Throughout history, development in universities have been immersed in re-definition processes, readjusting their functions and reformulating relations with the different agents in the environment with the aim of giving a better response to the needs of the society of the moment.
In this sense, universities have been expanding their functions, but it is not until recently that, in an organic way, awareness of the need to go beyond the traditional three types of missions (teaching, research and transfer) and provide more Value to society
Universities are agents of innovation and sustainable development:
In other words, universities must be catalytic agents of change, promoting inclusive innovation and promoting sustainable development. In a postmodern society such as the current one, the activities of commitment and social cohesion acquire a more than relevant role, and must guarantee access and social inclusion.
Moreover, a university that is socially responsible is one that through its activity in all its fields and functions (including teaching, research and knowledge transfer) offers public services that contribute to the welfare of society and its cultural level, advocating for equity, and reducing the gap between university research and real social needs.
Social dimensions on behalf of university:
Although this social dimension finds an explicit expression through initiatives of “social projection”, “university extension” or “social commitment”, the activity focused on teaching, research and transfer functions can also be soaked in this spirit of social responsibility,
1) ethical commitment to the environment;
2) the general welfare of the various interest groups, and
3) the satisfaction of the needs of society.
This commitment also has to do with the responsibility of the university in forming people in solidarity with their surroundings. This solidarity must allow the university community to be aware of the current problems and challenges, both internally of the university as an organization, and externally resulting from the interaction with its immediate environment of action.
The specification of this social dimension began to materialize at the time with the creation of the European Higher Education Area.
The contemporary university:
This dimension mainly concerned the elimination of economic, social and architectural barriers, and the provision of resources and services for the benefit of the population. The contemporary university, in parallel to the development of its three basic functions (teaching, research and transfer) should have as principles the equality of opportunities (participation and success of studies), the study of living conditions, orientation and advice and the elimination of any type of discriminatory obstacle. This new reality meant that development in universities expanded their traditional horizon,
Individual contribution for innovation in universities:
Although sometimes the individual contribution may seem small for a great change to take place, we have the luck (and the great responsibility!) Through teaching, have a voice in society and, through our actions set an example we can set examples for the society. We cannot miss this opportunity! We can utilize the efforts of students to grow academic excellence. We can insist the students work harder and develop new themes for the coming generations.