Module 3: How to reimagine Universities’ Social Responsibility or service mission in a digital world

Landing the Concept
Take Action
Test Yourself

Landing the Concept

Social responsibility tries to maintain the balance between economical growth and social and environmental welfare [1]. To achieve this balance, Universities have to be aware of their civic obligations in each of its action areas: teaching, research and management. These obligations have an impact in all the staff, since they are both actors and receivers of actions related to social responsibility. On the one hand, civic values and service have to be transmitted from managers to the rest of the subordinates in order to maintain an ethical behavior and provide the best service to the rest of the actors. On the other hand, Universities, as an important source of knowledge and progress, need to keep the goal of building a better society for everyone [2]. 

To build a comprehensive idea about what is and how to develop social responsibility in your institution, we invite you to visit the following link about the project Unibility, in particular, the proposal of University Social Responsibility toolkit. We recommend you start reading chapters 2 and 3. 

After that, in chapter 4, choose one practice of each of sections to build your own idea about what can be done in several scenarios. Of course, we encourage you to read as much practices as you like in order to broaden your knowledge and to get inspired.

Take Action!

Now, you have an idea about what University Social Responsibility (USR) is and how it can be materialized in several Universities. To learn more about what your University is doing related to USR and to contribute in its development, we invite you to do the following activities:

  • Visit your university’s website and look for the social responsibility actions which are already implemented. Choose one of them, according to your interests.
  • Seek if a social responsibility service, department or unit exists at your university. Contact them to find more information about the practice you chose and try to obtain information about the number of beneficiaries it has. If you did not find the USR section on the website, you have the opportunity to ask them for the link.
    • Prerequisite: To take this action successfully you must ensure that other colleagues in your university work on USR. Maybe, they can even enroll in this course with you.
  • Share your findings in the platform, explaining how a teacher could improve, contribute, foster or visualize that initiative at his or her institution. Next, choose one of your partners’ contributions and comment on the post explaining how you could incorporate the initiative to your institution, how it could be visualized, or any other aspect that contributes to improving somehow the action.

Test Yourself


[1] The association Pachamama offers a definition of Social Responsibility and Ethics, which was used in this module to introduce the concept. The complete information can be found in its website:

[3] The European project “University Social Responsibility in Europe (USR-Europe)” proposes a model to enhance social responsibility in European Universities. The website of this project is (last accessed on 2021 December, the 2nd).