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Academics and Service to the Community: An International (European) Perspective

  • Bojana ĆulumEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 13)

Abstract

While teaching and research have been the focus of numerous studies, service activity has been highlighted less in the academic research. Presenting targeted data and results from two international collaborative research projects on academic profession ‒ The Changing Academic Profession (CAP) and The Academic Profession in Europe: Responses to Societal Challenges (EUROAC), this chapter provides insights and offers some reflections on the concept of ‘service’, thereby discussing (quantitative and qualitative) data collected in 12 European countries. Although many academics surveyed harbour positive views about the relevance of service activities, data reveals they spend around 3 h per week on various service activities, which is less than half of the time they allocate in administrative tasks. Academics are often involved in service activities related with serving academic and disciplinary community (e.g. scientific committees, reviewer, editor), some of them get engaged in community service, but very few get engaged in the political arena. As for their community engagement, two main categories arise: first one comprising of activities integrated within teaching and research, while the other consists of activities that come in addition to teaching and research. Academics engage more often in various outreach and short-term activities than in the long-term partnership activities/projects that could integrate their academic activities and roles. Such outreach activities organized by the institution come as a request from administration or superiors, and in addition to their regular work. Academics’ perceptions and experience reveal significant differences among countries in relation to institutional acknowledgment and evaluation of community engagement ‒ from formal recognition to a serious impediment of one’s academic progress. Substantial differences by country have to be taken into consideration in every aspect analyzed. However, this analysis of 12 European countries suggests that the traditional academic activities of teaching and research are clearly in the forefront of the academics’ values and activities, leaving the service function on the margin.

Keywords

Community Engagement Civic Engagement Service Activity Public Engagement Academic Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia

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