Step 1: Engagement Readiness Self-Assessment Tool

Please, read through the description of the tool and all the instructions carefully before undertaking the self-assessment.

What is the Engagement Readiness Self-Assessment Tool measuring?

This self-assessment tool enables the evaluation of the university engagement readiness at an institutional level. The results of this self-assessment signify the areas of improvement for the university in their external engagement and collaboration practices across 6 dimensions. Similarly, this tool provides the institutional leaders/management with recommendations for action via a practical customised roadmap based on their assessment results. More so, the process of undertaking the assessment, the results of the self-assessment and the roadmap serve as a conversation starter for the HEI management to initiate/propel institutional change for becoming a more engaged and entrepreneurial university.

When undertaking the assessment, which scope and level (institution-wide, unit-wide, team-wide, individual) should the user consider?

According to the Engagement Readiness Self-Assessment framework the institution as a whole should be evaluated. In some cases, when a smaller unit within the organization (e.g., school, institute) significantly differs structurally and functionally from the rest, it could also be considered as a subject of this self-assessment.

How to undertake this self-assessment?

This self-assessment should be undertaken as a group activity via a group discussion / workshop or a direct implementation of the tool. This group will ideally consist of professional staff and several HEI managers at the institution, while occasionally include academic staff members for a more balanced perspective.

Please, reserve no less than two hours for the completion of the self-assessment. Depending on the depth of the conversation, the completion of the survey could take even more. You could also arrange a series of discussions / workshops, save your partial results and go back to the survey later.

You will receive recommendations after completing each section of the self-assessment survey. These recommendations build your customized roadmap to improving Engagement Readiness at your institution. Not all of the recommendations are based on a low engagement readiness level – to the contrary, you might be recommended tools for advanced use, which will help you bring your engagement readiness on an even better level.

You will be able to save the desired recommendation into a summary report, which will appear at the end of the survey and which you will be able to save as a PDF file / email message for later use. Please, note that if you don’t save the summary report, you wouldn’t be able to access it later.

It is advisable that you document separately any issues, questions and ideas emerging from the conversation. Suggested online documentation tool accessible at this link.

You can choose to undertake the self-assessment once or do it regularly, acknowledging changes. For this purpose, each summary contains the date of completion of the self-assessment.

Who should undertake the self-assessment?

In terms of HEI type:

Both traditional Research Universities and practice-oriented Universities of Applied Sciences / Polytechnics are invited to undertake the self-assessment. The UAS / Polytechnics should take into account that the division between professional and academic staff in their structure is not as pronounced. However, it is a general rule, that all the teaching staff is considered academic.

In terms of HEI staff:

  • University senior management and leadership who drive and develop institution-wide vision, mission and strategy for external engagement and collaboration (Rectorate, Vice-Rectorate for Engagement. Corporate Relations/Innovation, Senior Management of TTO/KTO and engagement departments, etc.)
  • University professional (non-academic staff) and academic staff who practically implement and support/facilitate university-wide external engagement and collaboration vision, mission and vision
  • (optional) Selected university academic staff from various faculties and departments who are at the forefront of engagement practices.

Basic definitions

Within the context of the Engagement Readiness Self-Assessment framework, we employed the following definitions:

  • “External Engagement” is defined as collaboration, cooperation or partnership with a focus on how higher education institutions (HEIs) cooperate/collaborate/partner with business, government, and society in order to increase employment, productivity, social cohesion, etc.
  • “Collaboration” is defined as collaboration is a process through which parties who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited resources and vision of what is possible. Distinguishing characteristics of collaboration are: (1) Intentional, planned and structured; (2) Having specific purpose(s); (3) Involving strategic activities; (4) Involving multiple participating organisations and entities; (5) Involving shared responsibility; (6) Being based on parity among participants; (7) Involving interpersonal interaction; (8) Involving knowledge and resources sharing; (9) Developing in stages; (10) Being unique to the context.
  • “Readiness” is defined as both the preparedness and the willingness of HEIs (higher education institutions) to cooperate, collaborate or  partner. Preparedness includes having the necessary resources,  competences, structure, etc. that would allow an HEI to  cooperate/collaborate/partner if so desired. Willingness includes  the traits, behaviors, values, etc. of an HEI that indicate that it is  “inclined or favorably disposed” to cooperate/collaborate/partner.

Watch this short video instruction for using the Self-Assessment Tool (4:51 min).

Self-Assessment Tool Step-by-step guide cover

Download the instructions for using the tool in PDF (8 pages).