University recognised for ‘tremendous achievement’ in public engagement
York St John University has received a coveted silver Engage Watermark award from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) for its activity and research to benefit society.
The Watermark recognises strategic contributions from the higher education sector and commitment to improve support for public engagement. Public engagement is described as the myriad ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public to generate mutual benefit.
The silver award, held by only 8 UK universities, acknowledges York St John’s activities to incorporate public engagement into its research, knowledge exchange, teaching and social responsibility.
The University’s ‘Inspiring Minds’ project, in partnership with York Cares, provided an example of good practice following community activities to boost literacy levels and develop an understanding of higher education. Investment in resources to support young people and their parents from some of the most socio-economically deprived areas of York was shown to boost confidence, develop creativity and foster a love of learning.
NCCPE commended the University’s commitment to sharing expertise with others whilst learning from the communities it serves. It also recognised that York St John is a values-led institution where staff feel empowered to undertake public engagement work because it is important and the ‘right thing to do’. Students are well supported to volunteer, take placements and collaborate with others in preparation for life as active citizens.
The Lord Mayor’s Walk campus and the Sports Park on Haxby Road are places where a lot of community engagement takes place and both are well used by partner organisations.
Receiving the award at the 2019 Engage Conference in Bristol, Marc Fleetham, Director of Business Development & Knowledge Exchange at York St John University commented:
“I am absolutely delighted that York St John University has been awarded such a prestigious award. The Engage Watermark reflects our fully integrated and embedded culture of public engagement and provides a framework for continued authentic engagement and genuine relationships with our communities.”
“York St John is very proud to take its place alongside organisations that put their heart into working creatively towards wider social benefit.”
The University plans to build on this success with the launch of the Institute of Social Justice in 2020, which will provide a platform for projects, research and expertise that generate public engagement.