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We help universities engage with the public

University of East Anglia

Why we've signed the Manifesto

"Signing up to the Manifesto enables us not only to mark the excellent public engagement practiced by our staff, students and community partners but also to demonstrate our full commitment as an institution to enhancing people's lives and benefitting communities. Our experience as a Beacon for Public Engagement has deeply enriched our approach to public engagement and has taught us much about its challenges and benefits which we are only too pleased to share with others. In taking our strategy forward, we will pursue our Manifesto commitments with a drive and enthusiasm that builds upon the positive momentum we have gained in recent years."

Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia

Our approach to public engagement

UEA staff and students carry out a wide and diverse range of Public Engagement activity across all disciplines and we have published case studies that explain the challenges, solutions and benefits involved. Below are just a few from our 2009/10 activities that embrace the theme of Sustainable Living.

  • Business Breakfast series hosted by Shaping Norfolk's Future e.g. on Sustainable Tourism with UEA's School of International Development
  • Sustainable Long Term Care for Older People: a post doctorate project collecting oral histories in UEA's School of History
  • Ecopoetry in Schools and Beyond: a joint venture between UEA's School of Literature, School of American Studies, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk County Council
  • Invisible Dust: leading UEA environmental scientists and postgraduate students link to local artists and schools
  • SEAL and the Vulnerable Teenagers: Norfolk County Council integrating marginalised young people into the mainstream by bringing them into contact with peers and UEA staff and students
  • The Big Urban Heat Experiment: BBC East and UEA's School of Environmental Sciences' community experiment
  • Inspire Discovery Centre, Norwich Young Persons Science Café
  • Sixth Form Conference: a one-day sixth form conference hosted by the Norwich Castle Museum with UEA's School of Biological Sciences

In our bid to become a 'Beacon for Public Engagement', we cited a number of public engagement exemplars from UEA and from across the Norwich Research Park and expressed our belief that research excellence can be positively correlated with effective and exemplary engagement activity. We recognised a clear distinction between Knowledge Transfer and genuine engagement activity that promotes questioning from groups and individuals unrelated to the University and listening and involvement on our part. We also recognised the need to nurture and embed a culture in higher education where public engagement and knowledge dialogue is encouraged, nurtured and supported.

To that end, our Beacon for Public Engagement programme, managed by CUE East and steered by our senior academics and community partners, has enabled us to provide a dedicated support service for staff and students with associated individual awards for excellence and a professional development programme which has effectively 'raised the game' for Public Engagement across all disciplines, Arts & Humanities, Health, Science and Social Science. It has been demonstrated, through regular activity and evaluation reports throughout the programme, that awareness and take-up of Public Engagement opportunities has increased, enhancing teaching and research and also enriching the professional development of staff and the student experience at UEA. Specific measures since 2008 include:

  • A new 'UEA Corporate Plan in 2008 with 'Enterprise & Engagement' as a priority theme
  • A typology of Public Engagement that has shaped new academic promotions criteria at UEA
  • New UEA academic promotions criteria that links Public Engagement to teaching and research
  • An Engagement Continuing Professional Development Programme for staff and students
  • A pilot 'Enterprise & Engagement Tracker' to enable individual staff and students to record their activity and build their profile
  • Funds for projects that enable good practice models to be replicated across all disciplines and for projects that promote partnership under the theme of Sustainable Living
  • A Small Expenses Fund to support individual staff and students' Public Engagement activity expenses such as travel and catering
  • A city contact point at The Forum, Norwich, where staff and students can reach and engage with the public
  • New Individual awards for excellence presented at UEA's annual Congregation alongside the honorary degrees
  • A Beacon's Researcher who can advise individuals and projects on evaluation techniques and reports

Contact

Name: Julie Worrall

Title: Community University Engagement Manager 

Tel: 01603 591567

Email: julie.worrall@uea.ac.uk 

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