Engaging with diverse communities: Analysis of a complex interaction

You are here

Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 38: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World

July, 2015, 528 pages
Published by
T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, K. Fraser & R. Hadgraft

One of the roles of a modern university is to enagage with community as a co-creator of society’s collective knowledge. Engaging university-based research with diverse communities in such co-creation, however, is a complex task and finding appropriate community collaborators is difficult. This paper reports on one university’s engagement processes in a collaborative project designed to engage the the diverse educational community across the footprint of six regional Australian universities. Network analysis was used to examine the complex growth of these collaborations and to determine the interdependence of the factors affecting the progression and effectiveness of project development. The analysis suggested that development of a well-connected network may actually be optimised if pre-service teachers, rather than teachers, were adopters. Continued network analysis appears to be a useful way of prioritising connections for new participants in order that they are connected across a sustainable feedback network.

Keywords: university, community, network analysis