TTSMU - Think Tank for the Social Mission of Universities

Area of Interest and Expertise

The SGroup’s Think Tank for the Social Mission of Universities is concerned with all the socially responsive and responsible engagements that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) enact within their institutions and with collaborative partners to enhance the societal and human good.


The SGroup TTSMU was created to stimulate dialogue and learning around and engagement with Social Mission (SM) in Higher Education (HE) within the SGroup network and the wider HE sphere. It aims to position the SGroup as a forum and an engine for innovative thinking and knowledge exchange in this critical area of HE endeavour.

Priority Areas of Focus

The TTSMU is currently focusing on the scope and range of SM activity across Higher Education, recognising it to be typically grounded in inclusion. SM work can take the form of attention to the inclusive curriculum; the inclusive campus; and/or practices of inclusive education, research, and knowledge exchange. It is characterised by social impact, entailing activities such as social and community engagement; social enterprise and service-learning projects; and widening access and outreach. It embraces work on equality, diversity and inclusion; on human rights; on sustainability and environmentalism.

SM activity in individual HEIs will reflect the local/regional/national and cultural contexts of those institutions, demonstrating context-specific perspectives, practices, and designs. However, all such activity produces new forms of learning, including learning guided by “real world” challenges linked to social disparity and discrimination. It is driven by a will to make a meaningful difference in the lived experiences of the students, staff, communities, and societal stakeholders with which HEIs interact. It often entails collaborative engagement with bodies, groups, and agendas, whether local, regional, national, or international, located outside the HE space.

Current Projects

The TTSMU has already published several reports (TTSMU Survey Report - download PDF) and is creating a repository of materials relevant to SM work in HE, to be launched in 2024. A longer-term aim is the production of a dynamic resource that, generated through cocreative activity and dialogue, within and beyond the SGroup, will enable and sustain innovative thinking and knowledge exchange in the SM sphere.

Events and Activities

A conversation series, ‘ENGAGEMENT(S)’, is planned for 2024 and 2025. It is intended to share good practice in key SM areas with participants across and beyond the SGroup; to support, cocreatively, the identification and development of innovative SM practice by the TTSMU; and to enable reflection on the impact of SM work, within and beyond HEIs.

The TTSMU is also keen to develop student-facing activities in the SM sphere, and to engage widely with students and with societal stakeholders.

How to get in touch

If Social Mission a key development priority in your institution, please do not hesitate to contact us at: with feedback, questions, and even suggestions for future activities.


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