Richard Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University explains the importance of being civic in a blog written for THE (link here)

It’s now or never for universities to be civic

Just 12 months ago the idea of universities supporting their local communities – “being civic” – seemed eminently sensible. It is now critical.

In February 2019, Sheffield Hallam University – like many other institutions – signed up to putting in place a Civic University Agreement, a pledge that committed us to prioritise the economy and quality of life in our city and region. This challenge, laid down by the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission, called on universities to reshape their role and responsibilities to support their local communities.

One of the strengths of the Civic University Commission’s recommendations lies in the determination to put community at the heart of everyday practice. Creating a Civic University Agreement provides an opportunity for fundamental rethinking of how universities contribute to place, so that civic engagement can become hardwired into the fabric of institutional culture. Like many in the sector, we embraced this opportunity to demonstrate the transformative impact that we are already having within the Sheffield city region. But also to ask ourselves: “what more can we do?”