Detailed Program of the Conference

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Overall view of the program
Parallel session - E.10.1 Reinventing University. Public Engagement As Participative And Collective University
Thursday, 03/June/2021:
9:30am - 11:45am

Session Chair: Fiorella Vinci
Session Chair: Tiziana Tarsia
Session Chair: Vincenza Pellegrino
Location: Room 6

Session Panels:
E.10. Reinventing University. Public Engagement as Participative and Collective University

External Resource:


Andrea Lombardinilo

Chieti-Pescara, Italy


Thisproposal revolves around the tenet of rationalization inspiring the reformist process that Italian universities are handlingin order to promotemerit, efficiency, transparency and evaluation. The recent functional transformations have reduced the autonomy of universities and increased centralization in order to contrast the array of drawbacks emerging in the last two decades. This renovation process is defined by a normative flood that has not yet stimulated a different cultural mindset within the academic environment. This is why Pareto’s dichotomy between residues and derivations can also be referred to the reformist shifts bolstered by the introduction of the self-evaluation, evaluation and accreditation (AVA) system, whose bureaucratic procedures as a whole seem to be inspired by ameta-language founded on an over-explanatory normative flair.


The analysis of the reportsannually released by the Evaluation Committees and Presidia of Quality of universitiesallows us to understand what academic rationalization aims atand to emphasize the importance of quality and rationalization (derivations) in contrast to some out-dated academic habits (residues). Hence follows the focus on the ongoing process of evaluation aimed at detecting any weak points regarding didactics, governance, internationalization, the third mission, student engagement. In this account, the universities’ annual reports reflect Anvur’s normative and discursive tenets, aimed at replacing the “non-logical” habits of the past with the “logical” policies promoted under the AVA system. Therefore, normative discourses seem to fuel some argumentative derivations aimed at burying the academic residues (sentiments and individualisms) that nowadays still determine university policies.


Pareto’s dichotomy between residues and derivations can help understand whether the adherence to facts, recalled in The Transformation of Democracy (1921), may be useful to analyze the current transformation of the university, so as to cope with the countless drawbacks coming to light soon after the introduction of the double degree system. This is a sociological approach highlighting the permanent reformist process supporting rationalization and inclusion, in order to replacethe erratic (and sometimes illogical) policies featured by universities in the past. To the fore is the juxtaposition between facts and imagination, as Pareto wittily pointed out: “one should avoid the risk of generalizing beyond the boundaries of present experience and roaming in imaginary space”.


university, reformism, rationalization, evaluation, social system


Barnett R. (2013), Imagining the University, Routledge, London-New York.

Gidley J., Inayatullah S. (eds.) (2000), The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University, Praeger Publishers, Westport (CT)

Losh E. (2014), The War of Learning. Gaining Ground in the Digital University, The MIT Press, Cambridge (MA).

Slowey M., Schuetze H. G. (eds.) (2014), Global Perspective on Higher Education and Lifelong Learners, Routledge, London-New York.

Giancola, O. & Colarusso, S. (2020), Università e nuove forme di valutazione. Strategie individuali, produzione scientifica, effetti istituzionali, Sapienza Università editrice, Roma.

Morcellini M., Rossi P.,Valentini E. (a cura di) (2017), Unibook. Per un database sull’Università, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Moscati R. (2020), Academics facing unpredictable changes, in «Scuola democratica», n. 3, 405-415.

Pareto V. (1984), The Transformation of Democracy (1921), Transaction Books, New Brunswick (NJ).


Fiorella Vinci

eCampus University, Italia

The participation of Universities in the promotion of territorial development is one of the main paradigms of innovation of university work in the last twenty years (Moscati, Vaira 2008; Charle, Souliè 2008). But, if the design of the innovation model appears to be defined from the beginning, its implementation mechanisms and results appear territorially heterogeneous and, in many cases, contribute to reproducing the well-known territorial inequalities (Regini, Trigilia 2019).

The institutional learning of the innovation in which universities are protagonists could be reconstructed through the contributions offered by the rich literature on local development and, more recently, by innovation studies (Cersosimo, Wolleb 2001; Trigilia 2007; Ramella 2019). But, it could also be reconstructed by trying to reverse the method of analysis, trying to understand how the actors involved in the process of change perceive innovation and observing what happens in informal moments such as those in which the results of research are returned to the territory.

This contribution aims to capture the dynamics of institutional innovation in university work during an informal moment of its manifestation: an online webinar which presented the results of the EDGE project, a European project on employment inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in which Universities, social cooperatives, and bodies specialised in the training of people with disabilities from different European countries participated.

The contribution aims to bring to light a bottom-up innovation path, identifying the participants of the webinar and the communicative situation that allows the different participants to mutually recognize their institutional roles and to experience an active involvement in the innovation process.

This study is divided into two sections. In the first, the recurring elements in the contributions of the various participants in the webinar and the inter-individual logic that supported the various contributions are highlighted. At this stage particular emphasis will be given to the identification and collective communication of common needs. A second moment is instead dedicated to the institutional pre-conditions and to the interinstitutional linkages that structured the webinar.

The EDGE project presentation is only the final moment of a research project. However, its interinstitutional and intersubjective analysis could highlight the forms of interinstitutional cooperation most suitable for intercepting territorial needs and the possible responses that Universities can contribute to them.


Cersosimo D., Wolleb G. (2001), “Politiche pubbliche e contesti istituzionali. Una ricerca sui Patti Territoriali”, Stato e Mercato, n. 3, pp. 372-401.

Charle, C. e Soulié, C. (2008), Les ravages de la “modernisation” universitaire en Europe, Paris, Editions Syllepse.

Moscati R., Vaira M. (2008), L’università di fronte al cambiamento, Bologna, Il Mulino.

Ramella F. (2019), La terza missione degli accademici italiani, Bologna, Il Mulino.

Regini M., Trigilia C. (2019), Il contributo degli atenei italiani allo sviluppo regionale, Bologna, Il Mulino.

Trigilia C. (2007), La costruzione sociale dell’innovazione: economia, società e territorio, Firenze, Firenze University Press.


Giuseppe Monteduro1, Michele Bertani2, Sara Nanetti3, Davide Ruggieri4, Matteo Moscatelli3, Livia Petti1

1University of Molise, Italy; 2University of Verona; 3Catholic University of Milan; 4University of Bologna

The pandemic event has transversally affected all aspects of university students' lifes, with a primary impact on the educational sphere, mainly as a consequences of the quick switch from traditional to online learning; this new scenario affected other important students life’ dimensions (peer relationships, student-faculty relationships, etc).

The effects of these changes were investigated through a national online survey (from April to June 2020), to which over 14,000 students replied. The questionnaire dissemination has been supported by the Italian Council of University Students (Consiglio Nazionale degli Studenti Universitari – CNSU).

The survey investigated several thematic areas:

  • education
  • inequality
  • social capital
  • social well-being

The areas were questioned in relation to the structural elements according to the theoretical approach of relational sociology.

The main results of the survey present a student population significantly differentiated by socio-economic status, digital devices, social capital and social participation.

Several students define the University as a "place of life", in which two important dimensions are interconnected: the instrumental ones (university education) and the individual ones, referring to the opportunity to promote human capital, facilitate employability and improve quality of life and the fulfillment of dreams and aspirations. For other students, the university represents a weak place, almost a transit space: the sense of belonging is weak.

From the findings of the survey, through a synthetic index of social participation, the study’s experiences during the pandemic period has been profiled for students who have a high or low social capital. Data highlighted a clear trend: those who are included in large networks and have greater social participation, have perceived more the change imposed by the emergency and have also felt particularly penalized with respect to the online lectures. Starting from the analysis of the content of an open question of the survey asking what students lacked in university life in presence, we highlight the wishes that can serve as a guide for rethinking some methods of teaching by the point of students with different levels of social capital.

The results reveal a complex and diversified picture of the students’ life experience that connotes not only academic training but also their personal growth. Lastly, the university appears to be a place where students establish meaningful relationships both with colleagues and professors.

This research cleary describe an unexpected transition phase for Italian Universities and their students, focusing on the different aspects related to pre and post pandemic scenario, which helps to reconfigure the upcoming one, as well as showing how we are probably facing a new era for universities and students life.


Antonella Lotti


This paper tries to answer the following questions:

1. What does Faculty Development mean?

2. When and where did it start?

3. Is it better to have a university center or a committee ?

4. How does faculty training occur?

5. By what methods ?

6. On what topics?

7. Is it mandatory or voluntary in Europe?

8. Do research and teaching have the same dignity?

9. How many Italian universities have Faculty Development programs?

10. What are the steps for introducing Faculty Development in a university?

Starting from Bill McKeachie's definition of Faculty Development, which states that Faculty Development is a broad term covering a wide range of activities planned to improve student learning and to help university teachers improve their skills as teachers, the paper briefly describes the birth of the first centers dedicated to university teaching in North America in the 1950s and their spread all over the world.

The results of systematic reviews of the literature devoted to evaluating the effectiveness of Faculty Development are reported, as well as a presentation of the main approaches used to develop the teaching skills of university teachers according to a classificatory proposal published by Yvonne Steinert in 2010.

In Europe, the European Commission made sixteen recommendations in 2016 aimed at improving the teaching quality of tertiary education, and conferences of education ministers of European countries proposed reference standards in both the Yerevan conference in 2015 and the Paris Communiqué of 2018.

The European Universities Association (EUA) conducted the Effect research from which it emerges that the situation regarding Faculty Development in Europe is very varied, as some countries recognize the value of the teaching skills of university teachers for career advancement purposes and others make a teaching qualification mandatory in order to teach in university facilities. The experiences of the United Kingdom's Higher Education Academy and the Netherlands' UTQ (University Teaching Qualification) seem very interesting.

In Italy, a research conducted on all Italian public and private, traditional and telematic universities revealed that 50% of the universities were carrying out Faculty development activities in the first semester of 2019 (Lampugnani, 2020).

At the moment, there are many initiatives on the national territory.

With reference to the indications that emerged from the work of Silver of the University of Toronto, the result of a systematic review of the literature (Silver, 2014) we analyze the 16 recommendations to start a Faculty Develpoment program in individual universities.


Emanuela Dal Zotto, Valentina Fusari

Università degli Studi di Pavia

Since 2015, in many European countries, because of the so-called “European Refugee Crisis”, universities have started initiatives intended for asylum seekers and refugees. Such initiatives involve traditional academic activities, namely scientific research and training, but they also have original patterns, becoming an interceptor of specific social needs and advocating inclusive projects.

In this framework, since the academic year 2015-16, the University of Pavia has enrolled students holding international protection and has waived their tuition fees for the entire duration of their courses under the project “Diamo rifugio ai talenti”. Besides, the University has granted a range of other services, connecting, and resorting to both the academic community and the local resources. Thus, since its beginning, the project has offered a unique and concrete higher education opportunity to 20 refugee students. Furthermore, it aimed at building a model of inclusion based on two main pillars: the counter-narrative about forced migration, moving beyond stereotyped representations of refugee as victim or profiteer; and the fight against the dispersion of talents.

Many dropouts by beneficiary students characterised the first six years of this initiative. Likewise, those who graduated have encountered and overcome many difficulties. The students themselves, highlighting critical issues, have contributed to making the limits of the project visible. Indeed, initially it was conceived without the direct involvement of refugees nor based on comparison with all the other actors gradually involved and vital during the shaping and implementation of the inclusive process.

Yet, the very emergence of such limits has headed to activate networks and resources to cope with them, promoting problem solving solutions and providing original responses as per the project itself. In our opinion, the capitalisation and systemisation of these practices should be the basis to shape a model in which the University takes an active role, through its Third Mission, in the design and implementation of inclusive policies, just like the case of refugees’ inclusion.

Our paper focuses on the pioneering experience of the University of Pavia, namely “Diamo rifugio ai talenti”, to understand whether and to what extent higher education institutions, through their own resources and good practices, might contribute to co-design and implement inclusive policies for forced migrants through the active involvement of students (refugees and not), its staff (teaching and not), and of other actors who, at different level, play key roles in granting the process of refugees’ inclusion.


Antonino Sidoti

Centro di Solidarietà F.A. R.O. Messina, Italia

When two worlds meets, those of public and private social services relating to people, it creates a new reality, a new universe, which will involve and will change irrevocably. It is a pleasure to “feeling part” of a large community that shares the same “mission”: to contribute to the well-being of needy people.

It is the experience of the last three years of professional and human life that I have gained thanks to the participation in the "Teaching and Research Table" and the "Table of Professional Knowledge", at the Department of Cognitive, Psychological, Pedagogical and of the Cultural Studies of the University of Messina.

The experience of the “Table” has as its frame the resistances to be overcome, such as the prejudice relating to the Territorial Public Services, often bureaucratized and not very attentive to the needs of users; mistrust in institutions and awareness of the failure of social policies; the resignation that at times prevents you from believing in change and that your contribution can be important.

Starting from these considerations, the challenge arises which is also the research question: is it possible to contaminate knowledge to build a participatory and situated university teaching? Is it possible that the experience of the mixed group of social workers who belong to different worlds and services can convey a movement of change that becomes a virtuous circle between universities, didactics, operators and services? This is the challenge.

The methodology was participatory and active: focus-group work, in-depth couple interviews, brainstorming.

I work as a social worker, in a therapeutic community for addicts . By coordinating multidisciplinary teams, I am familiar with conflicts and when I could, I made them an opportunity for growth. I realized that conflicts often originate from the difficulty of looking at things from another perspective and from the false belief that we are better than others.

With amazement, in the “Table of Professional Knowledge”, I noticed how the resistance almost immediately gave space to the desire to participate. That table, around which no one was better than the others, offered me the opportunity to compare myself with other professionals, both of the Public and of the Social Private, who got involved, accepting them and being questioned, losing their own point of view, their own beliefs and trying to accept those of others.

Some significant elements in terms of research were:

The the table of Professional Knowledge, consisting of Sociologists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Professional Educators, has provided the basis for understanding how every social category stray from the “mission”: cause processes of emancipation. We need a vision that goes beyond the confines of professional figures;

The clarification of the need to try to disturb one's working environment, sometimes oppressive and hostile to changes, by bringing one's own experience;

The Table of Professional Knowledge has put into circulation new words that enclose content within themselves, maturing a new way of transmitting Knowledge that is no longer simple assumptions but, the result of a transformation, of an inevitable process of change.