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ERIC Number: ED525692
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
What Role Do Croatian Higher Institution Play? A Study on University Civic Mission
Ledic, Jasminka; Culum, Bojana; Nuzdic, Sandra; Jancec, Lucija
Online Submission, Paper presented at the International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education (4th, Barcelona, Spain, 2008)
The paper examines civic mission of higher education analyzing legal prerequisites for establishing civic engagement at Croatian universities, as well as students' experiences and attitudes on important aspects of university activities. The analysis of legal acts indicates insufficient usage of given legislation. Legal regulations, which recommend governance participation of both professors and students, are often not in agreement with reality and current practice (Ledic, 2007). The formulations found in the 24 analyzed statutes of all seven Croatian universities are in accordance with principles proclaimed in the Law. However, the following findings emerged: (I) The general absence of university mission statements, (II) Analyzed statutes and their acts indicate a similarity in their formulation, (III) The role of university in improving community life have been stated in all statutes merely as a phrase. A tailored questionnaire surveyed 192 students' experiences and attitudes on important aspects of university activities including research, teaching, community service and governance. Gender, academic achievement and membership in (student) organizations have not proven relevant, while statistically significant differences are seen across different schools. Medical students have more experience in participating in scientific projects and rate these projects as having high positive impact on the community. Humanities students evaluate their own institutions in terms of teaching quality and consider that teaching affects the acquisition of knowledge and skills for active citizenship, social responsibility, civic rights and commitments. However, results indicates a low level of student participation in core academic activities, especially research (M = 1.6). Students notice lack of dedication of university civic mission through teaching as well. Only a small number of university courses include service learning (M = 2.1), or offer extracurricular activities which promote civic values. A positive aspect in this context is finding that students notice a motivational potential of their active engagement in community through various projects and curricular activities (M = 4.3). It is of significance to state the division of student opinions in relation to university role. Even though they recognize the importance of university social responsibility and see the need to encourage student participation in all academic activities, they still predominantly believe that the role of higher education is primarily to provide opportunities for acquiring expert knowledge and qualifications for the labor market. This brief overview of the pilot-research results indicates that Croatian universities need to undergo a complex and difficult process of strengthening the academic community to promote civic engagement. (Contains 5 tables, 6 graphs, 8 footnotes, and a bibliography.) [This paper was published in: Proceedings of the 4th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education, Vol. 8. Higher education and citizenship, participation and democracy. Barcelona: GUNI (Global University Network for Innovation).]
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Croatia