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Revista Brasileira de Educação

versão impressa ISSN 1413-2478versão On-line ISSN 1809-449X

Rev. Bras. Educ. vol.21 no.66 Rio de Janeiro jul./set. 2016

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-24782016216634 

ARTICLES

Social responsibility of higher education: mapping and thematic tendencies of Brazilian scientific production (1990-2011)

ADOLFO IGNACIO CALDERÓN4  *

CLEBER FERNANDO GOMES5 

REGILSON MACIEL BORGES6 

4Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil

5Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

6Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

ABSTRACT

This article analyzes the scientific production regarding the social responsibility of higher education (RSES) from doctoral theses and dissertations defended in Brazil, from 1990 to 2011. Methodologically, it is a state-of-the-art bibliographic study. After the construction of the timeline of the scientific production, the prevalent areas of knowledge were identified, the geographic regions of origin and the institutional origin. Three topics were identified: university management, theoretical-conceptual aspects and normative and higher education. Among the studies produced in academic master's and doctoral degrees, it was found that the theme RSES is essentially multidisciplinary, challenging mostly the post graduate programs in management and in education, especially studies about university management, aiming not only at good performance in the educational market, but also the training for human development.

KEYWORDS: university; higher education; social responsibility of higher education

INTRODUCTION

Discussions about the necessity and relevance of the social responsibility of higher education gained prominence in Brazil in the first decade of this century, triggered by the approval of the National Higher Education Evaluation System, (SINAES) established by Law 10.861, of April 14, 2004 (Brasil, 2004).

The discussions stimulated by the approval of SINAES were strengthened by the results of the World Conference on Higher Education in 2009, promoted by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) and presented in the document "The New Dynamics of Higher Education and Research for Societal Change and Development" (UNESCO, 2009). The importance of the issue of the social responsibility of higher education was such that it became the first subtitle of the document, guiding the activities of U.N. members (Calderón, Pedro; Vargas, 2011).

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of the issue, there is a wide variety of understandings in Brazil about what the social responsibility of higher education entails.1 These understandings often intersect and complement each other, while at times they are dichotomous, The discussions about the social responsibility of higher education in the field of education are dominated by two paradigmatic visions that have distinct and antagonistic hues; the consensus paradigm and the conflict paradigm. While the consensus paradigm emphasizes the functioning, improvement and efficiency of education systems, the conflict paradigm emphasizes approaches that "undertake a radical critique of liberal pedagogical thinking "(Sander, 1984, p. 76).

According to the consensus paradigm, the social responsibility of higher education focuses on compliance with the mission of universities, through the implementation of the activities historically attributed to universities (teaching, research and university extension), in other words, the production, systematization and dissemination of knowledge. It would not be part of the mission of universities to assume responsibility for and make direct contributions to the solution of social problems such as inequality and social injustice, since, as stated by Durham (2005), these would be goals of the educational system as a whole and not an attribute of a particular university. A university would fulfill its social responsibility to the extent that it provides quality teaching, research and extension activities. This should be, the evaluative parameter.

According to the conflict paradigm, there is no disagreement with the theory that relates the social responsibility of higher education with the quality of teaching, research and extension, but the difference lies in prioritizing the explicit political and ideological decision to resist the advance of neoliberalism. In this perspective, the social responsibility of higher education represents the public function of higher education. Universities should not be limited to providing technical and professional training for companies. Their activities must have social relevance. From this perspective, Dias Sobrinho (2005, p. 171) points out that it is necessary to establish an ethics of social responsibility aimed at meeting the demands of populations, and "not legitimizing the mercantilization of neoliberal globalization."

As can be seen, if the consensus paradigm emphasizes social responsibility of higher education as the fulfillment of the historical university activities, sustained by what Santos (1995) refers to as the pillar of regulation, framed in what Weber (1970) calls the ethics of responsibility, for the conflict paradigm, the social responsibility of higher education is considered as a commitment to the socially excluded sectors, a vision based on the pillar of emancipation (Santos, 1995) and that Weber (1970) would call an ethics of conviction.

In Santos' view (1995), the emancipation paradigm would represent resistance to capitalist logic in the face of unfulfilled promises by modernity, which underlie the perpetuation of an exclusionary social system, which is marked by the overlapping of the pillar of regulation on the pillar of emancipation. In turn, in the Weberian approach, the ethics of conviction and the ethics of responsibility would imply irreconcilably different behaviors. In the ethics of conviction, the conduct of actors would be based on a concern for values and ultimate goals, without discussing their viability or measuring their consequences for the functioning of the system. In the ethics of responsibility, the actors have a concern for the consequences of their conduct, steering the functioning of society towards what is possible and feasible, and not towards ideal situations that are impossible to achieve in the short, medium or long terms.

This article is inserted in this theoretical framework and conducts a mapping of scientific production in Brazil from 1990 to 2011 as found in doctoral theses and master's dissertations defended on the subject of social responsibility of higher education and considering the dominant thematic trends.

In methodological terms, it is a bibliographic study, of the state of the art type (Ferreira, 2002), which focuses on the analysis of the scientific-academic production of a particular field of knowledge, to determine what is being produced by the scientific and academic community in a particular time and place. The mapping involved an exhaustive survey of the master's theses and doctoral dissertations produced in Brazil on the subject in focus. It analyzed the abstracts of the studies identified and, when necessary, studies in their entirety. As part of the mapping, a timeline of the scientific production is prepared, and charts and tables are used to quantitatively identify the fields of knowledge in which the studies are entered and the regions of the country where the scientific production is concentrated. We also identified the main thematic trends, and deepened this inquiry by using content analysis techniques.

THESES / DISSERTATIONS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE TIMELINE

To identify the number of doctoral thesis and master's dissertations a search was carried out in the data base of theses of the (CAPES) [The Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel] using the keyword "university social responsibility" as well as a crossing of this keyword with the terms higher education, and institutions of higher education. Only studies that specifically and not tangentially addressed the issue of social responsibility of higher education were selected.

At first, we found 423 theses of which 269 were discarded after the reading of their titles, leaving 154. We then analyzed each of the abstracts of these 154 articles and discarded 112 because they were not compatible with the purpose of this study or because the titles were not consistent with the theme. This left 42 articles as the basis for the study: four were doctoral theses and 38 master's dissertations.

Chart 1 displays the timeline of the scientific literature in question. Note that only theses and dissertations produced since the year 2001 were used. Since, then there was a variable number of papers defended about this issue until 2011. It is worth noting that we did not find any theses or dissertations from the 1990s.

Chart 1 Year of defense of the theses and/or dissertations produced on the theme of social responsibility of higher education 

Figure 1 reveals that in the years before the adoption of The National Higher Education Evaluation System (SINAES) two studies were produced addressing the social responsibility of higher education (Fragoso, 2001; Tanaka, 2003). In 2004, the year the SINAES evaluation system was enacted, two surveys were produced (Petrelli, 2004; Wrasse, 2004). These studies allow understanding the polarization in the theoretical reference framework of that time. While some studies relate the social responsibility of higher education to discussions on corporate social responsibility, which was in vogue at the time (Tanaka, 2003; Wrasse, 2004) others associate the social responsibility of higher education to discussions about the social function of the university in the context of the academic activities of teaching, research and extension, with an obvious option for socially oriented programs (Fragoso, 2001; Petrelli, 2004).

From 2005 to 2007, nine theses and dissertations were defended, with the amount nearly doubling in the period between 2008 and 2009, when 15 studies were defended. The number of studies peaked in 2009 with 12, before a sharp drop in 2010 to eight studies and six in 2011,. The reduction in the number of studies is probably linked to the fact that the issue of the social responsibility of higher education lost the prominence that it had under the National Higher Education Evaluation System (SINAES) during the first term of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2006).

Table 1 shows the distribution of the 42 theses and dissertations selected on social responsibility of higher education. It indicates that most of the studies were conducted in academic master's programs, which accounted for 52.4%, (Abreu, 2009; Felden, 2007; Fonseca, 2011; Fragoso, 2001; Galvão, 2009; Gomes, 2005; Lohn, 2009; Melo, 2011; Moreno, 2011; Paula, 2010; Petrelli, 2004; Santos, 2006; Silva, 2007; Silva, 2008; Silva Junior, 2008; Silva, A. K. L., 2010; Souza, 2010; Stadler, 2007; Tanaka, 2003; Vesce Neto, 2007; Vieira, 2006; Wrasse, 2004) followed by professional master's programs, with 38.1%, (Águia, 2007; Barros, 2009; Cordeiro, 2009; Cruz, 2008; Cunha, 2011; Goiana, 2010; Malafaia, 2009; Miranda, 2008; Oliveira, 2009; Oliveira, 2010; Reis, 2007; Ribeiro, 2008; Silva, 2009; Souza, 2009; Silva, V. A., 2010; Silva, 2011) and PhDs (Machado Júnior, 2009; Nogueira, 2010; Pinto, 2009; Rosetto, 2011) with 9.5%.

Table 1 Theses or dissertations defended in Brazilian graduate programs stricto sensu on the subject social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by type of program. 

Level Numbers of theses/dissertations %
Total 42 100
Academic Master's 22 52,4
Professional Master's 16 38,1
PhDs 04 9,5

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

Considering all the studies at the master's and PhD levels, 61.9% of the studies were conducted in graduate programs focused on the training of researchers for the production of scientific knowledge. The fact that nearly 40% of the studies were conducted in professional master's reveals that the subject of social responsibility of higher education is also a concern in those programs dedicated to a high level of professional qualification, as called for by CAPES norms for this type of master's program.

Using as a reference the 48 fields of study defined by CAPES in the Evaluation of Brazil's National System of Graduate Studies,2 Table 2 indicates that the theses and dissertations are concentrated in six fields, with a predominance in three of them: interdisciplinary programs, which accounted for 16 papers; administration, accounting and tourism, with 15 papers; and education, with seven papers. There were a total of four papers in the fields of engineering, law and medicine.

Table 2 Theses and dissertations defended in Brazilian graduate programs stricto sensu about social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by areas 

Areas Number of Theses/dissertations %
Total 42 100
Interdisciplinary 16 381
Administration, Accounting and Tourism 15 35.7
Education 7 16.6
Engineering III 2 4.8
Law 1 2.4
Medicine III 1 2.4

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

Table 2 highlights that the interdisciplinary programs, which involve courses in areas considered innovative and interdisciplinary, produced the most studies on social responsibility of higher education. This rather peculiar data needs to be better understood. According to Table 3, of the 16 papers from interdisciplinary programs, 75%, or 12, were produced in professional master's courses, which are dedicated to providing a high level of professional qualification and not specifically to the deepening of scientific knowledge. In addition to the predominance of studies from professional master's courses, of the 16 papers from interdisciplinary programs, 12 or 75%, were conducted in private institutions1. This data is complemented by other information: of these 16 papers, 11, approximately 70%, were produced at a single institution: the professional master's program in human development and social responsibility of the Visconde de Cairu Foundation (FAVIC).

Table 3 Theses and dissertations defended in Brazil in professional master's programs about social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by evaluation areas: 

Field Number of Theses/dissertations %
Total 16 100
Interdisciplinary 12 75,0
Administration 3 18,7
Engineering III 1 6,3

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

Based on this information, it can be hypothesized that if not for these 11 studies, there would be only five studies produced in interdisciplinary programs, and they would occupy third place in Table 2, after the field of education. This is the position of education programs among the studies conducted in academic master's courses and PhDs, as indicated in Table 4.

Table 4 Theses and or dissertations defended in Brazil in academic master's and PhD programs on social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by fields: 

Field Numbers of Theses/dissertations %
Total 26 100
Administration 14 54.0
Education 7 27.0
Interdisciplinary 2 7.6
Law 1 3.8
Engineering 1 3.8
Medicine 1 3.8

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

Regarding the production of the studies that came from graduate programs dedicated to educating researchers, which focus on the deepening and expansion of scientific knowledge, encompassed in the academic master's and doctoral courses, Table 4 reveals that the theme of social responsibility of higher education is essentially multidisciplinary. While according to common sense this would be a subject for the educational field, the research shows that there are many fields of knowledge that are concerned with this issue, and most of them are in graduate programs in administration, stricto sensu, 54.0%, and not in the field of education, which accounts for 27% of all the studies.

Table 4 also indicates that the remaining studies are distributed in various fields of knowledge; 7.6% in stricto sensu graduate programs, which CAPES identifies as interdisciplinary, and 11.4% were produced by students in graduate schools of law, engineering and medicine.

Another relevant data on the topic of social responsibility of higher education is observed in Table 5, which shows the theses dissertations on the social responsibility of higher education according to the region of Brazil in which they were produced. It indicates that that the Northeast had the most studies, with 43.0% of the total, followed by the South and Southeast regions, with 28.5% each. There were no theses or dissertations defended on this issue in the North and Midwest regions.

Table 5 Doctoral dissertations and master's theses defended in Brazil on the social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011) by region. 

Region State Higher Education Institution Initials Number of studies per school Total by region %
Total 42 42 100
Northeast Bahia Fundação Visconde de Cairu FAVIC 11
Universidade Federal da Bahia UFBA 01
Ceará Universidade Federal do Ceará UFC 01 18 43,0
Universidade de Fortaleza UNIFOR 02
Pernambuco Universidade de Pernambuco UPE 02
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco UFPE 01
South Paraná Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná PUC-PR 01
Universidade Federal do Paraná UFPR 01
Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná UTP 01
Santa Catarina Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina UFSC 02
Universidade Regional de Blumenau FURB 03
Universidade do Vale do Itajaí UNIVALI 01 12 28,5
Rio Grande do Sul Universidade Regional do Noroeste do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul UNIJUÍ 02
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul PUC-RS 01
Southeast São Paulo Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo FCMSC-SP 01
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas PUC- -Campinas 01
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo PUC-SP 02
Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba UNIMEP 02
Universidade Nove de Julho UNINOVE 01 12 28,5
Universidade de São Paulo USP 01
Centro Universitário de Franca Uni-FACEF 01
Rio de Janeiro Universidade Federal Fluminense UFF 02
Universidade Estácio de Sá UNESA 01

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

Table 5 also shows that most of the studies in the Northeast region are concentrated in Bahia State, particularly at the FAVIC, which accounted for 11 dissertations(Cordeiro, 2009; Cruz, 2008; Goiana, 2010; Malafaia, 2009; Miranda, 2008; Oliveira, 2009; Oliveira, 2010; Reis, 2007; Ribeiro, 2008; Silva, V. A., 2010 e Souza, 2009).

In addition to FAVIC, there was one study about the issue from the Federal University at Bahia (UFBA) (Nogueira, 2010). Universities in neighboring states also produced research on the subject; Ceará had three dissertations, with two from the University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR) (Abreu, 2009; Vieira, 2006) and one from the Federal University at Ceará (UFC) (Barros, 2009). Three dissertations were defended in Pernambuco, two at the Foundation University of Pernambuco (UPE) (Cunha, 2011; Silva, 2009) and another at the Federal University at Pernambuco (UFPE) (Paula, 2010).

The South and Southeastern regions each accounted for 28.5%, of all the studies. Three dissertations were produced in Paraná State, one each at the Federal University at Paraná (UFPR) (Santos, 2006), the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUC-PR) (Vesce Neto, 2007) and University Tuiuti of Paraná (UTP) (Silva, 2008). Six dissertations were produced in Santa Catarina state, three at the Regional University of Blumenau (FURB) (Melo, 2011; Silva, A. K. L., 2010a; Wrasse, 2004), two at the Federal University at Santa Catarina (UFSC) (Lohn, 2009; Petrelli, 2004) and one at the University of the Itajaí Valley (UNIVALI) (Stadler, 2007). In Rio Grande do Sul State three studies were produced: two at the University of Northwest Rio Grande do Sul (UNIJUÍ) (Felden, 2007; Souza, 2010) and one at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUC-RS) (Pinto, 2009).

Twelve studies were produced in the Southeastern region; nine in São Paulo, two at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) (Gomes, 2005; Rosetto, 2011), two at Methodist University (UNIMEP) (Machado Júnior, 2009; Moreno, 2011), and one each at the University of São Paulo (USP) (Tanaka, 2003), the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas (PUC-Campinas) (Silva, 2007), the Medical Sciences College of Santa Casa de São Paulo (FCMF-SP) (Silva Júnior, 2008), Nove de Julho University (UNINOVE) (Galvão, 2009) and the University Center of Franca (Uni-FACEF) (Fonseca, 2011). Three dissertations were produced in Rio de Janeiro, two at the Federal University Fluminense (UFF) (Fragoso, 2001; Silva, 2011) and one at Estácio de Sá University (UNESA) (Águia, 2007).

Far from the official data from CAPES (Brasil, 2016) which, as shown in Table 6, indicate that the Southeast region of the country is the largest producer of all scientific knowledge in Brazil, with 45,1% of all studies, and the Northeast is in third place, with 20,1%, the survey in table 5 demonstrates a sui generis reality: the Northeast produced more articles than the Southeast about social responsibility of higher education, with 43% and 28.5% of the total respectively.

Table 6 Theses and dissertations in Brazil. Distribution by region. 

Region Graduate Programs and Courses
Master's Doctorate Professional Masters Master's and doctorate Total %
Southeast 391 39 360 1102 1892 45,1
South 288 9 150 444 891 21,2
Northeast 382 15 131 318 846 20,1
Midwest 135 9 47 149 340 8,2
North 103 4 42 75 224 5,4
Brazil 1299 76 730 2088 4193 100

Source: CAPES 2016 – Updated: 20 May 2016.

Table 7 indicates that non-profit private institutions stand out as privileged centers of production of studies about social responsibility of higher education, with 62.0% of the studies. State institutions account for 33.3% of the theses and dissertations. Private for-profit institutes of higher education account for only 4.7%. The data help to determine the importance of the not-for-profit schools, compared with the private for-profit sector, in the theme in question.

Table 7 Doctoral dissertations and master's theses in Brazil about social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by type of institution of higher education. 

Type of Institution Number of Theses/dissertations %
Private not-for-profit 26 62
State 14 33.3
Private for-profit 02 4.7
42 100

Source: Data collected from studies found in CAPES thesis database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

The data on the scientific production about social responsibility of higher education present a discrepancy with the reality of the national scientific production, considering that 81.2% of all scientific production in Brazil is concentrated in state schools, and only 18.8% in private schools (Brasil, 2010). This is quite distinct from what was found in this study,, considering that 66.7% of scientific production about the issue treated here was produced by the private sector (for - or not-for-profit), as shown in Table 8.

Table 8 Doctoral dissertations and master's theses in Brazil about social responsibility of higher education (1990-2011). Distribution by region and legal nature of the institutions of higher education. 

Type of School School State Numbersof Theses/dissertations Total %
Total 42 42 100
Private not-for-profit FAVIC BA 11
UNIFOR CE 02
Uni-FACEF SP 01
FCMSC-SP SP 01
PUC-Campinas SP 01
PUC-PR PR 01 26 62
PUC-RS RS 01
PUC-SP SP 02
UNIMEP SP 02
UNINOVE SP 01
UNIJUÍ RS 02
UNIVALI SC 01
Public – Federal UFSC SC 02
UFC CE 01
UFF RJ 01 7 16,7
UFPR PR 01
UFBA BA 01
UFPE PE 01
Public – State UPE PE 02
USP SP 01 3 7,1
Public-Municipal FURB SC 03
Uni-FACEF SP 01 4 9,5
Private for-profit UNESA RJ 01
UTP PR 01 2 4,7

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

In Table 8, we can see that FAVIC, a private not-for-profit private sector organization, is the largest producer of theses and or dissertations, with a total of 11 studies, followed by FURB, which is a municipal university, which had three studies. There are six universities that produced two papers each, four private not-for-profits (UNIFOR, PUC-SP, UNIMEP and UNIJUÍ), one federal (UFSC) and one state (UPE). In addition, there are 16 that produced a single study each.

THEMES OF THE DISSERTATIONS AND THESES

According to Table 9, three major themes were identified, 54.8% of the studies addressed the social responsibility of higher education in the field of university management practices. The remaining 45.2% are evenly distributed between two themes: theoretical-conceptual and normative aspects focusing on the private sector with 23.8%, and 21.4% addressing social responsibility and university education.

Table 9 List of themes in the theses and dissertations about social responsibility of higher education. 

Theme Number of Theses/dissertations %
Social responsibility and university administration 23 54,8
Theoretical-conceptual and normative aspects with a predominant focus on the private sector 10 23,8
Social responsibility and university education 09 21,4
Total 42 100

Source: Data collected from studies found in the CAPES theses database (1990-2011).Prepared by the authors.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION

This thematic area contains 23 theses and dissertations, but we located only 16 of them for analysis (Abreu, 2010; Águia, 2007; Cunha, 2011; Felden, 2007; Gomes, 2005; Lohn, 2009; Oliveira, 2009; Paula, 2010; Petrelli, 2004; Pinto, 2009; Reis, 2007; Silva, 2009; Souza, 2009; Stadler, 2007; Vieira, 2006; Wrasse, 2004).The 16 studies analyzed have the same theoretical framework, which has two dimensions. There is a utopian dimension that links the social responsibility of higher education to the need for university administrations to contribute to human development (Silva, 2009), by educating college students. They also have a pragmatic dimension in which the social responsibility of higher education assumes a market connotation, involving administrative actions and tools to leverage the business of the institution of higher education (Wrasse, 2004). In the first case, it is a perspective that points to the development of human values, in which "the university is a space for the irradiation of citizenship values" (Calderón; Pedro; Vargas, 2011, p. 1.188). The second emphasizes business strategies in university administration, such as "institutional governance; instruments of strategic management such as reporting on social actions, marketing strategies, organizational image, sustainable management and evaluation and quality indicators " (idem, p. 1.187-1.188).

a) University Management and Human Education

Vieira (2006) addresses the social responsibility of public and private schools in Salvador (Bahia), studying the concept of the social responsibility of higher education understood by administrators at six institutions of higher education. The research shows that the concept of social responsibility of higher education points to the strengthening of human values, contributing to promoting social awareness of students on social issues. The social responsibility of higher education is linked to understanding the problems of society and the search for solutions that can change the lives of communities (idem). For this, institutions of higher education have the social duty to prepare ethical citizens who perform their role with responsibility, solidarity and competence. The study by Silva (2009) also reinforces the idea that higher education institutions are educational enterprises whose mission is to educate and train professionals needed for the country's development. The author emphasizes the close link between the social responsibility of higher education and the permanent commitment to quality education, specifically through the preparation of ethical professionals committed to citizenship enhancement projects. By the same token, Cunha (2011) analyzes how an institution of higher education in the interior of Pernambuco state has contributed to the education of its students regarding social responsibility and sustainable development. The author concludes that the educational policies adopted by the institution have enabled preparing citizens who are more aware of their role in society.

Regarding community colleges, Souza (2010) examines the perception of a group of administrators from two universities in Rio Grande do Sul state, private and not-for-profit, on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of these organizations - the Integrated Regional University of Upper Uruguay and Missions (URI) and UNIJUÍ. For most of the administrators interviewed, the social actions undertaken by the institutions are part of their mission, and were realized before the issue gained attention in the media. Nevertheless, for this author, community colleges can attain socially responsible organization that results in the valorization of the institution and allows adding value to its products. Within a different focus regarding the relation between the university and the educational market, Oliveira (2009), upon studying the social responsibility practices of a school in Bahia, addresses the social responsibility of higher education as a social duty that is not connected to market activity, but to projects for improving life and human development. In this study, the author refers to the importance that higher education institutions have in the formation of competent and ethical professionals engaged in law enforcement, the collective well-being, and in social programs dedicated to quality of life.

b) University management and performance in the educational market

The survey conducted demonstrates that this second dimension wound up overlapping the first, understanding the actions of social responsibility from a perspective similar to that found in the corporate world, that is, social and environmental projects that can secure competitive advantage for higher education organizations helping to create a good corporate image (Stadler, 2007).

In this perspective, according to Petrelli (2004), universities contribute to the development of society, and should therefore discuss the social importance of their projects, giving potential to the actions of educators that are made concrete in programs involving both the internal and the external publics.

The studies analyzed reveal a concern for developing social projects focused on human well-being and environmental responsibility. Thus, concern for social marketing to the community is emphasized, to present the distinctions of socially responsible universities.

By studying their communication with internal and external publics, Gomes (2005) questions the importance that the dissemination of social responsibility actions have for the schools. Based on interviews with stakeholders3 of the Planalto de Araxá University Center (UNIARAXÁ), a private not-for-profit institution in Minas Gerais he addresses openness to and promotion of actions through social reports, based on the principal that one of the pillars of social responsibility is the transparency of actions. Gomes' research (item) is in keeping with studies by Águia (2007), which point to the publication of social reports as a way to show society an organization's commitments to social responsibility. We also considered the studies of Reis (2007) and Felden (2007), authors who see social reports as practices of transparency, related to the internal and external administration of social actions undertaken by institutions of higher education.

Upon studying the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), a community institution in Rio Grande do Sul, Pinto (2009) concluded that it is a socially responsible institution, because it contributes to sustainable development through projects that focus on stakeholders, that is, on multiple partners, from the internal and external publics. In a study of the various publics of institutions of higher education, Souza's study (2009) stands out because upon analyzing a private school called Alpha, located in Salvador, Bahia State, he affirms that its institutional policies should prioritize the internal public, since its main commitment is to the transmission of culture and the human development of its own students.

The concern for stakeholders, applying concepts of corporate social responsibility to university administration, is evident in the study by Abreu (2009), which discusses the practices used at UNIFOR University. Abreu affirms that promoting social responsibility actions has been one of the alternatives found by institutions of higher education to stand out among their many competitors. The author believes that these schools are companies that need to position themselves in the market, because with the expansion of Brazil's educational market, they must be aware of the competition and concerned about their commercial soundness.

The concern for institutional planning to improve performance is evident in Águia's research (2007), which studied the degree of perception of the people interviewed about the social responsibility actions of a particular university, by applying the fuzzy4 model of capturing linguistic information to convert it into numeric data. According to Águia (idem, p. 113) the fuzzy model helps to conduct a self-assessment that will help in the planning and development of innovative actions applicable to institutions that aim to improve their operations. Also from the perspective of improving institutional performance, Wrasse (2004) investigated how social responsibility is worked with at seven private universities in western Parana State. The study found that the concept of social responsibility is associated with ways of improving the quality of life of the community in the neighborhood of the university, helping to retain customers and strengthen the name of the institution.

The use of organizational communication tools for building socially responsible educational institutions was Paula's object of study (2010), which used as references three schools in Pernambuco State. According to the author, by using communication tools, the schools seek to spread and disseminate information that contribute to the creation and strengthening of their organizational image with an emphasis on the identification of extension activities as the social responsibility of higher education.

The link between social responsibility and corporate image is also addressed in Stadler's research (2007), which studied the impact of the social responsibility of higher education on the corporate image of a private institution in Curitiba, in Paraná, based on the premise that the use of corporate social responsibility, as "an instrument for strengthening a brand in relation to the stakeholders of the educational institution, allows it to compete with other competitors with advantages" (idem, p. 15).

Within the business strategies of institutions of higher education, Lohn (2009), argues that the social responsibility of the schools should not be limited to the timely payment of employees, but should involve actions or social projects that contribute to the sustainable development of society as a whole. In the same perspective as Stadler (2007) and Wrasse (2004), Lohn (2009) is concerned with investigating and finding out how social programs can help strengthen a company's image, increase profits and add value.

A concern for the evaluation of the social responsibility practices of an institution of higher education can be found in a case study conducted by Felden (2007), which evaluated the levels of social responsibility of UNIJUÍ, based on a business model of evaluation. There was a concern for evaluating how the concept of social responsibility could contribute to the quality and construction of knowledge, research and extension, and allow the implementation of social projects in the region where the school is located, to help regional development.

The inclusion of the social responsibility of higher education as a topic of evaluation of the school as part of the National Higher Education Evaluation System (SINAES) as well as the perception of the administrators about the concept of social responsibility of higher education, was a source of scientific curiosity of Reis (2007) who studied how the schools understand the concept of social responsibility using as a reference four institutions in Salvador, Bahia, demonstrating that the social responsibility actions of public institutions of higher education are more frequent and broad, while private schools do not invest much in these actions.

NORMATIVE AND CONCEPTUAL ASPECTS WITH A PREDOMINANT FOCUS ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR

This thematic area includes a total of 10 theses and dissertations, seven of which formed the basis for the analysis (Melo, 2011; Moreno, 2011; Rosetto, 2011; Santos, 2006; Silva, 2008; Silva, A. K. L., 2010; Silva, 2011). The studies in this thematic area were grouped into three subthemes: a) the social responsibility of higher education in the context of SINAES, b) social responsibility in private sector schools, and c) social responsibility and university extension.

a) The social responsibility of higher education in the context of SINAES

Two authors conducted research focusing on the assessment of higher education. Santos (2006) studied current regulations governing higher education, and affirmed that private institutions should be monitored by government to improve compliance with their functions. Meanwhile, Silva (2008), addressing legal aspects involving social responsibility practices, contextualizing them historically considering the relationship of the state with civil society, and highlighting the third sector, emphasized the importance of quality and of institutional evaluations for transforming society. Finally, Rosetto (2011) investigated the representations of leaders of Brazilian higher education on the issue of social responsibility. This study focuses on the lack of precision, in conceptual terms, of the SINAES law, about what in fact is the social responsibility of higher education. It found that this creates a theoretical-conceptual and practical confusion for schools, triggering an immediate relation with the implementation of social projects, similar to the prevailing trend in the business world. However, despite this reality, one of the positive aspects of SINAES, according to the author, was to provide schools an opportunity to reflect on their own actions.

b) The social responsibility of higher education in the private sector

Two studies address social responsibility actions in private sector schools in the South of Brazil, based on the SINAES guidelines. Silva (A. K. L., 2010) studied the reality of five private universities in Paraná, four for-profit institutions; the University of Northern Paraná (UNOPAR), Paranaense University (UNIPAR), Positivo University (UP) and the University of Tuiuti of Paraná (UTP); and one not-for-profit institution, Pontific University Catolic of Paraná (PUC-PR). The author points out that in the schools studied, social responsibility actions are conducted, but are still far from consolidated. The study identified efforts by administrators to promote social responsibility projects and actions that involve various stakeholders. Some have been effective, others were still at an early stage. It is apparent that most of the activities involve students and teachers, which suggests that these are the main stakeholders in the opinion of the administrators (Silva, A. K. L., 2010). Quite similarly, Melo (2011) analyzed social responsibility at four schools in the Upper Itajaí Valley, Santa Catarina; three private for-profit institutions, the University Center Leonardo Da Vinci (UNIASSELVI), the SENAI Colleges and the Ação College; and one private not-for--profit institution, the University Center for the Development of the Upper Itajaí Valley (UNIDAVI). The results of the study show that the schools in the Upper Itajaí Valley do not have a clear understanding of the social responsibility of higher education. It found a lack of interest in discussing and making a commitment to the cause of social responsibility. The author proposed triggering discussions about the need to implement social responsibility programs at the schools in the Upper Itajaí Valley.

c) The social responsibility of higher education and university extension

Regarding the social function of instituitions of higher education and the link between university extension and social responsibility, Moreno (2011) analyzed the university extension networks in the context of an undergraduate course in administration in the interior of São Paulo State. The research findings show that the inclusion of students in extension practices can promote the development of skills and abilities required of a professional in administration, and add value to the formation of this professional, in terms of citizen praxis.

Silva's study (2011) also emphasizes the importance of university extension to the fulfillment of social responsibility. The author surveys impacts and developments in the formation of the students who participate in the social responsibility actions conducted at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF). The study found significant changes in the students after their participation in extension projects, since these practices put them in direct contact with social and environmental issues, providing them access to an education based on the construction of ethics and citizenship, transcending a technical-scientific education.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION

Nine studies considered the relationship between social responsibility and university education, reinforcing theories of several authors, such as Schwartzman (2005), for whom the social responsibility of higher education is focused on contributing to the education of people who are aware of their role in society, who can overcome the barriers of stagnation, and steer their creative actions to transform reality. Of the nine studies in this thematic area, only seven were located, and these served as the basis for this analysis (Barros, 2009; Fonseca, 2011; Galvão, 2009; Malafaia, 2009; Silva, 2007; Silva Júnior, 2008; Vesce Neto, 2007). The studies were divided into three subareas: a) education of students in healthcare courses, b) education of students in the field of administration, and c) education of students through internship activities.

a) The university education of health care students

Regarding health care courses, three empirical studies analyzed how university extension experiences can fulfill the social responsibility of higher education, addressing three issues:

  1. extension activities as an exercise of social responsibility in physiotherapy courses in Salvador, Bahia, and their impacts on the education of physiotherapists (Malafaia, 2009);

  2. social responsibility actions conducted by the medical school of the UFC - Campus Sobral (Barros, 2009);

  3. "social hazing" at the medical school of FCMSC-SP as a university reception ritual and its influence on involvement in social work during undergraduate studies (Silva Jr., 2008).

These studies specific to the field of healthcare have as a common element the fact that they consider university extension as a way to achieve the social responsibility of higher education, in two dimensions. One is by meeting needs of the community where the university is inserted (Barros, 2009), and the other through the training of future professionals (Malafaia, 2009; Silva Júnior, 2008).

The study by Barros (2009) emphatically affirms that social responsibility is a means to find solutions to community social problems. It stresses the importance that medical schools provide opportunities to develop a social commitment to social action within the reality where they are located. Complementary to this view, Silva Junior (2008) analyzes the use of social activities for motivating medical students. When analyzing an extension experiment called "social hazing," Silva Junior (idem) shows that students in this program developed communication skills, empathy, flexibility, and heightened human values of responsibility, humility and cooperation. From the same perspective as Silva Junior (idem), the study of Malafaia (2009) also considers that university extension is essential for the formation of physiotherapists, since it allows developing awareness about the social duties that future physiotherapists will have in society, ensuring a positive relationship with the population, since the focus is on community health.

b) The university education of students in the field of administration

With respect to courses in the field of administration, the authors seek to understand how they are organized for educating future professionals who will act as managers of business organizations and communications companies. We found three studies that emphasized: a) how to conciliate a humanistic and ethical formation with a professional education in the field of marketing and advertising (Silva, 2007); b) how social responsibility is worked with in the education of business administrators (Vesce Neto, 2007); and c) what is the model of education and interaction with the labor market for foreign trade "technicians" at UNINOVE (Galvão, 2009).

Based on the relationship between higher education and the labor market, Galvão (idem), discusses where future technicians will work and if the market needs are being met by the training received by the students. In this context, according to the author, the concept of social responsibility came to be understood by the university as a market strategy that aims to offer courses at popular prices to serve various social classes, and to conduct projects to improve the living conditions of the community and the environment.

The study by Vesce Neto (2007) focuses on how social responsibility is worked with in the education of business administrators, noting that social responsibility can also be a competitive advantage. Upon interviewing students in the school of business administration, it concluded that they understand social responsibility to have a dual meaning: as a marketing tool and as social action aimed at building a more just and humane society.

From this perspective of building a more caring and humane society, focusing on ethics in the profession, in the labor market and in human relationships, Silva (2007) discusses issues relating to the education of people to work in the advertising industry. The study emphasizes that future advertisers should try to develop good relations with society, tolerance for diversity and respect for all human beings.

c) Education through internships

Regarding internships as instruments for social transformation, Fonseca (2011), studied the views of the interns and coordinators of Uni-FACEF courses about the activities of professional internships and their community implications. The statements from the university students collected by the author indicate that the internship led them to be more responsible in their tasks and obligations, better organized and helped them learn how to plan their activities, to act focused on teamwork, listen more effectively and express their ideas at the most appropriate time. For this author, the internship activities also fulfilled another important role, which is to influence the civic, ethical and moral education of the interns. In addition to the contributions to the students' education, the internships tend, according to Fonseca (idem), to produce goods or services that are absorbed by society or by companies and can help to meet the basic needs of people, generating more well-being and better quality of life for the community.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The survey conducted allows concluding that in Brazil, the social responsibility of higher education is a theme that has generated a theoretical concern among researchers from various fields of knowledge, especially since 2004, with the approval and implementation of National Higher Education Evaluation System.

In addition to the analysis and classification of the specificities of the academic literature on the subject of social responsibility of higher education, three main themes were addressed: social responsibility and university administration; theoretical-conceptual and normative aspects with a predominant focus on the private sector and social responsibility and university education. In addition, data indicating that the distribution of the schools that were the sources of the studies break with trends common to academic production in Brazil.

First, it was found that 40% of the studies were produced in professional master's programs, revealing the importance of this graduate modality in the production of knowledge, regardless of the fact that these schools focus on instrumental knowledge geared to professional improvement. The study of the social responsibility of higher education has become a theoretical and practical concern with two dimensions, whether in terms of the production of scientific knowledge itself, through academic master's and doctoral programs, or in terms of the improvement of professional practice, the focus of professional master's programs.

Second, studies on the social responsibility of higher education are concentrated in the Brazilian Northeast, which is in contrast with official data that show the Southeastern region of Brazil as the largest source of scientific production in the country. The hypothesis is raised that the higher number of studies in the Northeast region may be related to the need to build universities more open to the needs of the socio-economically more vulnerable regions of the country.

Third, 66.7% of the scientific production was produced in private sector institutions, especially in not-for-profit schools, completely contrary to the national trend that shows that 81.2% of Brazilian scientific production is concentrated in public institutions of higher education. This signals the growing importance of the private sector, especially non-profit institutions, in the production of knowledge at the graduate level.

Fourth, with reference to the production at academic master's and PhD programs, more studies of the social responsibility of higher education were found in graduate programs stricto sensu in administration than in education as would be expected for this theme, given that it has greater affinity with the field of educational sciences. Why has the academic and scientific community in the field of education not excelled in the production of knowledge on the subject of social responsibility of higher education? One hypothesis we can raise is the existing resistance to the issue, even in the early 2000s, because it rose in the business sector, involving private for-profit universities (Calderón, 2005), often considered mercantile universities (Calderón, 2000) that introduced neoliberal values to higher education (Calderón, 2006). The predominant theoretical framework, anchored in the so-called paradigm of emancipatory evaluation (Calderon; Borges, 2013), is strongly critical of neoliberal policies (Dias Sobrinho, 2005, 2014) and of the incorporation of "technical" perspectives (Saviani, 1987) or neotechnical perspectives (Freitas, 2012) in the educational field.

Finally, there is another possible explanation: the demands for efficient administration generate studies primarily within the field of administration, with the private schools being spaces with greater theoretical flexibility to conduct studies that escape the hegemonic paradigm, especially in graduate education studies in Brazil, which relate the social responsibility of higher education with the quality of teaching, but with an explicit political and ideological choice of resistance to the advance of neoliberalism (Dias Sobrinho, 2014) a fact that would impede the realization of studies within a functional approach to the system.

1Studies point to the predominance of six approaches: the social responsibility of higher education as university tradition; as market trend; as state regulation; as organizational management strategy; as values for human development; and as socially oriented extension projects (Calderón, Pedro; Vargas, 2011).

2In this study we chose to adopt the CAPES specification that identifies 48 scientific fields aggregated into three major groupings (the life sciences; physical sciences, technology and multidisciplinary, and the humanities) and nine major areas: three in the life sciences (agricultural sciences, biological sciences and health sciences), three in physical sciences, technology and multidisciplinary (physical and earth sciences, engineering, and multidisciplinary) and three in the humanities (human sciences, applied social sciences, and linguistics, languages and arts). Available at: <http://www.capes.gov.br/avaliacao/sobre-as-areas-de-avaliacao>. Accessed on 28 March 2016.

3According to Lyra, Gomes and Jacovine (2009, p.41), a "stakeholder in an organization is, by definition, any group or individual who can affect or be affected by the achievement of the objectives of this company", this includes those individuals, groups and other organizations that have an interest in the actions of a company and have the ability to influence it.

4According to Águia (2007, p. 13), the principles of the theory of fuzzy sets, "is a tool capable of translating, vague, imprecise and qualitative verbal expressions, in a quantitative form, allowing the representation of subjective knowledge in measurable amounts, enabling decision-making strategies, which made it suitable for achieving the intended results in this study".

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Adolfo Ignacio Calderón has a doctorate in social sciences from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). He is a professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas (PUC-Campinas).

E-mail: adolfo.ignacio@puc-campinas.edu.br

Cleber Fernando Gomes is master's degree student in art history at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP).

E-mail: clebergom@hotmail.com

Regilson Maciel Borges is a doctoral candidate in education at the Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar).

E-mail: regilsonborges@gmail.com

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