This report has been prepared during the summer of 2011 for the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). It was developed following discussion between the authors and the NCCPE regarding the current patchwork of evidence for higher education impact and the need for a holistic approach to capturing the broader value of what universities2 do and their wider impact on society, their ‘social’ as well as economic value. The authors have extensive experience in researching aspects of higher education’s economic impact.
This report provides an overview of the process used by the project team to develop tools to measure the impact of civic engagement practices in the human services network. More importantly, it presents the resultant fruits of those labors: the Civic Engagement Measurement System (CEMS). The CEMS consists of an inter-related set of tools that are believed to represent a promising new approach to the measurement of outcomes and impacts in civic engagement.
This briefing paper is written for academics, university administrators and community partners interested in monitoring and evaluating university public engagement. It provides an accessible guide to the field that can assist them in answering the questions they want to answer, in tailoring their own approach and negotiating that approach between the university and local communities. By ‘local communities’ we mean geographically defined communities, identity communities, and other collectivities that universities want to engage with.