CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION: BEST PRACTICES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EXTREMADURA

D. Gallardo Vázquez, M.I. Sánchez Hernández

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
This paper focuses the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and, more exactly, its implementation in Higher Education. This strategy has a potential role as a source of competitive advantage and Universities are introducing it in order to be also more competitive. The practice of social responsible actions in the classic triple bottom line, economic, social and environmental determines the implications of the organizations in this management strategy.

Moreover, we know that the functions of Universities are related to teaching, researching, and promoting a fairer society. On the other hand, Universities are institutions based on knowledge and are called to disseminate their principles, also responsible principles of action, to all the stakeholders they relate to. In this sense, we consider there are important stakeholders in the context and we have to carefully observe the actions oriented to them, the expectations they have and the actions to get them.

So, the main objective of the paper is to analyze the best practices that University of Extremadura has designed in order to improve University Social Responsibility. In this sense, theses practices are focused in different areas: i) First, those oriented to good practices in teaching process. At the moment, we observe the absence of a specific training in this topic, so, teachers interested in disseminating the triple bottom line at a University level have to think about the way of doing that. The intention of the paper is explain how the University of Extremadura is doing it. For example, designing training courses out of the official curriculum, by inviting relevant experts on the topic, by introducing in the classes some specific abilities, …, in order to get the involvement and participation of students; ii) Secondly, we analyze an example of very good practice at the University under study. We refer to the role of the new Office of Social Responsibility at the University aiming to foster Social Responsibility´s principles in this context. This Office is two years old and it was created by the new Chancellor in order to introduce the Corporate Social Responsibility in the University strategy. Now, we are doing the necessary steps in order to get some important objectives. There is no doubt that the actions designed and implemented by the Office constitute the best practices in our University context due to the fact of their institutional character.