Challenges for university engagement in the UK: Toward a public academe?

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Abstract

This paper considers the changing role of universities in the UK as they respond to an engagement agenda that stipulates a more immersive and visible interaction between academics and the public. It constitutes a survey of attitudes to public engagement in a selection of UK universities drawing on interviews with senior academics with managerial responsibility at the end of 2009. The results of this study reflect a mood of indecision and anxiety among respondents towards a public engagement agenda seen to influence the contours of their professional identities and working lives. The study situates academic accounts that contest the legitimacy of public engagement as a core academic activity and the role of academics in communicating with public groups. Moreover, it reveals a lack of agreement and consistency in the conceptualisation and application of public engagement in higher education contexts, certainly beyond an emergent discourse of research impact.
LanguageEnglish
Pages386-410
Number of pages24
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Volume65
Issue number4
Early online date5 Aug 2011
DOIs
StatusPublished - 2011

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university
impact research
studies (academic)
working life
mood
legitimacy
anxiety
responsibility
discourse
lack
interaction
interview
education
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Cite this

Challenges for university engagement in the UK : Toward a public academe? / Watermeyer, Richard.

In: Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4, 2011, p. 386-410.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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