35 members of the University community met through Microsoft Teams to discuss how we should take forward our commitment to develop a Civic University Agreement. Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Professor Bernie Morley, who introduced the event, reinforced the strategic importance to the University of strengthening our local engagement. He reflected on how the University’s role within and responsibility to the local community has been and will remain a key factor in how we are responding to the challenging time we are all currently experiencing both now and looking further ahead.

The aim of this roundtable event was to bring together representatives from academic departments, professional services and the Students’ Union (including colleagues with experience of engaging successfully with local community) to explore key issues that will need to be addressed in developing a Civic University Agreement.

Themes explored included an assessment of local need, an exploration of our role as a major employer and anchor institution in Bath, the geographic scope of our work, and the practicalities of how we can ensure that a Civic University Agreement is underpinned by robust local collaboration and action.

Tim Kaner, Chief Marketing Officer, said: “I am grateful for colleagues who contributed their ideas, perspectives and experience to what was a wide-ranging discussion with lots of engagement. The insights shared will help shape work to prepare our Civic University Agreement, a key pillar of our emerging Local Engagement strategy. More activities will be planned to enable both members of the University community and representatives from local organisations to feed into and inform this process.”

“Whilst we work over the next months on developing a Civic University Agreement, we’ll provide regular updates and will also look to support existing civic activities taking place across the University. The ‘Our University, Our Future’ exercise earlier this year provided some very clear messages about the University’s role in the local community. Both staff and students would like to know more about we are doing already and like to see us do more.

With regard to the event itself, I’d like to thank colleagues in the Digital, Data and Technology Group for their support in helping to get the most out of Microsoft Teams. The spaces for breakout sessions and group discussions worked very well and we’d be happy to share what we learned with colleagues who wish to run a similar virtual roundtable event.

Updates on the University’s activities in the local community can be seen on our local community web pages.

Civic University Agreements are commitments between a university and its local community to mutual working, collaboration and contribution, based on an informed awareness of local need. Truly Civic, a report from the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission, sets out the full requirements of a Civic University Agreement. The University of Bath committed to developing a Civic University Agreement in January 2020.