Getting involved in engagement is a great opportunity for students. It's all about learning to connect better with other people, to share what you're interested in and opening yourself up to hear and understand other perspectives. It can help build useful transferable skills - making you a better communicator, a more confident presenter, and giving you the tools to help you make social change happen.
Here at Warwick we want to make Engagement part of the student experience. As an institute we're working on doing this in a number of ways:
- Launch our own undergraduate level Public Engagement module through IATL
- Developing and delivering training sessions for students
- Supporting staff across Warwick to embed engagement in their taught modules
- Expanding the current URSS Programme to include support for students to run their own Public Engagement projects
"There's so many different types of public engagement people aren't aware of, so that's why I think it's important to educate. This is a realy good platform to reach out to all careers and set you up with really great skills."
—Lucy Vinen, Undergraduate Enrolled in Public Engagement: Connecting Communities to Research
Professor Michael Scott, one of the Directors of Warwick Institute of Engagement, writing for the Higher Education Policy Institute Blog in 2020 on why he values getting students involved with engagement.
"It has never been more important for us to reach out and engage the world around us, especially in an era of national lockdowns and the social disconnect associated with COVID-19.
But what does ‘engagement’ really mean at a higher education level? Engagement is all about universities working with those outside academia to share research, to collaborate on ideas and to make knowledge accessible to all. Through this, both we and our audiences gain valuable interaction and dialogue, working together for a fairer (and arguably better) society.
At the University of Warwick we are keen to take this one step further by blending engagement into our student experience. Enabling our students to become ‘engagers’ (i.e. helping them learn and practice the skills necessary to pursue successful public engagement, and working with them to understand the benefits that come from such activities) means that the next generation are trained with valuable skills. Furthermore, they are given the opportunity to see for themselves the value of engagement and partnership in our society and graduate as ready future ambassadors of their higher education institution."