THE MULTI-VALENCE OF ACADEMIC CITIZENSHIP AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ROMANIAN 2010 CONTEXT: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND LOCAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
1 Valahia University Targoviste (ROMANIA)
2 NUPSPA - National University for Political Studies and Public Administration (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Universities cannot grow separated from their local communities. Nevertheless, until recently, the old Humboldtian approach of bringing the world to the student isolated inside the walls of the university has still been considered as the best solution for academics. The idea of bringing the students to the world, thus making them socially responsible, and of opening the doors of the university to the wider society has now grown deeper roots and some of the universities learned that their role as main drivers of development for the community they are part of can only bring benefits both to the academia and to the wider society.
Therefore, more and more universities of the third millennium have included in their mission civic and social development goals, as the institutions need to give an example of how good citizenship and education open the way to social responsibility and sustainable development.
The idea of academic citizenship stands for several different interpretations of what these civic/social goals are and how they can be achieved. On the one hand, this concept includes a code of conduct and values addressed to students, the main conditions for the students to join the university community and gain academic recognition. This code puts together the expectations of universities on academic honesty, courses attendance and general acceptance of proper academic behavior. On the other hand, in a wider interpretation, the academic citizenship also refers to the faculty, to its duties, responsibilities and its virtues, the manner in which teachers and researchers relate to peers, to students, to business, to the local community, etc. Academic citizenship is one of the tools that can be put to work for connecting the academia to the wider society, thus achieving the civic and social responsibility goals of higher education.
At the global level, an ever increasing number of higher education institutions are aware of the need for considering and developing a third element in the university mission, along with generating knowledge and sharing knowledge: generating and actively promoting social and civic responsibility.
However, this new approach to the mission and role of higher education institutions has yet to be completely understood and employed in today’s Romanian academic world. Though there are some interests raised, there is still a great potential for development in this area that remains to a great extent unexploited. In this context, the authors focus on emphasizing that the Romanian higher education can and needs to provide the support that the local communities necessitate for generating momentum in community development.
Keywords: higher education, social responsibility, academic citizenship, community development.