Informations and abstract
Keywords: Higher Education; Education and Economic Development; Economic Sociology.
The term Public Engagement refers to a variety of activities aimed at engaging universities within the public sphere and, correspondingly, at involving the public in the teaching, research and service activities of universities. These activities - which are largely carried out by faculty either on a mere individual basis or as an institutional duty - provide an opportunity to strengthen the relationships between universities and their territories. Relying on the results of a survey on more than 5,000 academics working at Italian public universities, the article aims at showing how frequent academics' Public engagement is, who are the academics mostly engaged in these activities, and whether there are territorial differences in this kind of engagement. The article also provides an assessment of the social and economic impact of Public engagement activities, especially at the local and regional levels. Distinguishing between two dimensions of academics' Public engagement, namely .Local Community Engagement. and .General Political Engagement., the article shows that Italian academics' participation in the former is considerable while their participation in the latter is limited. These findings suggest that academics' Public engagement indeed provides an opportunity to link universities to their territories. Local community engagement varies according to some individual characteristics such as academics' discipline and their involvement on other .Third mission. activities, but not to others. In particular, faculty working in Southern Italy and the Islands, the less developed regions of the country, and those working in North-West Italy, the most developed part of the country, are equally involved in Local community engagement. Finally, according to academics' perceptions their Local community engagement has a more social than economic impact.