Open seminar: "University Civic Engagement: What Does It Mean To Be An Engaged University?"
Presenter in this seminar is Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia)
Bojana Culum (private photo)
Abstract of seminar
Civic engagement refers to the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s (better) future, through both political and non-political processes. Civic engagement is considered to be central to the public purpose of higher education and essential to the student experience, empowering students to become active and socially responsible citizens in a democratic society. However, in the context of major societal changes and challenges, it is argued that publicly-funded universities have to move beyond creating such engaged experiences only for students and that they have a civic duty to engage with wider society on the local, national and global scales, and to do so in a manner which links the social to the economic spheres. There are many ways to live our commitment to community and civic engagement, from big impacts to small decisions. This seminar will reflect on research in the field as well as critics and serve as a platform for discussion on what does it mean for contemporary universities to embrace civic engagement and become active and socially responsible institutional citizen(s) and caring (institutional) neighbours – how to foster meaningful connections and engagement between universities and communities to effect positive change in society.
Bojana Culum works as assistant professor at the University of Rijeka’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Pedagogy, Croatia. Her research focuses on university third and civic mission, university civic and community engagement (the concept of an engaged university) and changes in academic profession with particular interest for early career (female) researchers’ socialisation into academia. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Portland State University, USA, during the academic year 2015/2016.
She is one of the founders of the ECHER Network (Early Career Higher Education Researchers Network). She has been a member of the National Committee for Volunteering Development, and a member of the National Working Group for Youth Work, appointed to both by the Croatian Government. She has also contributed as an analyst to numerous volunteering policy projects in the Balkans. She has initiated the membership of the University of Rijeka in the Talloires Network, and has been appointed as a university representative. She collaborates frequently with various civil society organizations, institutions and local authorities on community-based projects where she engages her students as well. She authored and co-authored several books, book chapters and articles.
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