CALL FOR ABSTRACTS & PROPOSALS The Scholarship of Engagement Conference Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland September 8th-9th, 2016


To be considered scholarship, service (engagement) activities must be tied directly to one's special field of knowledge and relate to, and flow directly out of, this professional activity. Such service (engagement) is serious, demanding work, requiring the rigor and the accountability traditionally associated with research activities.[i]

Theme: The nature, purpose and practice of engagement between higher education and all sectors of society;

  • Inside and outside the curriculum;
  • Sectors: Civic; community; industry; employers; cultural; creative and society as a whole
  • Geographies: From local to international

Who should attend? This conference will bring together higher education practitioners in academic, administrative and leadership roles related to engagement between Higher Education and the full range of societal partners, along with representatives of societal partners, to exchange knowledge and imagine the future of HE engagement.

Format: Parallel academic and practitioner tracks; plenary sessions and workshops.

Keynote Speakers include:

Professor Steve Abel

Associate Provost for Engagement, Purdue University

Emeritus Professor Allan Gibb

Durham University

Professor Barbara A. Holland

Indiana University-Purdue University, Portland State University and University of Sydney

Schedule: Conference commences at 8.30 am on 8th September, 2016 and concludes at 2 pm on 9th September.  Conference Dinner will take place at 7.30 pm on 8th September.

The Call for Abstracts and Proposals is now open.  See Guidelines below
Abstracts and proposals for presentations and workshops should be submitted to by 25th May, 2016.

Broad areas to be explored

  1. The rationale for pursuing engagement, at the level of the institution and of the individual academic, and the role, objectives and characteristics of effective and appropriate university engagement?
  2. Good practice in stakeholder engagement, from regional to international, from social to economic to cultural, inside and outside the curriculum.
  3. Organisational approaches and models to be responsive to stakeholder needs;  
  • the civic university; the internationalised university; the entrepreneurial university;
  1. University structures and processes to recognise, facilitate and promote excellence in engagement:
  • Academic recruitment and promotion criteria
  • Workload allocation, recognition and esteem for engagement.
  • Impact measurement
  • Stakeholder relationship management and optimisation
  1. National policy.

Indicative list of topics

  1. The Role of the University - How core is engagement? What is scholarly engagement, and should all university engagement be scholarly?
  2. Promoting and rewarding scholarly engagement by academics.
  3. Scholarly engagement with community and civic organisations – models and practice.
  4. Organising for engagement – The Entrepreneurial University, The Civic University, The Internationalised University.
  5. Scholarly engagement with Industry, Business and Employers – models and practice.
  6. Knowledge exchange.
  7. Engagement in the curriculum and co-curriculum – importance, models and practice.
  8. Engagement, the student experience and graduate attributes.
  9. The Internationalised University – curriculum, culture and impact.
  10. International engagement – models and practice.
  11. Future Directions for University Engagement.





Three types of submission are invited, as described below. Decisions on inclusion will be based on a review of the abstracts submitted. 


Short papers

Short papers will make up the academic track.  These should report on recently completed projects or phases of projects, innovations or other developments. The paper should have a clear focus that highlights the key elements of the project. Short papers should be capable of delivery in no more than 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions.

Abstract length: 300 words


Presentations will be more subjective accounts of experiences, positive and negative, in the development, innovation, management, leadership or practice of HE engagement. They will be organised in a practitioner track. The purpose is to share ideas and approaches that may illuminate and inspire that may not yet have an evidence base, but that may lead to future research projects. Presentations should also be no more than 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions.

Abstract length: 300 words


Workshops are actively encouraged to demonstrate new approaches and creativity in engagement activities. They involve active participation and discussion with the focus on participants being able to develop practical ideas for future implementation in their own practice or area of responsibility. Workshops can be held in a room with or without computers. Your abstract should include an outline of the intended outcomes and activities including timings. Workshops are 60 minutes long.

Abstract length: 500 words (including workshop outline)


Abstracts: 25th May, 2016

Final papers, presentations, workshop  descriptions: 2nd September, 2016



Engagement – still emerging as a core mission of Higher Education

Engagement with stakeholders, from regional to international, from social to economic to cultural, for knowledge exchange and mutual benefit, is now widely accepted as the third mission of higher education.  The understanding of engagement is far from fully developed, however, and it is far from seamlessly integrated into the structures, processes and metrics of higher education (HE). The more established missions of teaching and learning and research continue to dominate the agendas of many higher education institutions (HEIs) and also the mind-set of many academics. It is suggested that this will continue to be the case until a deeper understanding is gained of what engagement is, why HEIs should be involved in it, and how structures, processes and metrics should be changed to optimally facilitate and promote it.


Technological Universities – coming to Ireland

The proposed creation of a new type of HEI in Ireland, the Technological University (TU), and the expectation that ubiquitous engagement will be a defining and differentiating characteristic of it, is stimulating debate within Ireland on these questions. The Technological University for Dublin (TU4Dublin) Alliance, which is engaged in an initiative to become one of the first TUs in Ireland, has the stated aim of transforming itself in order to “embed engagement in everything we do” and to be “co -dependent with all our stakeholders”: in short to become a truly engaged university. It recognises the need to sharpen the focus on what this means and how to make it happen, and it is looking to international good practice for guidance.

Working with Leaders in Engagement in the USA

Purdue University, one of the world-leading exemplars of an engaged university, has been an established partner for many years of one of the TU4Dublin Alliance partners, Dublin Institute of Technology. The partnership was widened in 2015 to include collaboration and knowledge exchange with TU4Dublin in stakeholder engagement. The partners now wish to broaden the conversation and invite their Irish, US and international peers to confer on this vital topic – the scholarship of engagement.

Host Partners
Technological University for Dublin Alliance (TU4Dublin)

The TU4Dublin Alliance institutions are on a path to merger and to seek designation as a Technological University, a new type of Institution in Ireland.  DIT has been an integral part of the Irish Higher Education system for more than a century, while ITT and ITB were founded in the 1990s, with a core focus on regional engagement. All three are comprehensive higher education institutions, combining the academic excellence of a traditional university with professional, career-oriented learning, preparing graduates for productive professional and leadership roles. Engagement with their region is a defining characteristic of each institution. The merged institution will be the largest higher education Institution in Ireland.


Purdue University

Purdue University, a top public research institution in the United States, demonstrates a strong history of success in learning and discovery.  Founded in 1869, Purdue is the land grant University for the state of Indiana.  In 2006, Purdue University became the first and only university recipient of the C. Peter Magrath award for Excellence in Engagement from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Purdue has twice been honoured as a recipient of the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2015 Purdue was named an APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity University.



[i] 1Adapted from: Boyer, Ernest. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. New York: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.