Summary: Pressures associated with the rise of the so-called knowledge economy, increased participation in higher education and its consequences in terms of institutional differentiation, processes of political and administrative devolution and the desire for increased accountability of public funded institutions have all lead to a rediscovery in recent decades of the relevance and responsibility of higher education to local and regional communities. Under such pressures universities have been keen to publicise their 'third mission' and show in particular that through the generation of a local pool of conceptual and managerial skills, the provision of applied research and other transfer activities, they have, more or less successfully , been able to define themselves the terms of their own engagement with their immediate locality.
The extent to which strategies raise their profile as agencies of cultural regeneration and of tackling disadvantage reflect primarily universities' dependency towards state policies, their positioning within a competitive higher education market, or their level of structural embeddedness within the social fabric of their local environment is the main focus of this presentation. More specifically, I will seek to relate the levels and nature of effective and perceived impacts (both negative and positive) of a university over its immediate environment to its rhetoric of engagement.
These multilevel interactions will be discussed using findings from the ESRC-funded HEART project (Higher Education And Regional Transformation) examining the complex relationship between 'disadvantaged' communities and their local higher education institutions in the UK.
Profile: Yann Lebeau is lecturer in Educational Research at the University of East Anglia (School of Education and Lifelong Learning). He has previously held teaching and research positions in France (Brest, Bordeaux), in Nigeria (Ibadan) and at the Open University. His research interests lie in the sociology of higher education communities and where higher education and social change intersect. He has done extensive empirical research on the University/society nexus in Africa and in the UK and is a member of several education and development research networks. Dr Lebeau worked on the ESRC-TLRP project "The social and organisational mediation of university learning" from 2004 to 2008, and is co-director of an ESRC-funded study of the role of higher education institutions in regional transformation (HEART project, 2007-2009).buy shoes | Gifts for Runners