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Of the inherent flaws in the University-Community Engagement Evaluation Controversies: Opportunities for a New Path Forward
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-18, 15:38 authored by Isabelle Bartkowiak-TheronIsabelle Bartkowiak-Theron
There now exists much industry and government documentation on industry-community engagement initiatives and their transferability into a variety of contexts. This documentation provides readers with insight and running commentary on the measurability of community-engagement initiatives (in the form of advice on 'hard' data and 'softer' (albeit equally important) measures), as well as their short and long term impact on all stakeholders. However, there remain difficulties in measuring the various processes and outcomes attached to community engagement within a university context. Existing initiatives that feature elements of university-community engagement allow us to reflect on what is easily measurable, what is more difficult to assess, and what requires downright creativity in evaluation techniques. This paper argues that current debates about the lack of university-community evaluations is misplaced, and examines the scope and nature of existing evaluations of university–community engagement. The examination of vocal and extended disputes revealed the inherent flaws in the debate and how it needs to be fundamentally rethought. In this paper, I offer some solutions to pave the way for university leaders and middle managers to acknowledge the prevalence, relevance, and measurability of university–community engagement for organisations and their partners.
Publication titleAustralasian Journal of University-Community Engagement
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationAustralia
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