Good student learning outcomes and a low drop-out rate are in the interest of every university. The growing prevalence of Engaged Learning initiatives is not least a result of the benefits of this approach for the students who are confronted with it.

The drivers of Engaged Learning vary. Globally, there is renewed impetus in the ‘third mission’ and social responsibility across higher education. Lack of formal national networks for this pedagogy has meant that Engaged Learning has yet to become embedded across curricula. Engaged Learning initiatives in most countries are most often instigated by individual academics, while some larger models offering an Engaged Learning approach have emerged through participation in national, or internationally funded projects.

Strategic planning for how to plan successful and sustainable Engaged Learning initiatives with tight budgets is an important consideration that universities should be more involved with. Sustainability is one of the main challenges of Engaged Learning. Many activities across the partner countries are organised by individual HEI members with a keen societal awareness and are dependent on the on-going capacity and goodwill of that one individual in addition to external funding. Reduced funding globally in higher education, and a lack of institutional wide incentives for staff to adopt an engaged approach are also seen as barriers. Institutionalised support, coordination, and strategic planning in addition to formal acknowledgement, incentives, or rewards would help to embed an Engaged Learning approach in HEIs.

Engaged Learning demands of professionals at universities what is also demanded of students – learn, develop, look beyond the boundaries of your discipline, and use what you have learned to contribute to the welfare of society.