In a continuing effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of Memorial’s Public Engagement Framework, the Office of Public Engagement administered a survey to the general population of Newfoundland and Labrador in March 2019. Separate streams of questions were created for members of the public, current students, and staff and faculty.
The survey was completed by 602 people – this figure included 335 respondents who completed the public section, 105 respondents who completed the student section, and 162 responses from faculty and staff. Almost 70% of the sample were alumni of Memorial.
The survey consisted of questions regarding:
- Memorial’s current level of public engagement
- Interest and participation in public engagement
- Associated barriers
(Graphic from 2017-19 Survey Faculty and Staff Comparison Report)
In regards to previous levels of engagement, many respondents stated that they had done a range of engagement activities in the past, and the majority reported that they wanted to engage in the future. When asked what public engagement activities they would like to participate in, education and training was the most highly desired item.
Most respondents (89%) agreed or strongly agreed that Memorial has a responsibility to engage with the public and 84% of respondents agreed that Memorial’s current public engagement initiatives are of high value.
Findings also suggested that faculty and staff are motivated to engage publicly in order to make contributions to the community. This of course is the true definition of public engagement – the mutual benefit of community and university partnerships.
However, there is still work to be done. The survey showed that barriers to public engagement are experienced more by under-serviced groups(Indigenous and disabled people) than the rest of the public – these barriers included cost, distance and time.
(Graphic from 2019 Public Report)
Respondents also told us that lack of awareness of public engagement activities was the primary reason for non-participation so we intend to strengthen our focus on both internal and external communication.
Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and experience by participating in our survey. And thank you to all those who developed and administered the survey – read more about them here.
The 2019 public engagement survey and its results are a key component of an ongoing process that is enriching Memorial’s connection with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Office of Public Engagement remains committed to further developing and deepening collaborations between people and groups with Memorial and people and groups external to the university (“the public) that further Memorial’s mission.
An analysis of student data from both surveys can be found here.