Principles of Engaged Learning and Teaching

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Given the increased interest in engaged learning and teaching, we have developed a set of Sheffield principles for best practice. The principles outlined below were formulated in liaison with experienced academics working in engagement, and aim to help staff understand the challenges and opportunities presented in this kind of work. They also aim to ensure that this kind of activity is ethical, truly collaborative, and in keeping with the notion of Sheffield being an institution ‘for the people’ of Sheffield.

These principles aim to ensure that this kind of activity is ethical, truly collaborative, and in keeping with the notion of Sheffield being an institution ‘for the people’ of Sheffield.


  • Reciprocity. Ideally, community partners and the University should benefit from the engagement
  • Co-production. Community partners and University should work to co-develop initiatives wherever possible
  • Exploring ways to facilitate partner-led approaches, in which initiatives can respond to community needs and/or aspirations
  • Sustainability. The importance of maintaining relationships with community partners, and avoiding instrumentalising them
  • Good and timely communication with partners is important, and should ideally include feedback about outcomes and the sharing of outputs.
  • Appreciation of impact on organisations. Activities involving external organisations should be planned to avoid repetitious or numerous requests.
  • Reputation. Not leaving 'debris' behind us, and considering the implications of new projects on existing/established relationships between the city and the institution
  • Recognition/Thanks. Exploring forms of recognition for partners

To find out more about how you can use these principles in your engaged practice, please get in touch with us.