The Enhancing Social Characteristics and Public Responsibility of Israeli Teaching through a HEI-Student Alliance (ESPRIT) project, initiated in 2013, focused on analyzing, mapping and strengthening the social and public roles of Israeli universities.
On November 21, European Students’ Union hosted the final round-table of the project, which will formally end on November 30.
An online survey was conducted among the five Israeli partner institutions in order to evaluate the importance given to social engagement by faculty members, administrative staff and students in academic institutions as well as to provide understanding of the current state of HEI. According to the results of the questionnaire, the target audiences give great importance to social engagement and responsibility in the academic world and are willing to help strengthen the role of their institutions in the achievement of their objectives.
The social benchmarking tool, designed to measure the social characteristics of higher education institutions through a series of indicators divided according to specific target groups, will be tested among the partners and the results will be published at the end of 2017. It will serve as a tool for comparison between institutions, as well as an opportunity for self-analysis.
The third feature of the project aims to engage institutions in a collaborative effort to develop and implement a socially engaged curricula through the mapping of various models. These models served as the foundation of the pilot courses implemented in the 2016 academic year in Israel. To ease the effort of the involved parties, an online archive platform was created, containing useful materials for the development of their mission. The website is available both in Hebrew and English.
A general agreement exists among participants that more social engagement platforms for students and faculty members are needed. Social engagement processes need to continue and current tools are to be implemented at university level.