CUE East Case Studies Autumn 2010
CASE STUDY: Public Engagement with Teaching at the University of East Anglia
Engaging with Communitiesâ€Ś City, Coast and Countryside
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Welcome Welcome to our case study publication on public engagement with teaching. The role of Community University Engagement East (CUE East) at UEA is to provide an environment where public engagement with research and teaching is encouraged, supported and facilitated. This publication is one of three issued in autumn 2010, almost three years into the four year national pilot. The others are on our Public Engagement Continuing Professional Development Programme and on Public Engagement with Research. All tell you about some of the wide range of engagement activities that we have supported and how they have helped to change the culture of the University. The CPD edition provides an assessment of the CUE East staff development programme and the Research edition features the different ways in which CUE East has encouraged and supported engagement with research. This edition profiles five UEA engagement practitioners; Dr Laura Bowater (Faculty of Health), Martin Scott (Faculty of Social Sciences), Dr Adam Longcroft (Faculty of Social Sciences), Dr Kay Yeoman (Faculty of Science) and Dr Stephen Ashworth (Faculty of Science). As a pilot, we are keen to share not only our own challenges and lessons from a CUE East perspective but also of those experienced by practitioners who may be described as being ‘at the coalface’. That way, other individuals and institutions may benefit from the breadth and depth of our experience when they seek to develop their own engagement activities and missions. We are grateful to all the practitioners for agreeing to contribute to this publication. This edition is co-authored by Dr Julia Stinton (the Beacons Researcher), Liane Ward (CUE East Operations Manager) and Julie Worrall (CUE East Project Director). Dr Stinton works alongside the team and her role is to evaluate CUE East. She is employed by City College Norwich and undertakes a range of evaluation activities in order to provide constructive feedback on significant learning points as the four year programme develops. This has helped us to embrace the practice of continuous improvement in all aspects of our programme delivery and it has been enormously beneficial. Julie Worrall CUE East Project Director
CUE East Case Study: Public Engagement with Teaching Summary This case study publication focuses on the experience of five engagement practitioners at UEA who were interviewed by Liane Ward. The vignettes are framed by the background to the Beacon programme, aims and objectives, a ‘typology’ of public and community engagement, overall outcomes and impact, the future and a conclusion. A key objective of CUE East is to increase levels of support, reward and recognition for public engagement across the institution with the aim of introducing and embedding a culture at UEA where knowledge dialogue is encouraged, nurtured and supported. To facilitate this CUE East provides advice, liaison, brokerage and facilitation, talks, workshops and presentations, community contacts and partnerships, assistance with event organising, project and small expense funds, and professional development opportunities. Staff and students have been offered opportunities to develop, expand and apply their public engagement understanding, skills and knowledge in a wide variety of contexts. This publication is NOT however, about CUE East. It is about the practitioners; their stories and views on their practice, the challenges and the lessons learnt, and their forward plans.
Cover image (and page 11): UEA DEV students involved in the project with Future Radio (see page 6)
Sources The UK Higher Education funding councils and Research Councils UK, in association with the Wellcome Trust, Beacons for Public Engagement: Invitation to apply for funds (December 2006) University of East Anglia (2007) CUE East Business Plan 2008-2012 McDaid, L. (2008) A qualitative baseline report on the perceptions of public engagement in University of East Anglia academic staff Report No. RS7408, The Research Centre, CCN, Norwich
Worrall, J (April 2008) Foundation for UEA Public & Community Engagement Promotions Criteria; with specific activities, measures and questions for discussion (unpublished) UEA’s Green Book, July 2010 (unpublished) UEA’s Centre for Staff & Educational Development (CSED) Programmes 2008-2011
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Background The UEA led Beacon, CUE East, is both inward looking (encouraging a change of culture in respect of public engagement) and outward looking (promoting meaningful discourse with the public):
“Our ‘knowledge dialogue’ activities are designed to foster an informed climate within which we are all better able to improve quality of life, support social and economic regeneration regionally and inculcate civic values. Our aims are divided into three inward-looking activities and three outward-looking activities.” (CUE East Business Plan, 2007, p.15)
The change of culture refers to the aim to make public engagement an integral part of academic practice that is recognised, valued and rewarded. The challenge of achieving and demonstrating culture change was acknowledged in the original bid for the Beacon status,
“…Like true public engagement itself, it is a complex, multi-faceted process and cannot be achieved by simple ‘engineering’ or demonstrated by statistics or monetary values such as visitor figures at museums/public lectures and annual spend.” (CUE East Business Plan, 2007, p.12)
Aims and Objectives A core focus of CUE East is to increase levels of support, reward and recognition for public engagement across the institution. The Baseline Research recommendations proposed ‘…the term ‘public engagement’ should be clarified and a typology of activities developed’ and ‘…the barriers to public engagement that have been identified should be considered, along with any practical steps to address them’ (McDaid 2008. p7). Table 1 indicates how the CUE East programme aligns with and is applicable to the Beacons for Public Engagement (BPE) aims and CUE East objectives.
The Baseline Research whereby 55 academic and research staff were interviewed about their views on university public engagement and where cultural and institutional barriers to involvement were explored, provided a qualitative baseline against which the change in institutional culture could be assessed. The interviews highlighted that most academics believed public engagement was important but not as important as other activities, such as research and teaching, and for some, administration. A Senior Researcher concludes,
“It’s very difficult to say because it almost comes into a different category because it is not part of my job description or one of the measures against which I think I will ever be measured… it’s more like deciding do I want to go for a run today? It’s something I enjoy and it’s important but I don’t really see it as part of my paid job.” (McDaid 2008. p25).
This illustrates that for many, public engagement was seen as a bolt-on activity and not an integral part of teaching or research. In contrast, however, for some disciplines, described in the Baseline Research as being more ‘public-facing’ such as those in the in the Faculty of Health, public engagement was shown to be synonymous with ‘user-involvement’ in both research and teaching. The Baseline Research will be repeated in 2011.
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Table 1: How CUE East plans to meet its objectives and those of the Beacons initiative Beacon for Public Engagement Initiative Aims
CUE East Objective
To be achieved through
Create a culture in HEIs and research institutes and centres where public engagement is formalised and embedded as a valued and recognised activity for staff at all levels
To introduce and embed a culture at UEA where knowledge dialogue activity is encouraged, tracked, evaluated and rewarded appropriately
• Incentives and Reward Scheme • Enterprise and Engagement tracker • Engagement CPD Programme • Enhancement Fund
Build capacity for public engagement within institutions and encourage staff at all levels, postgraduate students, and undergraduates where appropriate, to become involved
To introduce and embed a culture at UEA where knowledge dialogue activity is encouraged, tracked, evaluated and rewarded appropriately
• Sustainable Living Partnership Fund
A ‘Typology’ of Public and Community Engagement CUE East describes public and community engagement as a multi-faceted and complex activity that benefits UEA staff and students, the University as a whole and the community. It has devised a simple model, now incorporated in UEA’s academic promotions criteria, which reflects the one, two and three way types of engagement:
Communicating knowledge and enriching cultural life
Providing a service and being in dialogue with the public and communities
Being in dialogue with the public and policy-makers
e.g. public lectures, media work, writing for the non-specialist, exhibitions, showcasing academic know-how, pro-bono schemes, communicating research to the public, acting as the lead for major festival themes, contributing to the organisation and delivery of engagement activities.
e.g. volunteering, promoting and employing user involvement in research and the co-production of research, forums, focus groups, seminars and debates that involve the public, pro-bono schemes, drama outreach, museum education, continuing education and lifelong learning, contributing to the organisation and delivery of engagement activities.
e.g. governmental committees involving the academic as the ‘expert’, such as an expert panel, government led public consultation and task forces, and active membership of professional bodies.
Of the academics interviewed for the Baseline Research, 84% said that they had personally been involved in some form of self-defined public engagement. The interview sample included a high proportion of senior academics, thus it was unlikely that the 84% applied to the wider UEA community. Many of the activities cited were one-way communication activities, such as media work, public lectures and writing for the non-specialist audience. A smaller number of
two-way dialogue activities, such as participatory research and interactive events, were given as examples (McDaid 2008. p6). The Baseline Research identified a number of barriers to public engagement such as time; career progression; peer approval; the research-led culture; perceived risk; funding; attitudes towards public engagement; the media; and, the challenges of engaging people.
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The Practitioners Vignette 1: Dr Laura Bowater, Senior Lecturer, CUE East Public Engagement Award Winner (2010) and Public Engagement Practitioner, School of Medicine, Health Policy & Practice, Faculty of Health
Background Dr Laura Bowater (pictured below) undertakes research in areas which include how science and research is taught within a medical curriculum, and she also researches public understanding of science.
out in favour of clinical training. Some would suggest that people skills can be learnt ‘on the job’. However, Laura argues there is “... no point having a brilliant clinician who can’t communicate” (Bowater, 2010).
Lessons Learnt and Key Outputs Key activity In the Faculty of Health, “public engagement is firmly integrated into the discipline ... the school absolutely depends on the public (patients) to help teach our students” (Bowater, 2010). This is partly due to the nature of the subject in that the public (patient) is fundamental to everything. From the outset, public engagement is built into the curriculum to give students opportunities to work with academics, clinicians, colleagues, patients and their relatives to share and reflect on experiences. As part of the course, students also complete a reflective portfolio whereby they evaluate their understanding and what they have learnt from their interactions. “...this experience taught me that good listening and patience are fundamental in forming and maintaining strong doctor-patient relationships” (Dimple Bhatia, Year 4, MED student). Students are also taught to engage with evidence based practice and to assist with this, students spend time writing research protocols and undertaking a student research project. Public engagement projects suitable to individual level of research interest and skill are also offered to students in this part of the course. In addition, all students are asked to think about their research from the patient or the participant perspective, and they are asked to consider and address the ethical implications of involving people in the research process; effectively communicating with participants about the research is a key skill that we want students to develop.
Developing a public engagement focus takes time and it is critical that the ethos of the school is supportive to this. Planning is required to develop and broaden out communication skills, and to arrange timeframes. Laura recommends starting “... gradually, even if it is just a one-to-one exercise in the beginning that’s fine. Build up capability ... students must perceive that they are being supported by the school”. The importance of good organisational and problem-solving expertise should not be underestimated and any good public engagement programme will need investment and money. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that public engagement “... is not mere tokenism, public engagement doesn’t work as a ‘tick box exercise’, the public are learners and teachers as well. Our course would not work if we did not have the public” (Bowater, 2010).
Development of a curriculum that embeds, respects and values the doctor/patient relationship.
Laura has found that, since being promoted on the basis of public engagement, her work has extended beyond her immediate area of expertise. With a history of science communication and running events and family days, Laura has now turned her hand to working in the Faculty of Health, applying her skills and knowledge towards a ‘service-user’ focus. Being recognised for her public engagement activity has given her renewed confidence and enthusiasm for what she does day-to-day. She also feels that promotion on the basis of public engagement work should give other colleagues ‘faith’ that they too can do the same thing, “... interested colleagues should have a go and sound out their schools as regards support and help available ... above all colleagues should work to ensure that public engagement is integrated into what they do and not a bolt on extra” (Bowater, 2010).
Tensions can exist in curriculum design between developing the science/clinical skills and the ‘learning on the job’ softer skills. It is important to keep the balance between these areas to ensure that these ‘soft’ skills do not become squeezed
Publication of a book on Science Communication with Kay Yeoman and Stephen Ashworth. Continue to encourage the school’s ethos of a ‘patient as person’ centred approach to medicine.
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Vignette 2: Martin Scott, Lecturer in Media and International Development and Public Engagement Practitioner, School of International Development, Faculty of Social Sciences
Background Martin Scott (pictured below) is a lecturer in Media and International Development in the School of International Development. He is convener of MA modules in Media and Society and Media and International Development.
from the lecturer to the student. Whist this can be challenging for the lecturer, it is empowering for the students. Also, some students may not immediately accept public engagement opportunities and a lecturer may have to work hard to get students to ‘buy in’ to embracing learning in the field – some will be more comfortable in the traditional classroom.
Key Activity In 2010 Martin set up an exciting collaboration between DEV students studying for an MA in Media and International Development at UEA and a local community radio station in Norwich called Future Radio. Students met every other week, either at UEA or at the radio station or in the community to work together, with staff and volunteers from the station, and with a media and development organisation called New Media Networks. The projects students worked on last year included helping the station to become more sustainable and better able to promote citizen journalism. Martin argues that this project has “helped students to see how theory taught in the classroom, is relevant, or not, in the real world. It has also challenged students assumption’s about what is ‘development’ and what role the media can play” (Scott 2010). From a lecturer’s perspective, he suggests that it is more interesting to “teach outside the classroom about real projects that students are experiencing first hand”.
Aim Future Radio’s aim is to promote freedom of expression and the dissemination of information for the benefit of the local and wider communities. The aim of collaborating with Future Radio through teaching is to help them to achieve these aims and at the same time, provide students with an experience in which they can learn about and reflect upon the process of putting media and development into practice.
Lessons Learnt Martin suggests that it is useful to carry out public engagement activities with a small group at first and ask for as much feedback from students and other partners as possible: “You won’t get it right first time” (Scott 2010). Moreover, a significant amount of personal time is needed to plan, produce and carry out public engagement, “you can’t plan public engagement the night before” (Scott 2010). Martin also feels strongly that in being involved in public engagement, “it is important that the public and the organisations you work with are seen as partners in the endeavour.” (Scott 2010). This, he contends, is not only important for ensuing sustainability, but that demonstrating your commitment to the project is vital in ensuring its success. “Public engagement must be genuine, it shouldn’t be done just once and it shouldn’t simply be a box ticking exercise…One of the organisations we are working with was genuinely shocked when we can come back to talk to them the second time because they had grown weary of individuals and institutions demonstrating only a half-hearted commitment.” (Scott 2010)
Key Outputs Future Radio has implemented all of the work that students produced in the first year. Several students have gained internships through the contacts that they have made by working on this project.
Forward Plans Challenges Martin argues that “including public engagement in a module is scary because the experience is very different every time. Different obstacles and challenges will arise and in a sense you don’t know where public engagement will take you” (Scott, 2010). Undertaking a module in which involves high levels of public engagement ultimately involves devolving power and control
There are plans to turn this collaboration with Future Radio into a formal module so that it will be more sustainable and can be formalised into the curriculum. “….working with Future Radio was a great learning experience for the students, it was great for the station and ultimately will be great for the community” (Scott 2010).
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Vignette 3: Dr Adam Longcroft, Senior Lecturer, CUE East Public Engagement Award Winner (2010) and Public Engagement Practitioner, School of Education & Lifelong Learning (EDU), Faculty of Social Sciences.
Dr Adam Longcroft (pictured below) has for the last 15 years played a key role in developing and delivering a large adult education programme via Continuing Education at UEA which has involved working in partnership with a wide range of agencies and local societies to take the University into the remote corners of the region – as a result, a host of small communities have become ‘outposts’ of higher education learning and many hundreds of people have been able to engage with UEA who would otherwise have been prevented from doing so.
Adam says “A key part of my job has been taking the University and its research out into the darkest corners of Norfolk and Suffolk. It is important to go out and engage with the public. They won’t come to us. We need to meet them halfway”. (Longcroft 2010) More recently his work has focused on bringing new groups of learners to UEA – in particular those in employment seeking to ‘up-skill’ and gain degree level qualifications in the process. “Many working people missed out on a chance to benefit from higher education when they were younger. A key part of my role now is to give them that chance”. (Longcroft 2010) Most universities might take the view that Foundation degrees are not “core business”. Adam believes that vocational courses, work based learning, and workforce development should be a central concern for all universities. Developing these kind of courses is not an easy option, however, since they often require bringing together diverse specialists from many different agencies and sectors. Adam believes that, “…in order to make such courses successful, staff need to be skilled in acting as a lynchpin in bringing varied partners, cultures and viewpoints together” (Longcroft, 2010). He believes that employers are key players that could bring in much needed funding, ideas and resources to the ‘HE Mix’.
Key Developments Finding innovative ways of facilitating workforce development is a key aspect of Adam’s work. Adam played a key role in developing a pioneering generic Honours level ‘Top up’ degree (BA Professional Studies) which is vocationally orientated and facilitates progression of students from the University’s partner colleges. More recently Adam has been involved in the development, in partnership with Norfolk County Council Children’s Services department, of a Foundation degree in social pedagogy and Integrated Children’s Services. This innovative degree programme – the first ever to be run by UEA itself – has required working with a number of external partners including organisations in the voluntary sector, and colleagues from other disciplines at UEA. Adam has also played a key role in securing a large research grant from English Heritage to record and analyse the 400+ surviving Victorian and Edwardian school rural schools of Norfolk, which has attracted the involvement of hundreds of members of the public. Adam has recently worked with Norfolk Creative Partnerships to develop a tailor-made post-graduate training course for practising teachers who are pioneering innovative approaches to learning in the classroom.
Aims Adam’s aims are to continue to develop teaching programmes which attract ‘non traditional’ learners to higher education, to explore new ways of developing the skills of the region’s workforce, and to instigate research which engages both the interest and active participation of the public. Adam’s hope is that the new Foundation degree will have a significant impact on the standards of care provided to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our region.
Lessons Learnt and Key Outputs Adam says “The University needs to continue to attract staff with ‘entrepreneurial flair’, who can work with businesses, public sector employers and others to build long term partnerships and networks so that innovative solutions can be found to the professional development needs of individuals and organisations” (Longcroft 2010). EDU has developed long-standing relationships with a wide range of national and local partners such as the National Trust, RSPB, English Nature, English Heritage and a number of schools and volunteer run local societies. This means that the School is well placed continue its widening participation, public engagement and workforce development objectives.
Forward Plans The funding landscape is changing rapidly and will continue to change. New innovative partnership projects need to continue to be sourced and developed so that the community is developed as well as new funding streams embraced.
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Vignette 4: Dr Kay Yeoman, Senior Lecturer, CUE East Public Engagement Award Winner (2009) and Public Engagement Practitioner, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science
Background Dr Kay Yeoman (pictured below) is a senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences and has received a CUE East Public Engagement Award (2009) for her involvement with projects, with local schools, the Norwich Castle Museum and the Inspire Discovery Centre.
Key Activity In the School of Biological Sciences, students are able to take either a Biology degree with Science in Communication or they can take science communication as an optional module in their final year of study. As part of the module in Science Communication, students will write an essay on a communication issue and then undertake a practical engagement project in collaboration with one of our partner organisations. The project report includes writing about their experience as a piece of self reflection. Kay feels that “…for a scientist it can often be hard to embrace the language of self reflection. However, such reflection is good grounding for future Appraisals, learning to present yourself for interviews and developing empathy and good people skills”. Students who undertake the Science Communication module have also become involved through their projects in the design and set up for example of after school clubs, Norwich Castle events, magazines and postcards and Forum family days. There are also informal opportunities at UEA to get involved in engagement for example STEM ambassadors, Researchers in Residence and the Teacher Scientist Network. This demonstrates that public engagement can be Faculty led, student led or volunteer led.
Aim “With regards to the students it is imperative that they get a mindset early on in their studies of the importance of communication in their subject area. The skills that they learn in public engagement are very transferable and also extremely useful in terms of employability whether they continue to pursue an academic career or not” (Yeoman, 2010).
pedagogical design” (Yeoman, 2010). With regards to involving sceptical colleagues in public engagement, Kay feels that the best way to influence colleagues is to “…do it yourself (lead by example)” (Yeoman, 2010). Kay feels that another challenge that needs to be addressed is that of providing opportunities for interested colleagues to ‘dip a toe in the water’ but providing activities that they can become involved with thus creating inspiration via a ‘helping out’ route. However, that it is equally important to be aware that there will be colleagues that don’t want to do public engagement and that’s ok!
Lessons Learnt Students need to be encouraged to undertake good practice and research in public engagement, and part of this is finding out what literature is available with regards to public engagement. Kay feels that it is most important for a module in public engagement to be both generic but at the same time appealing to students who might have very different specialisms or areas of interest. Students need to learn an important lesson – that their research is not done in a vacuum and that it does have impact. They also need to learn that the public have an opinion. “Public engagement forms a critical bridge between HE and communities, and thus if students are doing projects in science communication then they are helping to break down the barriers between the two” (Yeoman 2010).
Key Outputs Kay has found that the last few years of embedding public engagement into taught modules has now enabled the School to build capacity in terms of past students being able to come back and mentor new students in public engagement activities thus acting as role models as well. Students on the programme involved in video projects were able to take advantage of the BBC Voices film training day at the Forum in Norwich (offered via the public engagement training programme in CSED) As a result of Kay’s extensive work in this area, she has now become a Science Advisor for the Norwich Castle Museum and a Trustee of the Inspire Discovery Centre.
Challenges Time is a huge barrier and lots of it is needed to develop credit bearing modules. “It is important that the module being developed must demonstrate academic rigour and good
Forward Plans To develop an MSc Science and Communication degree jointly between BIO, ENV, and FTV.
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Vignette Vignette 5: Dr Stephen Ashworth, Senior Lecturer, Associate Dean for Admissions, CUE East Public Engagement Award Winner (2009) and Public Engagement Practitioner, School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Background Dr Stephen Ashworth (pictured below) is a senior lecturer in the School of Chemistry and Associate Dean for Admissions in the Science Faculty. He is also a past CUE East Public Engagement Award winner (2009). Stephen is well known in his field for his inspiring lectures to the Women’s Institute (WI) as well as being involved in hosting the annual Salters’ Festival and the Norwich Science Olympiad.
Key Activity At the undergraduate level there are two modules on ‘Special Topics in Chemistry’ which he organises. In the first module a series of guest speakers both internal and external are invited to share their experiences and specialisms with the students, to raise students’ awareness of what is going on in the discipline and excite the audience. Students are then set assignments where they are required to write for different audiences. A combination of peer assessment and formal marking is used. The second module of ‘Special Topics’ has the students in groups designing posters and doing an oral presentation for a summer school. Also they are given titles of themes from ‘Special Topics 1’ lectures on which they individually write a longer academic piece. All of this gives the students at this level some practice in the nuts and bolts of public engagement work.
Aim Development and assessment of communication skills, both oral and written, plus research skills. Designing poster skills and gaining confidence in oral presentations, all of which enable the students “… to practise the skills in a non-threatening environment” (Ashworth, 2010).
Challenges Setting up such modules such as outlined above does take time and resources and further-more does “not always fit into standard timetables” (Ashworth 2010). Slotting guest speakers in and organising groups of students doing different tasks can be logistically challenging. If, in addition, there were to be interaction with the public (especially at this early stage) there is potentially more that could go wrong: equipment not working, public not attending. In such cases
there would need to be flexibility in terms of being able to handle an “element of uncertainty” (Ashworth 2010). Within the institution there is a need to understand and articulate better the difference between outreach, business engagement and public engagement. What role each plays in university life and more importantly, to decide how much of it the university wishes to allocate time and resourcing to undertake. Culturally and historically researchers have done research and teaching but the emphasis has been on research. The culture within the university is changing so that public engagement is more valued. Engagement “…in company time” (Ashworth 2010) which detracts from research is not necessarily encouraged. The challenge here will be to better combine research with public engagement, especially in the light of the desires of Research Councils to embed engagement in research.
Lessons Learnt The value of including peer assessment in the evaluation and assessment process. In order for this to be a success, the criteria need to be publicised well in advance of the assessment. Assessing experiential learning in a public arena is challenging in the sense that different methods and ways of assessing may need to be used such as the reflective process.
Key Outputs Stephen started his public engagement work by giving lectures to the WI. This in turn led to presentations to schools and more embedding of public engagement in house: two of the WI lectures feature in the first Special Topics module. Stephen’s work has also seen him involved in funding award panels both for EPSRC and CUE East and has also taken him out to Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre in Mauritius and also to the ‘Sci Fest Africa’ event in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Forward Plans To continue to build capacity within the school with regards to having the resources for “interested parties” (Ashworth 2010) to go out and undertake engagement. Graduate students are also encouraged to take part as an element of the skills programme (PPD) which runs alongside their PhD studies.
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Outcomes and Impact Having champions within a school or faculty, who are embedding public engagement within their teaching model, increases impact and builds capacity, particularly if this can be combined with formal or informal peer evaluation of teaching and learning with public engagement. This, in turn, may help to sustain and promote growth and development internally, in the form of training to peers, and in wider contexts. This successful public engagement activity generates support and enthusiasm, and a more strategic buy-in at school, faculty and/or institutional level. The outcomes and impact of any curriculum re-design including engagement activities undertaken on a small-scale are likely to be more successful in the initial stages of any public engagement related module, particularly if it is taught by those who are more comfortable with the method. This, consequently, is more likely to develop skill, confidence and enthusiasm at a school, faculty and institutional level. Facilitating student feedback and student peer review as part of any public engagement activity evaluation process encourages student participation and ownership of the engagement element of teaching programmes. The outcome of this should be a level of commitment and support by students to the practice of engagement within teaching, particularly if they can see the impact of undertaking such activity on future careers and employability. Furthermore, formal evaluation of public engagement activity will add to the growing body of expertise and literature on the subject within HE. A well-structured and successfully completed engagement module
will enhance the reputation of the institution within the public engagement arena and this may well extend to invitations to teach for outside agencies, to provide guest lectures or to act as a consultant. Public engagement enables explicit application of theory to practice and practice to theory, and demonstrates to colleagues the importance and benefits of its inclusion within teaching. An outcome of embedding engagement within teaching should be the generation of a public engagement skill set, a portfolio of knowledge and expertise which can be included within teaching programmes by colleagues when undertaking public engagement activities with students, or in new courses with engagement themes. Undertaking public engagement within teaching should not be an individually, isolated event. Planning units and applying for grants should promote working in partnership with colleagues. Indeed, the impact of increased partnership and collaborative processes may extend into multiinstitutional groups, facilitating the exchange of ideas in a public engagement community-ofpractice. Moreover, in financial terms public engagement can lead to further funding for additional projects. An example from this case study was cited by Dr Adam Longcroft; he explained that ÂŁ50,000 received from the Heritage Trust to work with schools in rural communities may extend into additional funding for a project within urban neighbourhoods. In fact, Dr Longcroft suggests that these impacts and outcomes of public engagement activity may extend nationally and internationally as a result of locally orientated schemes.
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The future In order to sustain current growth within the public engagement field and further promote existing activity, CUE East plan to run a CPD programme aimed at Enhancing the Student Experience through Community Engagement. The course intends to facilitate discussion, sharing of information and learning around the setting up and running of student engagement sessions. Participants will be encouraged to come with their own questions, while suggested topics might include: how to set up student engagement as part of an assessed module; how to get funding and resources; pros and cons; the value of student engagement to themselves and the community, and how to evaluate pilot sessions. Case studies will be shared with participants of past and current successful engagement activities.
Furthermore, data from interviews carried out as part of the research for this case study indicates that additional work needs to be done with the teaching and training of colleagues and formal peer evaluation of public engagement within teaching and learning. Although much progress has been made to champion the embedding of public engagement since the inception of the Beacon project, as the vignettes in this case publication are testament of, there is capacity to move the public engagement agenda on, particularly in the two aforementioned areas. While the PE-CPD programme will go some way to promote this, a continuing challenge for CUE East will be to consider how the processes of teaching and training of colleagues and formal peer evaluation of public engagement within teaching and learning can be established as part of recognised, sound academic practice.
Conclusion CUE East has played a major role and has had a positive impact in identifying and promoting examples of good practice in public engagement within teaching and learning. The interviewees who participated in this research have identified that public engagement must not be simply a ‘tick box’ exercise or a ‘bolt-on’ activity, it should be an embedded and integral part of the curriculum, so promoting sustainability and longevity. Contributors have suggested that, although individual champions of public engagement are important, engagement activities need to be an established part of the curriculum model to ensure their continuation and legacy with or without the champion in residence. Moreover, public engagement activity should start off
gradually, building on successes and learning from mistakes and including student feedback should form part of engagement activity evaluation. Although not always made explicit by the interviewees themselves, the purpose and benefits of public engagement within teaching should be overt and precise and enlisting school or faculty support was deemed a vital component in the facilitation of a successful and ongoing public engagement curriculum. Above all,
“... do share it. Tell everyone. Don’t hide it! Be open about the successes and challenges of public engagement and what you have done to achieve success” (Yeoman, 2010).
Contact Us Visit our website: www.cueeast.org Write to us: CUE East, SSF Faculty Offices, 9/1.120, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ Phone us: 01603 591561 Email us: email@example.com
For further information about the Beacons for Public Engagement project visit the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) web pages: www.publicengagement.ac.uk. The NCCPE works with all the beacons to promote best practice in public engagement and provides a single point of contact for the whole higher education sector.
Funded by The Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust
Published on Aug 30, 2011
Published on Aug 30, 2011
This case study publication focuses on the experience of five engagement practitioners at UEA who were interviewed by CUE East. The vignet...