SHEFCE project - Steering Higher Education for Community Engagement

SHEFCE aims to encourage the involvement of European universities, legislators and stakeholders to incorporate community engagement into higher education.

The SHEFCE project is funded by the European Union's Erasmus+ program and is coordinated by the Institute for the Development of Education (Croatia). A total of 23 members from six European Union member states are taking part, including the European Association of Universities (USA), the European Association of Higher Education Institutions (EURASHE), the European Union European Student Organization (ESU), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Council.

Community engagement is an essential part of the "third mission" of universities. However, so far, community engagement has not been present in higher education policies because priority has been given to economic and impact aspects of universities. The broader idea of ​​the social function of universities, however, has begun to resurface in political initiatives, as reflected in the European Union's Renewed Agenda for Higher Education, in Horizon's 'Science with and for Society' program. 2020, as well as in the recent European Universities Initiative.

The SHEFCE project is a continuation of the Towards project in the European Framework for Community Engagement in Higher Education (TEFCE), which has developed a set of tools (toolsbox) for universities and legislators to implement community engagement.

The SHEFCE project will have four main results:

  1. University action plans for community engagement, in five partner universities.
  2. Policy and system recommendations for Community engagement in higher education in five countries and at EU level.
  3. A European online platform for community engagement in higher education with resources and tools to support universities and communities.
  4. The launch of a European "heat map" of community engagement to help universities learn from the good practices of universities in other countries.

The project's partnership of universities consists of five "action planning" universities (Danube University in Krems, Free University in Brussels, Technological University in Dublin, University of Girona and University of Rijeka), four experts in the field of higher education policy and community engagement (Catalan Association of Public Universities, Ghent University, Institute for the Development of Education, National University of Ireland Galway) and an agency on social impact (Brodoto).

The team also has the support of five local partners (Dublin, Rijeka, Girona and Salt municipalities in Catalonia; and the Brussels-based NGO City Spark); three national networks / stakeholders (Campus Engage, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and EAIR - the European Higher Education Society); and five international associations (US, EURASHE, ESU, OECD and Council of Europe).

For further information, please visit the SHEFCE website


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