University and Society
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University and Society

Interdependencies and Exchange

Edited by Ágnes Kövér and Gaby Franger

What role can the university play in the broader community or society in which it is embedded? Must it remain segregated in the halls of science and knowledge, which tower above the community? This book examines the growing number of questions and concerns around university-community relations by exploring widely accepted theories and practices and placing them under new light.
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Chapter 2: Leaving the ivory tower: universities’ third mission and the quest for legitimacy

Michael Meyer and Barbara Sporn


For modern universities in Europe it is not good enough to contribute to the scientific community and to education: Even excellent teaching and path-breaking research alone are not sufficient to provide universities with legitimacy. A third mission is increasingly expected from universities: They should be socially embedded and contribute to the communities in which they are located. Both public and private stakeholders have obviously altered their demands. These institutional pressures and their effects are illustrated in this chapter at three different levels – at the organizational level, at the level of public policy, and at an international level – by analyzing programmatic texts which aim at increasing business universities’ sustainability. These analyses reveal the elements of the third mission, tracing its impact on the sustainability discourse that has been established as a contemporary university postulation.

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