On October 14, 2021, TEFCE project coordinator Thomas Farnell led a session on the TEFCE Toolbox at the conference 'The University and Society: the Third Mission', organised as a part of the Autumn School of 'Reseau DG2' - the University Network of Excellence for Academic Leaders in Governance and Management.
The presentation, entitled 'How to Measure the Societal Engagement of Universities?' provided an introduction to the question of the third mission of higher education (and where the concept of 'community engagement' fits into this debate), and how the TEFCE project developed an innovative institutional self-framework that allows universities to measure their community engagement: the TEFCE Toolbox.
The presentation was followed by an hour long discussion with the 19 participants of the session, who were management staff members from universities from France, Brasil, Canada, Colombia, Morocco, and Switzerland. Some of the questions covered in the session included:
1. Is there a way of reconciling the objectives of the ‘engaged university’ and the ‘entrepreneurial university’?
2. How is it possible to ensure transparency and honesty in a self-assessment processes such as the TEFCE Toolbox?
3. To what extent did the TEFCE Toolbox interact with other existing tools – especially ones that are not based in Europe?
4. Is there a risk that by being based on seven different dimensions, this contributes to separating engagement into different silos (in the same way that the ‘third mission’ is arbitrarily separated from the first and second missions)?
5. Although there is often suspicion of metrics, how can we reconcile the value of qualitative data with the public expectation and need to have reliable and transparent information about the performance of universities?
6. Do what extent could a framework like the TEFCE Toolbox be valuable in the process of external quality assurance in higher education?
A recording of the presentation (in English) and the ensuing discussion (in French) is available here.
About Réseau Dg2:
Created in 2015 by Université Laval (Canada) with the collaboration of the University of Bordeaux (France), the Réseau Dg2 is an international network of francophone and francophile universities, made up of 13 partner universities, from 9 countries and 4 continents. This network of excellence of co-opted universities is a community of practice structured around the organization of training meetings for university leaders, with the aim of sharing innovative solutions to face the constant challenges facing universities. More information: https://www.ulaval.ca/international/reseaux-collaboratifs