Conclusion: Global Experience to Date and Future Directions
The theoretical chapters and institutional accounts document that USR is a robust and growing global movement, characterized by considerable common vision and strategy, as well as diversity of context and approach. University-community partnerships are an essential ingredient of successful USR, and are most successful when universities forge truly reciprocal and mutually beneficial collaborations with community partners. Significant organizational change is a key dimension in virtually all of the institutional case studies. USR often has received increased priority in the institutions’ most recent strategic planning, and as a result several institutions have created higher level positions and coordinating councils in charge of USR. National policies have been influential drivers of USR in a few of the cases. Expansion of student programs is a major component of all of the institutional experience, often including a major increase in service learning, and some institutions have started to systematically evaluate student learning outcomes. Major opportunities are identified for cross-national research and other collective action. The University Social Responsibility Network can be an important vehicle for future research and joint projects, building on its current collaborative activities, and working in partnership with other global and regional alliances.