Embracing public engagement can transform the educational experience of students, and stimulate and develop your staff. You can download the full evidence fact sheets at the bottom of this page.
It motivates and develops staff and students
The vast majority of staff and students believe they have a duty to explain their work and its social and ethical implications to the public. Through engaging with the wider public, they develop a range of transferable skills, for instance in leadership, communication, listening, partnership working and project management.
It enriches the student experience
Students are looking for a higher education experience that is relevant to the needs of today's society and that will equip them for their future lives and careers: 49% of students surveyed in 2010 had volunteered in the previous year – with 95% motivated by a desire to improve things or help people. Ensuring they can access a range of formal and less formal opportunities to engage with the public, for instance through volunteering, provides students with the kind of socially committed higher education they demand; it also develops their employability and life skills.
It helps to sensitise HEIs and their staff and students to social and ethical issues, and to stay 'in tune' with wider social concerns
Three quarters of the public believe that academics should listen more to what ordinary people think and over half believe that scientists pay insufficient attention to potential risks. Seeking to discuss issues with the public and to listen to their aspirations and concerns is a requirement in the new Universal Ethical Code. Engaging with the public helps staff and students to better understand these kinds of social and ethical concerns and the implications for their own work.