BACKGROUND OF ASIA-PACIFIC UNIVERSITY-COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT NETWORK (APUCEN)
‘The hallmark of engagement is the development of partnerships that ensure a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge between the University and the community’(Holland & Ramaley, 2008).
Asia-Pacific University - Community Engagement Network (APUCEN) is a regional network of academic institutions of higher learning concerned with promoting the culture of university-community engagement in a proactive, inclusive, holistic and participatory way APUCEN is motivated by the belief that institution of higher learning and the community can unite to co-create knowledge to enhance the social, economic and environment of the community in the region of Asia-Pacific. Community engagement, from the viewpoint of APUCEN goes beyond outreach and extension or service. Instead, APUCEN is committed to idea that universities should seek mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships with communities to address communities’ issues and needs; with a commitment to sharing and reciprocity that is guided by mutual respect among the partners.
The emerging trends in higher education placed a higher than ever expectations on universities. Institutions of higher learning are expected by the community and the government to make meaningful and tangible contribution to national, regional and international growth and well-being. APUCEN passionately believes that if universities are to achieve their mission to develop and apply knowledge with society in mind, then their core functions have to build not only on an academic base but also upon an intellectual civil base that can offer solutions to societal problems. APUCEN acknowledges the immediate needs for universities to embark on university-community engagement due to current changes in knowledge generation and diffusion, the need to address critical social, economic, cultural, and environmental concerns, to encourage engaged learning and to acknowledge academic involvement in nation building.