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Social Responsibility as Academic Learning Course at the University

Ayseli Usluata

The globalizing world needs responsible young generations who will be agents of social development; so universities are faced with the need to design innovative educational approaches and include academic learning courses that encourage young students to develop awareness and critical thinking. The opportunities to share love, kindness and respect with the local people and all living beings and to exchange ideas, experiences, different perspectives and perceptions through interaction with the students of a university in a different country help to develop mutual learning.

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Introduction

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Two undergraduate courses, “Social Responsibility Project for Graduation” and “Global (Intercultural Communication) Classroom”, were included in the syllabus of the Public Relations and Publicity Department of Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey, in the beginning of the 21st century to prepare young university students for social and global awareness.

The future of all societies depends upon young people who need to experience activities that are challenging, inspiring, and educative. Social responsibility education programmes, through courses, educate young people on how to become active participants in the process of making positive social changes. Literature review reveals the importance of including social responsibility courses in the curricula of universities to provide young students with guidance and a sense of purpose.

After working at the two best and well-known public universities of Turkey, a new position with the responsibility of founding a new department was a challenge for an academician. A new private university with liberal education principles could respond by offering service-learning courses, relating projects to the world outside academia or connecting students to the students of universities in foreign countries. The new academic learning courses in the academic curriculum, with the responsibility to educate young people who will add new values to society, would foster the development of the behaviour and social responsibility of the privileged students and show that they can respond to actual social issues.

The green campus of the new university was surrounded by walls, and what we can do for the local community...

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