Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Elaine Ward and Ellen Hazelkorn, E. (2012) ‘Engaging with the Community’, in In S. Bergan , E. Egron-Polak , J. Kohler, L. Purser and M. Vukasović (Eds.) Handbook on Leadership and Governance in Higher Education, Stuttgart: Raabe Verlag.


This article focuses on how higher education institutions (HEIs) engage with their external community, contribute to social and economic development, and underpin civil society and democracy. The external community consists of a wide-range of stakeholders from business and industry, the public, private and non-governmental sector, and civil society. While many HEIs have historically had a strong association to their city or nation, today the health of society and the economy is inextricably tied to greater collaboration between “town” and “gown”. The article has five main sections: i) Introduces the social and public responsibility of higher education, ii) Describes the policy context, iii) Defines “engagement”, iv) Offers some indicators to assess and measure engagement and v) Summarizes and makes some recommendations to help institutional leaders ensure engagement is successful and sustained.