Sheffield Hallam University has reiterated its commitment to the Sheffield City Region by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in the local community top of its list of priorities by committing to produce a “Civic University Agreement” in partnership with local government and other major institutions.
The new agreement is a key recommendation in a report published by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by Sheffield Hallam’s Chair of Governors, Lord Bob Kerlsake.
The report sets out how universities have the capability, opportunity and responsibility to support the places where they are based to solve some of their most pressing and major problems.
These issues range from are helping local business adapt to technological change, to boosting the health of local people, improving education for school pupils and adult learners, and training and developing new civic leaders in every field from politics to the arts.
Sheffield Hallam University is referenced in the report for its social mobility programme, South Yorkshire Futures. The programme, backed by the Department for Education, is committed to improving education and raising aspiration for young people in South Yorkshire – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Professor Roger Eccleston, pro vice-chancellor for regional engagement at Sheffield Hallam, said: “As this report confirms, universities play a vital role in the development of their local region. From skills and health, to education and culture, we transform lives – and this must translate in to a cohesive and meaningful approach for how we consider our civic responsibility.
“We are proud of the contribution we continue to make to the Sheffield City Region and delighted to put our name to this agreement.”
Lord Kerslake, who is also the former Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and former Head of the Civil Service, said: “The deep economic and social changes that are happening in Britain today have, alongside Brexit, made the civic role of universities even more vital to the places they are located in.
“The civic universities of the Victorian era were founded as expressions of civic pride, and as a way of sharing knowledge and opportunity at a time of rapid change.
“We are now entering a new industrial revolution when it will be even more vital that knowledge is accessible in as many communities as possible.”