Corporate Social Responsibility in Higher Education

Do you know how and why to apply corporate social responsibility in the higher education?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework is important to survival in education arena between competitors. Nowadays academia switched the focus from the classroom into the institutional operations to improve the quality. Issues of CSR are a part of the educational goal of universities and they integrate CSR strategies. They help higher education institutions to develop an understanding of their role in the fellowships. When they create CSR projects connected to the key business values, it can also develop unique competitive excellence.

Cultivate values

Organizations have to complete economic, ethical and legal accountabilities in order to deliver its entire commitment to society. Economic responsibilities denote the responsibility for businesses to be effective and commercial. Legal duties based on the framework of legal requirements which organizations need to meet. Ethical responsibilities demand setting norms that businesses have to follow. Integrating CSR strategies in universities has to receive excellence and a positive reputation.

Higher education institutions play a significant role in delivering the world’s socio-economic issues by encouraging solutions. Business schools have to operate as if CSR were an essential part of finance, accounting, marketing and other areas.

Integration of CSR in the curriculum was made in different business schools. For example, at California’s Stanford University there is the Center for Social Innovation that includes researches to contribute to the global issues.

Some schools also offer the Social Impact Initiative that gives the possibility for learners to make a difference in the world and to overcome social challenges such as poverty and so on.

Create progressive model

Strengthen education leaders with the knowledge and competencies to manage responsible organizations, while encouraging the private and public sectors to foster strong business practices in the universities. Education needs leaders who are able to act contextually while implementing ethics and knowledge into the process.

Higher education funding council for England, for example, supports the local community through a setting which allows employees to work flexibly to take part in the voluntary work and enables the workers to support charitable organizations and events.

CSR education starts developing business schools including the concept in their curriculum. Lebanese universities implemented CSR through creating a section about social issues. Dr. Said Elfakhani, the dean of the School of Business at the Lebanese American University, says, “…there is somehow an accusation between what we teach in business schools and the practice of graduates when they graduate and become officers in their companies.”

Enable students in CSR initiatives

CSR knowledge is founded on the practices of American and European corporations. For instance, Notre Dame University has developed the Water Energy and Environment Research Center that is aimed to gain an understanding of the social issues strongly influencing Lebanon. The insights from this center may be applied in the classroom to promote CSR strategy development.

University cooperation with the private sector may put students to face challenges of creating and integrating CSR initiatives in the real world conditions. It may upgrade the learning experience as students get a better insight into the course material. Few universities have started to build relationships with main players in the private sector.

Collaboration between business schools and non-governmental organizations may promote interest in the environmental issues among learners while exposing them to solve the real problems. It will create useful classroom experience and help students to use CSR theories in practice. The Lebanese American University demands from students to perform a volunteer work with the local non-governmental organizations. “We are going to make a concerted effort between the school of business and Outreach to organize, on a yearly basis, campaigns for business students to volunteer with NGOs on specific projects and the school of business can offer between 10,000 and 12,000 hours of volunteer work a year,” stated Dean Elfakhani.

The American University of Beirut connects with different non-governmental organizations as well and implements plans to cooperate with the nonprofit segment in taking CSR ahead.

Learners have the opportunity to volunteer and gain management skills while practicing the theoretic material in the real world. Also, the intellectual and physical resources higher education institutions may offer through campus to engage students. For instance, The Université Saint-Esprit De Kaslik started carbon-neutral, resource efficient, zero emissions, and global certified educational program.

Higher education institutions have to complete economic, ethical and legal accountabilities in order to deliver its entire commitment to society. For this purpose, cultivate values and provide the integration of CSR in the curriculum. Strengthen responsible leaders with the knowledge and competencies to manage education organizations. These leaders have to be able to act contextually while implementing ethics and knowledge into the process. Support employees to work flexibly to take part in the voluntary work and participate in charitable organizations and events. Enable students in CSR initiatives to use their knowledge to overcome global challenges. In our next article, we will describe CSR for lifelong learners: how the students after the university may use their skills and get benefits from social responsibility.

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