Document Type

Working Paper


This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only



Publication Details

Cardiff: Welsh Centre for Public Policy.


Civic engagement is widely used but often lacks a common understanding. This report provides clarity and context for civic mission in Welsh higher education. • The concept of “the public good” underpins Welsh public policy; actions to strengthen universities’ civic mission builds upon that commitment. • Universities’ potential for civic engagement in Wales is shaped by several factors: institutional origin and subsequent development, the Welsh, and UK, higher education policy context and the globalisation of higher education and the economy at large. • Within Wales, the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act has an important role to play in shaping civic engagement although universities are not specifically name-checked within the scope of the Act. • Whilst supporting a healthy balance between institutional autonomy and public accountability, there is a role for government steering public institutions, including universities, in order to meet the needs of Welsh society. • Civic engagement is difficult to measure because of the absence of agreed definitions, and clarity around the most appropriate and meaningful indicators which can capture the contribution of universities to the public good. •