Understanding university engagement capacity and capability before and during the Covid-19 pandemic


University staff engage with external organisations and individuals as part of teaching, research, community programs and events. The interactions, relationships and networks that connect us rely on regular and open communication – but in 2020, COVID-19 meant we had had to change the way we did everything.  How have we changed the way we engage with the wider community, government and organisations?

A team at the Melbourne CSHE investigated:

  1. What impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on the University’s engagement activities, capacity and capability?
  2. What professional development support did university staff need to overcome and thrive in their engagement efforts in the post-COVID-19 recovery?
  3. What are the effective professional development models to strengthen post-COVID-19 engagement practices?


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the professional development needs of university staff in public engagement as they moved through different phases of COVID-19 related disruptions. The scale and scope of these disruptions are unknown. Hence the study was designed to collect data to better understand the implications of the pandemic and the ways in which staff engage with our society.


  • Dr Siew Fang Law, The University of Melbourne
  • Professor William Locke, The University of Melbourne
  • Joann Cattlin, The University of Melbourne


Download report

More information

Dr Siew Fang Law, Melbourne CSHE, The University of Melbourne