EA’s strength is its membership and strong national and international relationships, linkages and partnerships.
The main objective is to lead and facilitate the development of best practice university-community engagement in Australia. This is done through creating inclusive forums for discussion and development of engagement, promoting practice, fostering awareness, building capacity and developing resources.
Through the work of our Board, committees and working groups, EA provides an array of professional development activities as well as networking opportunities to develop engagement knowledge, skills and capacity and build interactive networks, partnerships and other relationships within and between universities, business, industry, government and community-based organisations.
The ways in which higher education institutions engage with communities is increasingly considered to be at the core of national innovation and productivity agendas. Despite numerous reports and calls from governments over many decades, there is still a significant disconnect between universities and communities in Australia.
The need for knowledge translation and exchange has never been greater. Engagement, collaboration and the resultant partnerships critical to enabling knowledge exchange more broadly need to be at the centre of our collective attention as a sector. This should not be seen as an ‘add-on’, ‘nice-to-have’ or ‘focus-for-now’ but rather a robust framework for realising strategic intention and creating impact, as a university and a nation.
Focusing in this way will move us away from a piecemeal approach towards a place where we can collectively better start to realise the role for universities as knowledge hubs and catalysts for future prosperity, wellbeing and sustainable development. There are several universities, agencies and individuals doing extraordinary work in this space. As a sector and a nation, there is much more that needs to be done if we want to be globally competitive.
This challenge is at the heart of why Engagement Australia exists. As an organisation, we were formed to enable and expand the engagement agenda of higher education institutions with business, industry and community groups.
Our mission today is still focused on the same fundamental challenge. We continue to provide support to our members, we undertake strategic projects in areas that require a national perspective and astute understanding of the sector, we facilitate a dialogue at the senior level in the sector around the acute role for engagement, we generate resources that equip academics and practitioners to better engage, we create high quality professional learning opportunities that build capacity and connection across sectors, networks and countries.
To be the leading inclusive forum for the discussion and development of university-community engagement, encouraging collaboration, innovation, knowledge exchange and the scholarship of engagement.
working towards a model in which university education and research should work towards specific economic and social objectives, by means of co-creating and exchanging knowledge, and by sharing resources, skills and processes with the public good in mind (Global University Network for Innovation – GUNi 2012).