Learning from History

Previous Attempts to Measure Universities’ Community Impacts
  • Ben Jongbloed
  • Paul BenneworthEmail author


This chapter explores how university–community engagement has emerged in the indicators which governments and universities have adopted to try to measure universities’ societal activities. University–community engagement has often been subordinated to easier-to-measure activities such as graduate employment, spin-off companies created or number of patents. This chapter analyses six attempts that have been made to measure the societal value of universities’ activities in a variety of different national settings. The central argument in the chapter is that effective performance measures for university–community engagement need to fulfil three criteria, they need to capture the resources made available to the community, capture in some way how external partners value the university activity, and clearly define what they mean by what is ‘good’ or excellent in engagement activity. This has consequences both for the way that policy-makers seek to promote university–community engagement and also for a much wider range of activities which frame that activity. Most important is that community engagement can never really be a satisfactory activity until there is clarity and cohesion as to what constitutes ‘good’ community development.


Community Engagement Performance Measurement Approach Carnegie Classification Community Engagement Activity Russell Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



An earlier version of this paper was presented at the special session on higher education indicators, as part of the ENID-PRIME Indicators Conference in Oslo, 26–28 May 2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Higher Education Policy StudiesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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