In recent years, the social dimension of higher education has emerged as a central concern at several institutions. The role of the university has developed beyond the production and dissemination of knowledge. Today, higher education institutions are increasingly expected to serve as an engine for social transformation and growth, meeting the individual and social needs of a world increasingly aware of its diversity (Pérez, 2009, p. 8). This change has resulted in, among others, the concept of university social responsibility (USR) – that the university, as an institution, has to contribute to the development and improvement of the community and constantly rethink its position and function in society. This is achieved by offering educational services based on the principles of ethics, social commitment and the promotion of sound values, ultimately being accountable to society. Given that the entire body of teaching staff, including university professors, are part of the engine of change, they must be aware of their role.
This presentation aims to raise awareness among university teaching staff about their role as agents of social change. It discusses key aspects of USR in terms of integrating diversity both within and outside the university, and applying this to the curricula of all fields of study.
Viviane de Moraes Abrahão; Maria Vaquero-Diego
Viviane holds a master's degree in English Linguistics and International Communication and is studying towards a PhD in Disability Studies and Higher Education at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Her main research field is the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and the role of the whole community to ensure such inclusion. She has been a lecturer at ESIC University for several years and is part of a research group on the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.
Maria completed her undergraduate studies in Pedagogy at the University of Salamanca, her master's degree in Human Resources at the Antonio de Nebrija University in Madrid, and a PhD with International Mention in Education Sciences at the University of Salamanca. She currently works as a professor at ESIC University and belongs to the research group on ethics, marketing and innovation in the knowledge society. Maria also collaborates with the University of São Paulo's curriculum innovation research centre NUPIC. Her research predominantly focuses on emotional intelligence, and training plans for adolescents. She is also a member of the Academic Congress Organising Committee at ESIC and a reviewer of several international journals.
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