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Supporting HEIs in addressing societal needs: The TEFCE Toolbox

On 3 December 2020, the Towards a European Framework for Community Engagement in Higher Education (TEFCE) project launched  a new  toolbox for benchmarking  community engagement in higher education institutions. 

The toolbox, presented during  an accessible webinar, is an institutional self-reflection framework which provides tools for higher education institutions  and communities to identify engagement practices and proactively reflect both on their achievements and room for improvement. The toolbox supports the development of high quality community engagement without using metrics, ranking or bureaucratic self-assessment questionnaires. The toolbox provides HEIs with resources to encourage institution-wide discussions  which feed into a heatmap indicating the level of development of community engagement of respective departments within the institution   according to five criteria: 

  1. Authenticity of engagement 
  2. Range of societal needs addressed 
  3. Diversity of communities engaged with 
  4. Extent of institutional spread of community engagement 
  5. Institutional sustainability of community engagement 

The toolbox is intended to be applied by intertwining four specific tools and five stages in a period of six months as follows: 

 Stage 1: Quick-Scan 

Tool 1: Dimensions of engagement 

Stage 2: Evidence-Collection 

Tool 2: Levels of engagement 

Stage 3: Mapping and Analysis 

Tool 3: Institutional community-engagement heatmap 

Stage 4: Participative Dialogue 

Tool 4: “Slipdot” analysis 

Stage 5: Institutional Report 

For more information about this new community engagement toolbox and about this project more broadly  please visit TEFCE’s website. 

Also, one of the project’s deliverables is the report Community engagement in higher education: trends, practices and policies.