The Engage Academy – 7 years and counting

Steph Todd, Senior Project Officer at NCCPE, launches the Engage Academy 2021/2022

The Engage Academy truly is a cornerstone programme for the NCCPE. We look forward to welcoming a new cohort and developing and delivering the course every year. Now in its 7th consecutive year, we are delighted to be opening applications for engaged Academicians for 2021/22.

Wondering if the Academy is for you?

This year we will be focusing on the role of being a ‘change maker’ within organisations and the skills, knowledge and networks that will enable participants to advocate and implement the change they want to see.

So if you are working to foster a culture of engagement in a Higher Education Institution, charity or public sector organisation whether you call yourself a public engagement professional or wear a different title, the Engage Academy is for you.  

Applications are open for those whose role primarily involves supporting researchers to engage. 

How will the academy cohort meet?

Last year’s cohort experienced their Academy journey exclusively online, miles apart (quite literally!) from the usual 2 day face to face structure we were used to. It is probably fair to say that there was some trepidation for all involved as to how an online Academy would work, but it did! It also meant that we all learnt so much about how to engage online, how this differs from in person events and what platforms and technology can assist the delivery. All of this learning has enabled us to refresh the approach for this year’s Academy ready for us to run again exclusively online. This will include:

  • More regular touchpoints throughout the 9 month programme for shorter periods, to reduce online fatigue
  • A combination of live and recorded webinars to watch at a time that suits participants or during a ‘watch party’
  • Highly participatory facilitated workshops
  • Regular networking social events to help build bonds with fellow Academicians
  • Learning group meet ups facilitated by a champion
  • Experienced Mentor support

Screen grab from ‘creative enquiry’ session on Zoom – Engage Academy 2020/21

Reflections from Academy alumni

As we are now entering our 7th year of the Academy, we thought it would timely to look back and see how some of our early alumni are getting on and how the Academy helped shape their engagement journey.

We love to continue working with Academy alumni, whether that be through curating sessions at the Engage Conference, working together to deliver training, developing new ideas or sharing resources and advice.  Mhairi Stewart, Alina Loth and Erin Hardee are three alumni we have kept in contact with over the years – let’s see what they have to say…

The Academy was formative for me in my career development. Not only did it help me to develop my knowledge and skill base in public engagement, it challenged me to think widely about engagement practice and find my own interests in this field. The network of peers and friends I first met through my Academy, and in interacting with subsequent Academies, are invaluable to me as a support network and sounding board for ideas and strategies. To any early or mid-career PE professionals thinking of applying I would urge you to think not just of the experience as one of broadening your knowledge, but also of broadening your horizons of practice, your skills, confidence, and your networks. Mhairi Stewart, Head of Public Engagement with Research, University of St Andrews. Academy Alumni 2015/16.

The Engage Academy has been the best professional development opportunity I participated in throughout my career.…The programme helped me to reflect on my professional practice and strategy to implement change within our institution. It helped me to see the bigger picture and to exchange ideas and diverse approaches with my peers from across the UK. Change never happens over night, but the Engage Academy gave me the tools and support network necessary to implement change short, mid, and long-term… The programme is diverse and well-planned and you are almost guaranteed to get something out of it regardless of where you stand in your career. Alina Loth Head of Berlin School for Public Engagement and Open Science. Academy alumni 2018/19

Erin Hardee Schools Outreach Organiser School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee and Academy Alumni 2016/17 when asked to give advice to anyone considering applying to the Academy said:

Do it! As public engagement professionals the path to career progression and professional development is still uncertain, but the Academy is a great way to gain new skills, network and grow your own confidence. The connections you make in the Academy may well lead to further opportunities down the line, and you'll have a great time to boot.

If you think the Engage Academy is for you, visit the Academy webpage to find out more and apply. Please note places are by application and we cannot guarantee your place.

That just leaves me to say that the NCCPE team can’t wait to welcome a brand new cohort, deliver our refreshed Academy approach and work together to make change happen across the sector and beyond.

Find out more and apply for a place

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