Traditionally universities perceive themselves first and foremost as providing teaching and research as their major contribution to society. However, by passing on knowledge and scientific findings to society, universities also contribute to shaping politics, economics and society as a whole from the regional level all the way up to the international level
In the past, universities used to be rather restrained when it came to making a concrete commitment to the community. However, in reality the heterogeneous membership structure of universities and their diverse knowledge base offer numerous possibilities for synergies in taking on social responsibility, including.
- Targeted training opportunities for volunteers or non-profit organizations
- education or information on community involvement for the general public
- promotion of student engagement through corresponding courses
- execution of engagement-related research projects
The engagement activities may produce a multitude of positive effects for research and teaching – by anchoring the university in the region and stimulating the exchange between relevant community stakeholders. The results of community activities by universities may include:
- improved public relations
- a new impetus for teaching and research
- the initiation and development of collaborations with organizations outside of university
- recruitment of potential students
- qualification and continued education of staffers
> Backhaus-Maul, Holger/Ebert, Olaf/Frei, Nadine/Roth, Christiane/Sattler, Christine (2015): Service Learning mit internationalen Studierenden. Konzeption, Erfahrungen und Umsetzungsmöglichkeiten. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.
> Berthold, Christian/Meyer-Guckel, Volker/Rohe, Wolfgang (Hrsg.): Mission Gesellschaft. Engagement und Selbstverständnis der Hochschulen. Ziele, Konzepte, internationale Praxis. Essen: Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.