The increasing complexity of Chilean society demands that universities sustain more interaction with their natural, social, economic, productive and cultural environments, as well as being capable of addressing the challenges related to the new socio-economic demands that are present in the national public agenda.
Andrés Bello University acknowledges its Community Outreach essential role in higher education as well as in social responsibility, which is embedded throughout all university’s functions. In that context, the institution recognizes its relevant role in contributing to the development of people, institutions, and territories in the country. This, together with its policy on cohabitation, inclusion, and promotion of respect, assures access to everyone, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, religion, disability, personal and socio-cultural conditions, among others, through two fundamental roles:
- To maintain a relevant, permanent and mutually beneficial interaction with main public, private and social actors, a horizontal and bidirectional relationship taken place in shared spaces in line with each local, regional, national or international environment
- To contribute with the significance, enrichment, and feedback of quality and relevance criteria for teaching and research activities of each area of knowledge in the institution
Based on the above, the university is fully committed to the National Accreditation Agency (CAN, Spanish acronym) as well as to best national and international practices, understanding Community Outreach as “a group of links established with the disciplinary, artistic, technological, productive or professional environment that aims at improving the institutional functions performance, facilitating academic and professional development for members of the institution and their upgrade or enhancement or to reach the institutional goals”. In that line, the university has defined as fundamental aspects for its Community Outreach Policy the following elements:
- Establishment of Community Outreach instruments within the university
- The commitment of the rest of the essential functions of UNAB (especially teaching and research) to generate relevant links with the environment
- Active identification of relevant external stakeholders with whom to interact
- Generation of meaningful impacts within the institutional level as well as its external area of influence
The university has established the following purposes and goals for its Community Outreach unit:
- To consolidate UNAB’s interaction with its social, economic, productive and cultural environment
- To collaborate with the Teaching-Learning Process based on UNAB’s Learning, defined in the institutional Educational Model, which reinforces curricular activities focused on students, as well as helping them execute their capacities to apply knowledge through exercises, simulations, and case solving activities
- To encourage the development of policies and specific actions in order to assure external media’s feedback, both functional and territorial, in permanent graduate profile’s update for all programs as well as suitability assessment of the degrees offered by UNAB
- To encourage the development of links for environmental analysis in the disciplinary (faculties) and territorial (branches and campuses) areas. In both -disciplinary and territorial- UNAB should be aware and take into consideration the specialized human capital requirements, in line with each sector’s development, in order to achieve a relevant educational offer aligned with current real needs
- To develop an effective international outreach aimed at knowing and integrating disciplinary state of the art to academia, in order to strengthen the educational model, as well as establishing alliances and cooperation agreements that allow the development of global research activities, boosting collaboration networks and international mobility
- To establish permanent and participative links with organizations and institutions who aim at developing or giving instruments for productive promotion for the private sector, in order to act as bridges between the productive sector’s needs and the public sector’s interests in these matters
- To establish permanent and transversal links with the private world in its different expressions: organized civil society, sectorial union organizations with economic and productive relevance (local and national), and every actor that is considered necessary in order to know the requirements of these organizations and to establish joint development programs of relevant initiatives for the society as well as for UNAB
- To assure that Community Outreach’s policies, activities, programs, and projects have enough resources to achieve their goals
According to the described purposes, the institutional strategic mandate is complemented with the following specific objectives:
- To promote and manage increased development activities related to the environment’s needs and potential, based on the established policy
- To increase the internal reach and impact of Community Outreach’s activities and their contribution to students’ integral and disciplinary training
- To coordinate an increased impact on the environment and areas of interest
The university has identified its areas and groups of interest, considering the institutional Community Outreach’s purposes, the desired internal and external impacts and the relevant environment identified in the Community Outreach model, like the following:
- People, Community and Civic Organizations: refers to the link that focuses on people, communities and organized civil society’s development
- Public Sector: contains the connection with State public organisms, local, regional, national or international
- Private Sector: considers the link with private institutions, for or non-profit focused on productive and/or service sectors
4. COMMUNITY OUTREACH MODEL
The university’s Community Outreach Institutional Model represents the conceptual frame that guides the actions from the faculties and academic and administrative units in order to establish connections with the environment. Considering the size, geographical location and organizational structure of the university, the model’s definition includes the following characteristics:
- Situates under and postgraduate teaching and research as key elements that determine the origin and direction of the Community Outreach activities developed by the university
- Defines four internal impacts that seek to nurture the under, postgraduate and research teaching
- At a third level, identifies the instruments with which the university connects whit its environment
- Identifies three areas and groups of interest to impact through the outreach instruments
- Finally, proposes the environment, considering the territories’ view for their conception and development
UNAB’s Community Outreach Institutional Model belongs to this policy. More details HERE.
The Community Outreach General Direction and the committees established by it will be responsible for coordinating and controlling this policy’s development, unifying criteria for the design, planning, systematization and dissemination of the area’s activities, programs and projects.
|Community outreach’s quality assurance mechanisms||Set of processes, procedures, and actions applied according to quality criteria defined by the institution to assure that the community outreach’s activities, programs, and projects have the highest quality.|
|Community outreach’s quality criteria||Indicators that allow the evaluation of bidirectionality as well as co-creation in both process and result levels, in addition to the internal and external impact of the community outreach’s activities, programs, and projects.
They include academic metric, associated with material resources, human or financial, formal or legal framework for development (agreements or contracts), related information systematization, development consistency in time, reporting of actions and others, as part of the initiatives developed by the institution.
|Bidirectionality||That benefits in both ways, the university as well as the environment with which the institution connects to.|
|Co-creation||Correspond to a collaborative exercise through which people and organizations work together, in order to take advantage of an opportunity or fulfill a specific need, having, as a result, an improvement in the production of goods and services that would not have been possible through individual work.|
|Process or Result indicators||A process or result indicator is a specific characteristic, observable and measurable that can be used to demonstrate changes and progress of certain activities, projects or programs towards achieving a specific result.|
|Impacts||They describe the contributions of community outreach’s activities, programs and projects, and how participants benefit (internal and external to the institution) in both quantity (internal and external coverage) and quality (changes achieved).
The impact reflects changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, behaviour, conditions or status of people, communities and organisms that connect to the institution.
|Impact’s indicators||They are a special type of indicators, which as any indicator, it is observable and measurable, hence, demonstrable. Additionally: