Since the establishment of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), and especially since the London Declaration (2007), the idea that university, as an educational institution, must build stronger ties with its immediate social environment in a communication process that necessarily has to be two-way, has been reinforced: the university community can participate in social life, and even learn from it; and, university in turn, may be seen as an optimizing lever for civil society (Santos Rego, Sotelino, and Lorenzo, 2015). It is therefore not surprising that different normative documents in Spain, such as the University Student Status (2010), ask universities to favor social responsibility practices, combining academic learning from different degree programs with the provision of community service oriented towards the improvement of life quality and social inclusion (Article 64.3).
This approach necessarily calls for a new pedagogical culture in the university context, able to train students as critical and active citizens, willing to put their knowledge at the service of society. All this signals a change in the teaching culture and in the reshaping of teachers and students’ role.
This change involves a final overcoming the limitations of a conventional model, focused on professors’ teaching practice, who transfer information unidirectionally in the classroom. This model is replaced by a constructivist and cooperative model, focused on students’ learning and which extends its framework of action to the social reality (Gargallo, Suárez, Garfella, and Fernández, 2011; Deeley, 2016).
One of the methods which most acknowledge students’ involvement is Service-Learning, where students learn while acting on the real needs of the environment in order to improve it. Thus, a Service-Learning (SL) proposal comprises a combination of learning of academic content and providing training (skills) in order to mobilize them in real contexts (Santos Rego, Sotelino, and Lorenzo, 2015). This methodology brings benefits not only to the students, teachers, and community, but also to the university as a whole, since it allows linking three of its unequivocal missions: teaching; research; and innovation, entrepreneurship and social responsibility.
Specifically, this work has a double objective. On the one hand, to analyze the psychometric properties of a scale designed within the framework of a larger research project, aimed at understanding university professors’ attitude towards the social engagement of the university; and, on the other hand, to study whether there are differences in professors’ scores depending on whether they use SL or not in their classrooms. University professors should be aware that the institution has to provide students not only with academic and professional, but also civic and social competences; in addition, the professors who immerse themselves in a new teaching culture will obtain higher scores in the items that define this university responsibility.
 This study was carried out within the framework of the project "Service-Learning and Innovation at University Level. A program to improve students’ academic performance and social capital" (EDU2013-41687-R), funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO)
Deeley, S. (2016). El aprendizaje-Servicio en educación superior. Teoría, práctica y perspectiva crítica. Madrid: Narcea. Fernández March, A. (2006). Metodologías activas para la formación de competencias. Educatio siglo XXI, 24, 35-56. Recuperado de http://revistas.um.es/educatio/article/view/152/135. Gargallo, B., Suárez, J., Garfella, P., y Fernández, A. (2011). El cuestionario CEMEDEPU. Un instrumento para la evaluación de la metodología docente y evaluativa de los profesores universitarios. Estudios sobre Educación, 21, 9-40. Lorenzo Moledo, M. (2012). La función social de la universidad y la formación del profesorado. Edetania, 42, 25-38. Martínez, M. (2006). Formación para la ciudadanía y educación superior. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 42, 85-102. Recuperado de http://rieoei.org/rie42.htm. Santos Rego, M.A. (2005). La universidad ante el proceso de convergencia europea: un desafío de calidad para la Unión. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 230, 5-16. Santos Rego, M.A. (2013). ¿Para cuándo las universidades en la agenda de una democracia fuerte? educación, aprendizaje y compromiso cívico en Norteamérica. Revista Educación, 361, 565-590. Doi: 10.4438/1988-592X-0034-8082-RE. Santos Rego, M.A., Sotelino, A., y Lorenzo, M. (2015). Aprendizaje-Servicio y misión cívica de la universidad. Una propuesta de desarrollo. Barcelona: Octaedro. Zabalza, M. A. (2006). La convergencia como oportunidad para la mejora de la docencia universitaria. Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, 20 (3) 37-69. Recuperado de http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=27411311003.
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