There are more than 160 university campuses in Australia and about one third of these are located in regional areas (Garlick & Waterman, 2005). Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Caboolture has received federal funding to develop its new campus. This federal support confirms national agenda priorities (e.g., see Cox & Seifer, 2005). University-community engagement is also a high national priority; however gauging the progress of university-community collaboration requires some form of measurement. Many educators have advocated benchmarking as a means for measuring successful practices. Although Garlick (2003) argues that benchmarking must "…begin with an extensive consultation program" (p. 5) and, indeed, university and community consultation needs to be part of the benchmarking process, and commencing without effective leadership such goals may not be realised. Effective university leaders can establish the foundations for consultation, yet, they too must be guided by university policies and guidelines. Apart from articulating visionary directions and understanding these change processes, leadership for initiating university-community engagement also involves motivating potential key stakeholders, promoting collaboration and team effort, distributing leadership, and communicating clear commitments to educational development.
Hudson, P, Craig, R & Hudson S 2007, 'Benchmarking leadership in university-community engagement: first steps and future directions for a new regional university campus', in B Van Ernst AM (ed.), The 2007 AUCEA Inc National Conference Proceedings: The Scholarship of Community Engagement: Australia’s way forward, Alice Springs, NT, 2-4 July, The Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance Inc., Kyneton, Vic.