How spanish universities are addressing social issues in their strategic plans?

04/07/2022 to 06/07/2022
14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN) (2022)
Analysis of the social contribution of higher education institutions (HEIs) tends to be confined to a description of HEI activities in terms of outputs and sometimes outcomes. Social Innovation is considered relevant to face the “great challenges” faced by contemporary societies. That is, social innovation is related to new responses to pressing social demands by means that affect the process of social interactions, and it is very concerned with wellbeing. Based on the review of the use of the term of social innovation, it takes place in broader social, cultural, educational, economic and environmental contexts. However, in Spanish universities, social innovation has not received the attention it deserves compared to other universities in the European Union. Despite the existence of a national framework programme for innovation in general, the greatest contribution in recent years has been promoted by actors belonging to the social and solidarity economy, and other contributions have been promoted by initiatives led by citizens. Various Spanish universities have established research centres focused on social innovation, however, these institutes run the danger of becoming isolated silos unless their activities are intricately woven into the fabric and activities of the various contributing units and the community can benefit from their work. In this context, there is an urgent need for research the relevance of social issues for HEIs based on an analysis of their strategic plans and their responses to changing internal and external conditions. For that purpose, we have used the content analysis research technique to analyze the strategic plans of the public and private universities in Spain. Our preliminary results show that university responses to social commitment differ according to each institution’s regulations and social circumstances. Although universities characteristics matter for universities’ social strategies, we found some patterns common among private and public universities. The paper concludes with a discussion and some lessons learned from both at the institutional and system perspective.
Palma, España
E Planells-Aleixandre, R Isusi-Fagoaga, A García-Aracil