greater role for students. These were new goals as university leaders from across the world set the stage for future university engagement at the Talloires Network conference.
Talloires Network
GLOBAL
Call for civic engagement shake-up of rankings
Rebecca Warden and Ard Jongsma
International league tables should take account of civic engagement when they are ranking universities, according to a Call to Action from 264 vice-chancellors, academics and students gathered at the closing ceremony of the global Talloires Network Leaders Conference near Cape Town, South Africa.
GLOBAL
University engagement networks go global
Yojana Sharma
National and regional groups of universities that promote community engagement have been increasing around the world – some of them at breakneck speed – while university engagement organisations are also connecting globally to learn from one another.
GLOBAL
Rapid growth in university engagement worldwide
Karen MacGregor
Growing numbers of university leaders worldwide are seeing community engagement as a central priority, says Professor Robert M Hollister, executive director of the Talloires Network – a global coalition of universities committed to moving beyond the ivory tower. Rather than distracting from engagement, internationalisation is “dramatically reinforcing and accelerating that trend, through people learning from and influencing one another’s work”.
GLOBAL
Civic engagement by universities can be dangerous, too
Yojana Sharma
While universities are increasingly encouraging students to be involved in the community and to become engaged citizens, they do not necessarily have control over activities that take place on campuses, or spill onto the streets. “We encourage students to be actively engaged, but it can be dangerous, too,” said Stephen Chan, head of the office of service learning at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
GLOBAL
Can community action open up universities?
Ard Jongsma
Community work by university staff and students is often seen as an add-on to academic core business. But can it actually be more than that? Can it help to attract students from underrepresented groups? Can it bridge the gap between higher education and communities that have traditionally been excluded from it? And can it even benefit the core curriculum?
Employment and economy
GLOBAL
Universities and employability – Preparing for work
Yojana Sharma
Around the world the number of graduates is growing, yet the ‘skills mismatch’ is also rising. A degree is no longer a guarantee of a good job, and fingers are being pointed at universities for failing to better prepare students for the real world and the expectations of employers.
GLOBAL
Engaged universities contribute to economic development
Rebecca Warden
Engaged universities – those that see engaging with the wider community as part and parcel of their mission – can use these activities to contribute to economic development too. Around the globe, universities are doing this in various ways, some in ways you might expect, others in ways that might surprise you.
GLOBAL
Initiative to help graduates’ transition to workforce
Yojana Sharma
Reeta Roy is president of the Toronto-based MasterCard Foundation, which has assets of over US$9 billion and more than 35 partnerships with universities and other organisations, funding programmes in areas such as microfinance and youth learning. One is the Youth Economic Participation Initiative with the global Talloires Network of engaged universities, which supports initiatives that help graduates' transition to the workforce.
AFRICA
Education for youth employment through YEPI
Munyaradzi Makoni
Since traditional teaching methods are no longer sufficient to educate students to meet the expectations of employers or the rigorous demands of an entrepreneurial career, preparing students for full participation in the economy is a daunting task across the world.
Case studies
GLOBAL
Mexico, Sweden, US – Different ways to serve
Rebecca Warden
Universities around the world are adopting very different approaches to how they serve their communities. Tales of three universities told at the Talloires Network conference near Cape Town from 2-4 December are living proof of this diversity.
PAKISTAN
Keeping values in university engagement – A case study
Rebecca Warden
Civic engagement is all about equal partnerships between universities and the communities they serve. So when representatives of Lahore University of Management Sciences went to work with a small female-run cottage industry in a remote corner of Pakistan, they were expecting to have plenty of input from the women involved. What they were not expecting was that dealings with the women would turn their thinking about business on its head.
UNITED KINGDOM
Students are the community at Glasgow University
Ard Jongsma
Does a university always need students as intermediaries or vectors for community action? No, a very successful programme at Glasgow University has been proving the opposite since 2002. Instead of sending students out into the community, they made the community the students.
SOUTH AFRICA
Community partnership in business coaching
Munyaradzi Makoni
Stellenbosch University’s Innovus initiative – which is responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development among students – is providing a platform for community and industry through entrepreneurial grooming.
Perspectives
GLOBAL
Engagement perspectives from the global South
Karen MacGregor
Despite rich and varied experience in the global South, there appears to be a tendency for international dialogue about university civic engagement and social responsibility to be dominated by perspectives of the global North. What are the lessons from the South?
SOUTH AFRICA
Including the community in community-based research
Yojana Sharma
Community-based research by universities, almost unknown less than a decade ago, is increasing – particularly as part of interdisciplinary research that includes a community ‘impact’ element. But researchers have been frustrated at the lack of funding when members of the community are included in gathering data or contribute to research in other ways.
SOUTH AFRICA
Crucial engagement questions for Talloires universities
Karen MacGregor
Why is it that while universities talk increasingly about civic engagement, the world is heading in exactly the opposite direction? asked Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, in the opening keynote at the Talloires Network conference. “Our world is far more unequal – every single indicator shows this – and far more socially polarised than it’s ever been.”
Engaged students
GLOBAL
Students – The foot soldiers of community action
Ard Jongsma
Students are often tagged onto international conferences to add legitimacy without giving them real influence. Not so at this month’s Talloires Network conference outside Cape Town, to which 40 student delegates from all over the world were invited on equal terms and where they were given a perfect environment to network with each other and prepare collective input.
AFRICA
Creating high impact citizens through student engagement
Thierry Luescher-Mamashela
Student engagement is known to correlate well with retention and success but its impact on developing citizenship competences is hardly studied. A new report by HERANA – Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa – has shown that key aspects of the undergraduate student experience have a profound impact on raising levels of citizenship competences.
GLOBAL
Engaged students – Learning skills, changing lives
Karen MacGregor
“Most young people today don’t have the patience, the instinctual deference to authority, or the parochialism of past generations. They want to make an impact, they want to do it now, and they know there is much that needs to be done,” says Professor Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo.
GLOBAL
The global MacJannet student citizenship prizes
Munyaradzi Makoni and Karen MacGregor
Basavanagouda Patil is a final year student at the National Law School of India University. Much of his time is spent volunteering at the Legal Services Clinic, whose committee he leads, and which among other things provides legal services for the poor and public interest litigation. The clinic was one of three student projects to win a 2014 MacJannet Prize.
AFRICA
Major scholarship fund targets disadvantaged students
Yojana Sharma
Four African universities are to receive US$86.6 million over the next eight to 10 years from the MasterCard Foundation in scholarship funds and other support for economically disadvantaged young people, MasterCard Foundation CEO Reeta Roy announced in Cape Town on 3 December.
GLOBAL
Talloires Network university volunteer programme
The Talloires Network University Volunteer Program, in partnership with Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Portugal and funded by the Santander Group, is a major international student engagement initiative.
Measuring engagement
GLOBAL
Rewarding academics for engagement gains ground
Rebecca Warden
The number of academics who step outside the ivory tower to engage with the community is growing and universities are using a variety of ways to compensate them for doing so. But institutions that recognise and reward this effort are still very much a minority and the reasons why they find it hard to do are complex.
AFRICA
University engagement as interconnectedness
François van Schalkwyk
African research that forms part of the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa – HERANA – project has developed indicators to measure university-community engagement projects, to ascertain whether their activities are connected to the strategy of the institution, are linked to external constituents in a sustainable manner, feed into teaching and generate new knowledge.
GLOBAL
New platform for university engagement launched
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Association of Commonwealth Universities launched a new initiative, the ACU Engage Community, at the Talloires Network Leaders Conference 2014. The platform will provide a forum to disseminate knowledge and project management skills among practitioners and share news about opportunities in community engagement.
The future
GLOBAL
Future of the Talloires Network – Towards grassroots
Ard Jongsma
The Talloires Network of engaged universities continues to grow. It now has 332 members in 72 countries. But dealing with a mandate as broad and diverse as community engagement requires some clear focal points. University World News asked Tony Monaco, president of Tufts University and incoming chair of the network’s steering committee, what we can expect from Talloires in the years ahead.
SOUTH AFRICA
Put values at the heart of university engagement
Karen MacGregor
“As higher education institutions think about what they offer young people in terms of curricula, in terms of research opportunities, they also have to think about values, ethics and character,” said Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of science and technology, in the concluding keynote at the global Talloires Network Leaders Conference.

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