The Evaluation of Universities and Their Contributions to Social Exclusion

  • Paul Benneworth


The argument in this chapter is that benchmarking forces institutions to be honest about the relative importance they place on various aspects of their mission. Benchmarking approaches therefore confront universities with potential contradictions in their missions, and compel a degree of reality about community engagement. But the chapter also highlights how university–community engagement benchmarking has also had a social life as a technique adopted by institutions which take the idea of improving their community engagement activities seriously. From this perspective, benchmarking tools can be read as texts which describe the limits to what is both possible and desirable for universities in terms of community engagement.


Community Engagement Public Management Strategic Priority Regional Engagement High Education Programme 
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.



This chapter draws on within the Economic and Social Research Council funded project ‘Universities and excluded communities’, part of the Regional Impacts of Higher Education Initiative. This Initiative is co-funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland.


  1. Arbo, P., & Benneworth, P. S. (2007). Understanding the regional contribution of higher education institutions: A literature review OECD Education working paper 2007/2009. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett, R. (2000). Realising a compact for higher education. In K. M. Gokulsing & C. DaCosta (Eds.), A compact for higher education. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Baumunt, Z. (1997). Universities: Old, new and different. In A. Smith & F. Webster (Eds.), The post-modern university? Contested visions of higher education in society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benneworth, P. S. (2001). Regional development agencies—Their early years 1998–2001. Seaford: Regional Studies Association.Google Scholar
  5. Benneworth, P. (2010). A handbook of university benchmarking. Brussels: the European Centre for the Strategic Management of Universities.Google Scholar
  6. Benneworth, P., Humphrey, L., Hodgson, C., & Charles, D. R. (2010). University approaches to engagement with excluded communities. Working Paper 2 “University learning with excluded communities” project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, KITE.Google Scholar
  7. BitC. (2010). Universities that count. London: Business in the Community.
  8. Business in the Community, HEFCE & EAUC. (2007). Universities that count: A report on benchmarking environmental and corporate responsibility in higher education. Leeds: Leeds Metropolitan University.Google Scholar
  9. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). (1982). The university and the community: the problems of changing relationships. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  10. Charles, D. R., & Benneworth, P. S. (2001a). The regional mission: Regional contribution of higher education—the east of England. London: HEFCE/Universities UK/Association of Universities in the East of England.Google Scholar
  11. Charles, D. R., & Benneworth, P. S. (2001b). The regional mission: Regional contribution of higher education—north east. London: HEFCE/Universities UK/Universities for the North East.Google Scholar
  12. Charles, D. R., & Benneworth, P. (2002). Evaluating the regional contribution of an HEI: A benchmarking approach. Bristol: HEFCE.Google Scholar
  13. Charles, D. R., & Wilson, B. (2012). Managing regional engagement: The role of benchmarking. In R. Pinheiro, P. Benneworth, & G. A. Jones (Eds.), Universities and regional development. A critical assessment of tensions and contradictions. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. CHERPA Network. (2010). Design phase of the project, designing and testing the feasibility of a multi-dimensional global university ranking. U-multirank interim Progress Report. .Accessed 11 Nov. 2010.
  15. Charles, D. R., Perry, B., & Benneworth, P. (2003). Regions and science policy. Seaford: Regional Studies Association.Google Scholar
  16. Charles, D. R., Benneworth, P., Conway, C., & Humphrey, L. (2010). How to benchmark university-community interactions. In P. Inman, & H. G. Schütze (Eds.), The community engagement and service mission of universities. Leicester: NIACE.Google Scholar
  17. CEC. (2010). EUROPE 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, COM(2010) 2020, Brussels, Commission for the European Communities.Google Scholar
  18. Flexner, A. (1930). Universities: American, British, German. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Goedegebuure, L., & van der Lee, J. (2006). In search of evidence. Measuring community engagement: A pilot study. Brisbane: Eidos.Google Scholar
  20. Gunasekara, C. (2006). Universities and associative regional governance: Australian evidence in non-core metropolitan regions. Regional Studies, 40(7), 727–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hart, A., Northmore, S., & Gerhardt, C. (2008). Auditing, benchmarking and evaluating university public engagement (REAP Briefing Paper). University of Brighton: CUPP.Google Scholar
  22. Jongbloed, B., Enders, J., & Salerno, C. (2008). Higher education and its communities: Interconnections, interdependencies and a research agenda. Higher Education 56(3), 303–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kellog Commission. (1999). Returning to our roots: The engaged institution Third report of the Kellogg Commission. Washington DC: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.Google Scholar
  24. Longden, B. (2001). Funding policy in higher education: Contested terrain. Research Papers in Education, 16(2), 161–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McKenna, W., Jackson, J., Derret, R., Delaforce, W., Cuthill, W., Clarke, J., Bell, S., Scott, G., & Skaines, I. (2007). Towards a quality management & development framework for university engagement in Australia, mimeo.Google Scholar
  26. McPherson, M. S., & Winston, G. (1993). The Economics of cost, price, and quality in US Higher Education. In M. S. McPherson, M. O. Schapiro, & G. Winston (Eds.), Paying the piper: Productivity, incentives, and financing in US Higher Education (pp. 69–107). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  27. Maassen, P. A. M. (1996). Governmental steering and the academic culture. Utrecht: De Tijdstroom.Google Scholar
  28. National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education. (1997). Higher education in the learning society (“The Dearing report”). London: The Stationary Office.Google Scholar
  29. Neave, G., & van Vught, F. A. (Eds.). (1991). Prometheus bound: The changing relationship between government and higher education in Western Europe. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  30. OECD. (1999). The response of higher education institutions to regional needs. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  31. OECD. (2007). Higher education and regions: Globally competitive, regionally engaged. Paris: OECD/IMHE.Google Scholar
  32. PURE. (2009). Notes of guidance for coordinating lead reviewers (CLRs) and regional steering group link partners (PURE Briefing Note 8A). Glasgow: PASCAL Observatory.Google Scholar
  33. Roberts, M., Charles, D. R., & Benneworth, P. S. (2001). The regional mission: Regional contribution of higher education—The West Midlands. London: HEFCE/Universities UK.Google Scholar
  34. Robbins, L. (1964). Higher Education: Report of the Committee 1961–1963. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  35. Scott, P. (2007). The ‘nationalisation’ of UK Universities 1963–2007. In J. Enders & F. van Vught (Eds.), Towards a cartography of higher education policy change. Enschede: UT/CHEPS.Google Scholar
  36. S&TC. (2005). Strategic Science Provision in English Universities. Eighth Report of Commons Science & Technology Committee Session 2004–2005. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  37. van Vught, F., & Burquel, N. (2010). Benchmarking in European higher education: A step beyond current quality models. Tertiary Education and Management, 16(3), 243–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Benneworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Higher Education Policy StudiesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations