It is imperative to involve the right people when reviewing your business and community engagement (BCE) activities. However in this particular case, we have already considered that some people involved in supporting BCE might not recognise their role in it – indeed, may not have heard of it, or be aware that such activity exists.
Core business functions
You will want therefore to involve all of the core business functions: HR, finance, estates/facilities, IT, those responsible for communications and repository systems such as virtual learning environments or virtual research environments, web designers, marketing, reprographics, outgoing mail handling and reception.
Senior staff members
You will need to involve any senior member(s) of staff with overall responsibility for business and community engagement activity and any co-ordination roles or teams with a specific function to support such activity. These may be known by a variety of names and may fulfil many different roles such as:
- Business units
- Business co-ordination
- Business development
- Community engagement
- Voluntary work or volunteer co-ordination
- Student placement
- Innovation centres
- Science parks
- Incubation units
- Conference teams
- Festivals and arts/dramatic arts exhibitions and performances
You will also need to involve practitioners, specifically those:
- Involved in delivery of work-based learning, adult learning and employer-based CPD
- Carrying out applied research, working as consultants, involved in managing knowledge transfer partnerships
- Involved in knowledge exchange, providing opportunities for external companies, organisations and individuals to come together to share information in a forum environment
- Running or attending business meetings, special interest groups, or working in collaborative partnerships to secure external funding from new or wider sources
Much business and community engagement is carried out under the context of academic freedom, initiated by individuals, particularly in the HE sector, because of a particular interest or line of research that the academic may have or wish to pursue.
You may want to seek out and involve those who are already well known for their work in these areas, but in addition it would be well worth communicating widely and asking for those interested to come forward. Any problem is far more likely to be found in reducing those who do come forward to a manageable number, rather than not being able to interest enough people to make a review possible!
Our project management guide has a section on stakeholders that is of great relevance here.
Last but certainly not least, you will need to identify the person or team to plan and carry out the review. This is discussed in the section on the review methodology.