Chapter 13: Best practices in community engagement
What is the role of the modern university in society? Fundamental changes are occurring in the expectations placed by stakeholders upon universities. In a sense, the university as ‘ivory tower’ or ‘bastion of knowledge and knowledge development’ is giving way to a view that institutions of higher learning should be agents of social and economic advancement. While the expectations are not always well specified, it is increasingly assumed that universities should be meaningfully involved in their communities. Further, this involvement extends beyond field research and learning from evidence generated though practice, and includes informing and guiding practice through hands-on engagement. The notion of university engagement is not a new one, but the contemporary environment finds expectations rising together with demands for more accountability for the significant resources invested in universities. The dramatic growth in entrepreneurship programs has taken place in this environment of rising expectations.
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