Coro’s Blog: On Purpose
Post-secondary’s postscript: universities becoming a greater force for good
Published on November 18, 2022
Society is facing challenges and uncertainties that threaten social cohesion and community well-being. Universities are uniquely positioned to invent and scale the solutions needed to enable a better quality of life for all of society within planetary thresholds. Many of these solutions can be found in their existing assets and capacities, which, when directed at building social infrastructure, can reveal the pathway for citizens and their institutions to thrive.
In 2017, those words launched a journey to understand and mobilize the capacities Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnic institutes could unlock to individually and collectively build social infrastructure for communities. That year the report “Maximizing the Capacities of Advanced Education Institutions to Build Social Infrastructure for Canadian Communities” was published. The foundational paper constituted a call to action for post-secondary institutions to accelerate and scale their beneficial social impact.
Since then a group of 30 Canadian university presidents have been meeting to define a social impact pathway for themselves and their institutions as captured in this capstone report, Ten Actions to Accelerate University Social Impact.
The Role of Universities in Society
Convened by the McConnell Foundation over five years, the university leaders developed several tools and resources to put their institutions on a path to greater good. They developed a manifesto on The Role of Universities in Society which sets out a bold and visionary role for the post-secondary sector to accelerate progress towards a sustainable future. The declaration lists fourteen change-agent roles universities are playing to build a better world.