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ERIC Number: EJ1129394
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-6370
Towards an Engaged Campus: Measuring and Comparing Definitive Stakeholders' Perceptions of University Social Engagement in South Korea
Cho, Young Ha
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, v18 n2 p185-202 2017
Purpose: This paper aims to measure and rigorously compare the perceptions of South Korean university social engagement between faculty and students, two definitive stakeholders identified by stakeholder theory--but considerably heterogeneous, to understand how South Korean campus embraces social engagement in practice. To that end, this study delves into the conceptual framework of university social engagement and selects a highly internationalized, research-oriented, four-year comprehensive South Korean university campus that has long sought to become engaged in communities as the research site. Design/methodology/approach: Methodologically, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to identify the factor model that successfully fit the data of the study. Factorial invariance tests and latent mean analysis were then conducted to measure and strictly compare the between-group mean differences. Findings: According to the findings, neither faculty nor students had positive perceptions of their institution's social engagement in terms of leadership, participatory decision-making, curriculum and instruction, institutional supports and systemic mechanism. That is, two definitive stakeholders on campus similarly perceived that social engagement has not yet been institutionalized as a core value and therefore embraced in practice. Based on these findings, this study discussed several implications for university decision makers. Specifically, the institutionalization of and the need for authentic leadership in university social engagement were emphasized as a means to encourage and facilitate the delivery of practical, beneficial services to the public. Research limitations/implications: As with all studies, there are certain limitations that must be noted. The sample for this study represents the experiences and expectations of faculty and students at only one institution. Therefore, the experiences of individuals at this single university are not necessarily representative of all South Korean universities. In addition, given that the public service missions of South Korean universities emanated from Western thoughts (Duke, 2008; Ward, 2003), social engagement in the present study has been discussed and conceptualized according to the dominant Western scholarship. Practical implications: As both faculty and students similarly perceived, participatory decision-making and systemic mechanism do not work properly, and therefore, social engagement as an institutional value cannot strongly take root on campus. Based on the scale used, this study identified communication and organizational supports as the likely issues that obstruct the institutionalization of social engagement. In relation to communication, Boyte and Hollander (1999) emphasize that it is important that stakeholders are well aware of the engaged effort of the institution. Then, the voices of stakeholders need to be acknowledged as valuable feedback so that university decision makers and stakeholders can discuss mutually important issues and concerns (Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, 2003). Furthermore, the relevant literature consistently contends that engaged effort can only be productive with continuous and systemic organizational supports (Boyte and Hollander, 1999; Holland, 1997; Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, 2003; Weerts and Sandmann, 2008). That is, the engaged work of teaching, research and service should be thoroughly assessed and reported to stakeholders on a regular basis. The implication in this study is that university decision makers should make greater effort to design and implement policies and regulations that enable organizational supports to continue. Social implications: For social engagement to be valued in practice, the relevant literature (Kellogg Commission, 1999; Garlick and Langworthy, 2008; Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, 2003; Peterson, 2009) advises that top institutional leaders need to encourage interdisciplinary scholarship that includes research, teaching and learning; develop incentives to encourage faculty involvement in engaged work; support engagement so that it is incorporated into the curriculum and instruction; and secure funding for engagement. The fundamental insight that these suggestions provide to university decision makers is crystal-clear: social engagement must be authentically prioritized in the decision-making process. Originality/value: The quantitative and descriptive findings of the study seek to provide one further step toward the objective of establishing the groundwork for future research on university social engagement in Asian context. Further, replication studies with various Asian cases and research designs may results in tangible improvements to the theorization of Asian university social engagement.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A