The Third Sector in the Universities’ Third Mission
The interactions between the today’s university and its environment, as part of the university’s social responsibility, have been subject to many scientific papers. Their authors typically focus on interdependencies between universities, the state and the market. What is lacking are publications related to the interactions between universities and third sector organisations, and more broadly – a civil society, that may play an important role in shaping the relations between a university and its social environment. The aim of this work is an attempt to fill this research gap, as ignoring the importance of these relations results in the society treating the university instrumentally. The text consists of four parts. The first one presents some background for forming the relationships between academic institutions and their social environment as well as scenarios for advancement of the institutions, developed by international organisations. In the second part the authors develop and support the thesis that including interactions with the non-governmental sector into the third mission, in its traditional meaning, will have a positive impact on building social capital, the importance of which is presently underestimated. In the paper there are arguments in favour of extending the third mission of the university to include the social environment, i.e. organisations of different types, active within the 3rd sector. The third part of the article consists of analyses discussing the justifiability of such an approach to the role played by universities, as illustrated with examples of good practice from Poland. The examples that were chosen not only show the mechanism of cooperation with a university, but also the social context of its activity in a given country. The authors believe that it is the context that decides about what forms, if any, of pro-social activity shall shape the Academia and co-exist with it. In the summary the authors provide some recommendations that, once adopted, may contribute to enriching the universities’ third mission, regarded as improving and strengthening of the relationship between the university and the third sector.
Anna M. Kola, Krzysztof Leja. (2017). The Third Sector in the Universities’ Third Mission, 99-125.
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