Socially engaged universities are the model of the future

Joanne Curry, Loretta Feris, Robert Hollister, Julian Skyrme and Ben Young (January 2023, University World News)

When does a trend become a movement? When does innovation become standard practice? University social responsibility (USR) has shifted from being an interesting trend to becoming a real movement and a core feature of higher education around the world.

This reality was confirmed in abundance at the International USR Summit “Education and Action for a Sustainable Future” last month that provided a valuable opportunity to share the latest university social responsibility insights, promote the best USR practices, and most importantly, chart our shared vision for the future.

How can we measure universities’ contribution to society?

Kalinga Seneviratne and Brendan O’Malley  (December 2022, University World News)

The challenge of assessing the impact of university social responsibility programmes came under the spotlight at the recent University Social Responsibility (USR) Summit, on ‘Education and Action for a Sustainable Future’, with speakers highlighting the need for greater emphasis on measuring universities’ contribution to the public good.

SDGs: A framework for socially responsible universities

Kalinga Seneviratne (November 2022, University World News)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework provides an opportunity for universities to “collaborate across differences” and represents a new “common language” for social responsibility, according to speakers at the University Social Responsibility (USR) Summit, held in a hybrid format from 16 to 18 November under the theme, “Education and Action for a Sustainable Future”.

Academic responsibility: The changing mission of HE

Chris Brink (February 2021, University World News)

The international virtual summit, “University Social Responsibility: Priorities for the next decade”, was hosted from 3-5 February by the University of Pretoria and the global University Social Responsibility Network. Participants deliberated on a future in which the academic responsibility of societal service becomes increasingly embedded in the missions of all institutions as a core commitment of students and staff to the community and a measure of their standing.

University Social Responsibility movement gains traction

Stephen Chan, Robert Hollister, Toru Iiyoshi, and Alison Lloyd (March 2020, University World News)

A profound change is taking place in our understanding of the mission of higher education. Increasingly, we have realised that academic freedom must be accompanied by the exercise of academic responsibility, in the sense of making a contribution to civil society. Actively responding to societal challenges is one way of doing so – as many universities have demonstrated in the case of COVID-19.