The university world is changing. In today’s world, more people than ever have access to higher education. The internet has opened the door to millions of people to take college-level courses from the comfort of their home. Institutions of higher educations are becoming more diverse, as previously unrepresented communities are allowed to enroll. Universities around the world are becoming relevant to more people, but are those people relevant to the university?
The growth of higher education brings new challenge. Universities must resist the urge to isolate themselves. They must ensure as many people as possible benefit from their growth. They must instill in their students a sense of civic service, so that they’re ready to lead their neighborhoods and nations out of societal ills such as poverty, hunger, or inequality.
This is why the work of university civic engagement professionals is so important. We are mentors who bring out the talent in our students to become social entrepreneurs. We are professors who want to lift other people’s voices as we do our research. We are students eager to take leadership, for the next generation to build on what previous generations have achieved. TN Connects will be a platform for all of us to come together to form a global group of civic engagement change-makers.