I4P Public Lecture – Professor Thomas A. Bryer,University of Central Florida

22nd Feb 2016, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Edge Hill University


‘Universities and Communities – Together, Tethered or Torn?’ 

Professor Bryer will introduce the idea of the integrated university from his book Higher Education beyond Job Creation: Universities, Citizenship, and Community. Universities have multiple, often competing obligations to create jobs and build skills for existing jobs, disseminate knowledge from original research, and cultivate active citizens. Advocates of each different role sometimes feed the competition and facilitate conflict by disparaging the value of the other roles. If properly integrated, the outcome can be stronger communities around our universities, with citizens prepared to pursue the good life for themselves and others around them.

Critical to this role integration is a strong and strategically aligned relationship with the community, as a whole, and with individual stakeholders within the community. In this talk, Prof. Bryer will outline three points on a continuum of university-community relations. On one extreme are relations that are torn, in which the relationship is one of distrust, ignorance, and opposition. On the other extreme are relationships that are fully tethered, in which community stakeholders and university officials (ranging from heads of institutions to individual professors and administrators) are in lockstep, and in which missions and values are shared and understood across the boundaries. In the middle are relationships that are sound but not fully integrated, and built not on mutual trust and understanding, but continual skepticism of motivation. Bryer will present an argument to cultivate relationships that are tethered in some areas of operation but merely together in many other areas.

Examples will be drawn from the United States, such as from Bryer’s own Center for Public and Nonprofit Management and from the “Delaware Model” at the University of Delaware. Examples will also be drawn from the United Kingdom, with reflection on recent reports and recommendations about UK research councils and teaching excellence in UK universities. Additional examples will be drawn from other European institutions that will allow for expanded reflection on civics, diversity, and economics within the span of university concern.

Prof Bryer is highly published and conducts extensive research in the areas of public participation and collaboration across segments of society, including government, nonprofit, private, faith-based, and voluntary sectors. He has won multiple awards for his research, teaching, and service. In 2015, he was granted a Fulbright Core Scholar award to conduct research in Lithuania from 2015-2017. He is the author or editor of three books: Higher Education beyond Job Creation: Universities, Citizenship, and Community, National Service and Volunteerism: Achieving Impact in Our Communities, and Social Media for Government: Theory and Practice. Research Interests include: Scholarship of teaching and learning; Ethics; Citizen engagement; Collaborative governance.


  • 12.30pm – Registration and Refreshments
  • 1.00pm – Lecture
  • 2.00pm – Reception and Networking

Further information is available here

Presented by the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice


This event is part of a wider programme of events taking place at Edge Hill over the coming months as part of the Festival of Ideas 2016, a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society. The main theme is Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality.

Details of all events can be found here