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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

Why and how are universities battling their perception as “ivory tower” and declaring their social commitment or responsibility? This opening chapter sets the foundations for our discussion of university-society relations and, importantly, reorients such discussions of academia’s social role and of the impact of universities on the public good towards commitment and leadership. With detailed description of terminological choices, we define the novel model of academic commitment and leadership (ACL), characterize it by its three main themes, and set it as the model of social engagement that befits the 21st century university.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

With sweeping review of the history of universities - starting with the founding of the University of Bologna in 1088 and concluding with the global scope of higher education and science today - we show that the institution of a university has a long record of social engagement with and responsibility towards society. Yet, over the millennium-long university-society relations, this commitment has changed periodically through the addition of three academic missions: teaching, research and commercialization. Currently, with mounting challenges to the ethos of academia, universities are driven to seek a new form of engagement with society’s grand challenges. Such new form, we argue, is the academic commitment and leadership (ACL), which sets a new vision and strategy for universities to set for themselves a 4th academic mission.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

In their search for appropriate strategies for engagement with society and for impacting the public good, universities wrestle with the translation of the flourishing model corporate social responsibility (CSR) to academia. In this chapter, we compare and contrast CSR with ACL to better articulate our proposal for ACL as a guide for the 21st century university.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

The variety of historical and locational contexts, coupled with the various degrees of intentionality and multiplicity of social objectives, resulted in a rich depository of exemplary tales of ACL. The chapter offers an analytic survey of ACL strategies, alongside examples of the implementation of such strategies by universities in various countries. The chapter also uses Einstein as an icon figure for ACL.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

The term, "communities of practice" is an important infrastructure for establishing strong ACL. However, it is possible to apply different practices and processes in order to establish strong and effective such communities within universities. The chapter offers a detailed description of the main elements that facilitate community integration and cohesion and how these were implemented at the "Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Program" at the Hebrew University.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

What are ACL projects? What are their goals? What social groups directed to? And what is their area of activity? In this chapter, we offer a description of 10 ACL projects that members of the Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Program established over the years. With these illustrations, the reader can have a better understanding of options for ACL projects.

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Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

Looking forward, we consider the possible challenges to the implementation of ACL, also by considering the critique levied against CSR. To this aim, we outline a tiered ACL model that sets actionable commitment and actionable leadership. And, drawing on long-standing concerns about the authenticity, autonomy and managerialism in academia, we reflect on how universities are evolving and how they should evolve in order to engage more deeply with society.

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From Ivory Tower to Academic Commitment and Leadership

The Changing Public Mission of Universities

Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori

How is the public mission of universities to change in the face of today’s global challenges? How is the 21st Century university to balance its long-standing traditions and its commitment to teaching, research and commercialization with rapidly changing social needs and conditions worldwide? And how does the newly defined public role of the university reflect on changes to non-profit organizations in general? Amalya Oliver-Lumerman and Gili S. Drori offer a new model of academic commitment and leadership in response to questions about the new public role of the university.
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Gili S. Drori, Achim Oberg and Giuseppe Delmestri

Gili Drori, Achim Oberg, and Giuseppe Delmestri set out to identify historical trends in field-level processes of global world culture in individual organizational artifacts – university emblems. Their innovative methodology allows them to reconstruct and understand broad cultural trends and long historical changes in higher education through small, organizational-level visual icons. In addition, by tracing distributions and developments, they are able to identify period-specific cultural models and locate the individual universities within them. With their longitudinal study they add to the core concerns of institutional theory: the theory of fields, organizational roles and identities, world society theory, and to the visual and material turn in institutional analysis. In particular, they embed ‘strategic’ decisions by individual organizations in cultural and global dynamics of the organizational field, thereby institutionally ‘grounding’ their agency.