A Diversity Perspective
Edited by Mine Karataş-Ozkan, Katerina Nicolopoulou and Mustafa F Özbilgin
Chapter 7: The influence of university social responsibility on local development and human capital
University social responsibility (USR) provides an important opportunity for the development of applied research, given the persistence of social and economical inequalities. ‘Islands of prosperity’, privileged by human, cultural, scientific and technological development, cohabit with spaces that are often ignored by governments and by society, where people can hardly gain skills and competences given the difficult access to education and professional training, and thus cannot develop further in the professional world. In light of this polarity in many economies, universities can become a tool for accomplishing the mission of guaranteeing education through the delivery of projects, workshops and other courses of practical interest to parts of the population seeking to gain further personal and professional development where regular access to education is limited. USR has an impact on the creation and development of human capital, social capital and sustainable local development. Individuals, through education, can become more productive and make a contribution to economic growth (Sen, 2000). The pursuit of economic growth and a fairer society is a duty of both individuals and the society, and therefore the academic agenda needs to investigate potential tools for societal intervention and to contribute to the improvement of the society in which it is embedded. Universities can deliver, regarding their social function, the construction of a more balanced society through the implementation of projects and activities of social responsibility.
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