In general terms capacity building refers to organisational develop­ment of higher education institutions to ensure that they are able to deliver on their mission.

This includes foremost that higher education institutions consciously select and establish interventions, roles, and structures that help to realise their selected goals.

Higher education institutions can select from different engagement models (social justice, economic or public good model – see tile “Create culture of social entrepreneurship) – when planning their organisational development activities their selections should be oriented towards these models.

The goal

Capacity building should consider the selected mission for social entrepreneurship. The goal is to select appropriate measures and interventions and to avoid misguided investments.

Examples of interventions at institutional level

Interventions relevant to the social justice model

  • Differentiating leadership roles such as Vice-president for diversity and social inclusion
  • Implementation of service learning (including the training of teachers)
  • Establishment of access and social inclusion units to support students from non-traditional backgrounds
  • Teaching and learning units to support teachers

Interventions relevant to the economic model

  • Differentiating leadership roles such as Vice-president for knowledge transfer and regional engagement
  • Provide (financial) support for collaborative research projects with (regional) social sector organisations
  • Establishment/Amendment of knowledge transfer offices to sustain collaboration with the social sector

Interventions relevant to the public good model

  • Forster a strong social entrepreneurship culture – community engagement permeates all institutional activities
  • Establishment of a matrix organisation – all activities have to address ‘traditional’ standards but must also be relevant for regional development or the social community
  • Creation of a dense ecosystem with public organisations and other social organisations that allows the higher education institution to participate in regional planning and other social initiatives
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Other relevant resources
Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
  • Not covered in HEInnovate
Further reading
  • Benneworth, Paul; Charles, David; Hodgson, Catherine; Humphrey, Lynne (2013): The Relationship of Community Engagement with Universities’ Core Missions. In Paul Benneworth (Ed.): University Engagement with Socially Excluded Communities. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 85–101.
  • Hampton Holland, Joseph; George, Phillis L.; Nelson, Karson M. (2019): Building a Service Corps: Using Capacity Building Strategies to Promote Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship within a Higher Education Consortium. In Partnership: A Journal of Service-Learning & Civic Engagement 10 (2), pp. 208–228.
  • Hazelkorn, Ellen (2016): Contemporary debates part 2: initiatives, governance and organisational structures. In J. B. Goddard, Ellen Hazelkorn, Louise Kempton, Paul Vallance (Eds.): The civic university. The policy and leadership challenges. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 65–93