The third mission of university: Perceptions and practices of faculty members on community service

Altun, Yasin
Core missions of the universities are currently expressed as teaching and education, research and development, and community service while they have substantially evolved throughout the history. Besides, community service function of the universities has recently begun to attract increasing attention in the field of higher education; despite this growing interest, community service is still an ill-defined and unclear concept. Therefore, the aim of the study is to explore the perceptions and practices of faculty members about community service mission of the university and investigate how they define, interpret, and fulfill community service in their professional lives. Hence, a qualitative exploratory case study was conducted with thirteen full-time faculty members working at a public university in Ankara, Turkey. The participants were selected through purposeful sampling. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and document analysis, mainly the strategic plan, of the case university was also utilized to triangulate the data. The data were analyzed via descriptive and thematic analysis. According to the results, the paradigms in which the faculty members perceive and practice community service are closely connected to their conceptualizations and definitions of community service. In addition, the findings suggest that the faculty members consider community service as a rather ambiguous notion that needs detailed characterization and clarification, which shapes their perceived service practices accordingly. Finally, it is highlighted by the majority of the faculty members that the concept of community service necessitates more extensive, systematic, and institutionalized comprehension by policymakers in higher education and university administrators and requires active participation of all university constituents into this process.


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Citation Formats
Y. Altun, “The third mission of university: Perceptions and practices of faculty members on community service,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.