Portfolio of Institutional & Societal Engagement


This portfolio suggests elements which professorial staff can cite to describe and demonstrate what they aim to achieve or have achieved within the context of institutional & societal engagement. These suggestions are not exhaustive or mandatory: each item need not be demonstrated and there may also be other items that are not listed but that would strengthen the dossier. The portfolio solely serves as inspiration and may not be regarded as a checklist of items that all need to be completed.

Institutional & Societal engagement complements the areas of Teaching, Research, and People management & Leadership.

This portfolio of research dimensions can serve as an aid when completing and evaluating the “integration text”, “reflection report”, and “evaluation report” templates (which are part of the career and evaluation model for professorial staff).

In detail

Engagement is made up of two dimensions. On the one hand the dimension labelled as ‘institutional’ engagement (sometimes referred to as ‘internal service’): activities which contribute to the efficient operation of the university. On the other hand ‘societal’ engagement (sometimes ‘external service’ or ‘service to society’): activities in representation of Ghent University which contribute to society. This matches in part with what in the academic environment is generally dubbed ‘service’ (‘dienstverlening’), with the exception of value creation activities within teaching and research, that are part of the areas of Teaching and Research and contribute to societal impact.

A strict demarcation of Institutional & Societal engagement is not always possible nor necessary. One can identify ‘grey areas’ with dimensions such as International collaboration, Academic engagement, and Societal/economic impact from the portfolio of research dimensions; the dimension of Educational policy from the portfolio of teaching dimensions; and the various roles and realisations of Leadership.

Overall academic staff is expected to be open to contributing to internal service at Ghent University (taking into account the current regulations reserving certain university mandates and functions for full professors), and to show (societal) engagement linked to one’s role and/or expertise.

Suggestions on how to describe and illustrate Institutional & Societal engagement

The level/intensity of service can be estimated on the basis of how much one’s faculty, colleagues, and employees are involved, the visibility of one’s activities, and the impact on policy and operation of the faculty.

Institutional engagement

Assignments in faculty and university commissions/councils, advisory boards, steering committees, taskforces/working groups, governance units, limited to managerial/corporate/strategic functions within Ghent University.

  • Chair of a faculty department
  • Chair of a Study Programme Committee
  • Chair or member of a faculty or university board/committee/council/working group as mentioned in the regulations but also:
    1. Faculty Committee for Internationalisation (FCI)
    2. Committee for Teaching Language, …
    3. Internal Appeals Committee
    4. Faculty Committee for Scientific Research (CWO)
    5. Doctoral Schools Council, Faculty Doctoral Committee, …
    6. a biosafety committee, …
    7. an ethics committee, Commitee for Human Rights, …
  • Assignments supporting university, faculty, cross-departmental of department specific services and activities such as:
    1. faculty library
    2. faculty Logistics Services
    3. technical workplace
    4. IT workplace
    5. university collections or Ghent University Museum
    6. an exceptional role/assignment (whether or not linked to a special event)
  • Assignments supporting the university such as:
    1. legal advice
    2. civil engineering advice
    3. ICT advice
    4. advice on educational policy
    5. language advice
    6. an exceptional role/assignment (whether or not linked to a special event)

Societal engagement

Societal engagement may be illustrated by activities such as:

  • Initiating, expanding, or consolidating international contacts and collaboration including development co-operation 
  • Taking up a managerial/corporate/advisory mandate or role at an external organisation/advisory board/discussion forum, etc.
  • Representing Ghent University, thus increasing and consolidating collaboration with societal partners and beneficiaries