11 SES 16 A, Improving Higher Education With University Social Responsibility (USR)
University social responsibility (USR) is an old new concern in the centre of higher education institutions (HEI), both in the sense of thinking about their internal practices, as well as in their interaction with the community. In the post-Bologna European context, special emphasis was placed on the responsibility of HEIs to provide equal opportunities (London Communiqué, 2007), and USR projects have a recognized potential of social justice (European Commission, 2010). This research context is the project ESSA - European Students, Sustainability Auditing funded by the European Commission's Erasmus+ program, led by a consortium of European universities: University of Edinburgh (UE), Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and University of Porto (UP), together with its Student Associations, the European Student Union and the National Union of Students of the United Kingdom, the coordinating partner. The main objectives of ESSA are to develop (a) a training of facilitators, and (b) a USR audit training for students, with a face-to-face training and a practical USR audit exercise. The students’ perceived impact of their involvement in USR training/audit in their own academic, civic and professional development is the aim of this study that is carried out autonomously in relation to ESSA project activities, using a mixed research methodology (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004), including documental analysis, interviews, focus groups and questionnaires. This paper focus in a longitudinal preliminary analysis of the experience of the students who participated in audits at the UE (2016), KTU (2017), UP (2018) and Kings College of London (2019) through focus-group discussions, along with student-produced documents.
•EUROPEAN COMISSION (2011). A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Brussels: European Commission •JOHNSON, B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2004) Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come. Educational Researcher, 33 (7), pp. 14-26; •London Communiqué (2007), Towards the European Higher Education Area: responding to challenges in a globalised world. In: http://www.ehea.info/articledetails.aspx?ArticleId=43.
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