The 3 vectors of the mission of a university, teaching, research and interaction with society, constitute the central axis of university social responsibility. Within the scope of these vectors, the Universidade Portucalense assumes a commitment in the dimension of social responsibility (SR), integrating social and environmental concerns in its activities and in the interaction with all groups of interest (stakeholders), with the objective of contributing to a dynamic, responsible and fairer society and a sustainable environment.
The first formalisation of this UPT commitment occurred in 2011, when UPT Social was created. UPT Social was a functional unit of the University where all members – faculty, students and non-teaching staff – were integrated. UPT Social brought together the voluntary groups that already existed at the UPT and aimed to generalize the practice of Social Responsibility to the whole University in a concerted and coherent way.
The constant challenges that university education institutions have been facing led to the UPT Social being rethought, giving rise to the RES-UPT, an organisational structure for the coordination and implementation of social responsibility policies, strategies and actions.
UPT understands that in this framework systematic efforts are needed to build an organisational culture that makes it possible to integrate the social responsibility approach in all its organisational dimensions and activities. This culture implies a commitment at management level (Rectory and Board of Directors of the Institution) to continuously improve its social mission in all vectors.
In this context, the SR at UPT is governed by the following principles: Ethical conduct, Respect for human rights, Transparency, Inclusion, Accountability for environmental sustainability involving all stakeholders.
These core activities are underpinned by the values and principles of social responsibility. To this end UPT:
- Guarantees academic freedom to its teachers, researchers and students;
- Prepares students for the full exercise of citizenship, fostering practices and activities conducive to an active citizenship and solidarity;
- Expands and diversifies access to education to achieve lifelong learning;
- Ensures conditions for the production and dissemination of socially relevant knowledge, resulting from the teaching and research activities it promotes;
- Develops practices of access to information in a transparent and open way, also providing open access to research results;
- Promotes student-centred teaching, facilitating student learning through assessment and timely feedback;
- Promotes international collaboration and supports the international mobility of the academic community (students, teaching and non-teaching staff);
- Defines and adopts codes of ethics for research and teaching;
- Instructs normative and diligent practices to combat academic fraud;
- Promotes dialogue between the scientific community and the external community in order to create synergies for the resolution of local and regional problems, with social and cultural impact.
The principles of social responsibility are respected by institutional policy and procedures. To this end UPT:
- Exercises with zeal all its activities ensuring compliance with the law and relevant standards;
- Is a responsible member of its community, facilitating international dialogue and working in partnership;
- Recognises and values the social responsibility initiatives of the entire academic community;
- Participates in relevant social responsibility networks;
- Ensures the protection of personal data of the whole academic community.
The institution ensures impartiality and fairness for its academic community aiming to avoid discrimination or inequality. To this end UPT:
- Promotes and values the plurality and diversity of all members of its community and ensures equality regardless of the existence of factors of potential discrimination;
- Recruits employees in a transparent way according to widely advertised criteria;
- Is concerned with the health, safety and working conditions of the academic community in compliance with the legal requirements and norms instituted for quality;
- Promotes a performance evaluation of all employees, guided by clearly defined criteria and in line with those of other academic communities;
- Guarantees that working conditions comply, as a minimum, with national laws
Ensures disciplinary procedures are in place in accordance with the regulations instituted and approved by the appropriate bodies of the institution
Provides support services to meet the specific needs of the internal and external community.
The institution is committed to conservation, preservation of culture and heritage and environmental sustainability. To this end, UPT:
- Encourages the participation of the whole community in social responsibility activities promoted by the institution;
- Promotes relationships with the community in the spreading of culture and preservation of memory and heritage;
- Promotes waste management, through recycling;
- Promotes energy saving through awareness-raising actions and training for community members;
- Promotes a decrease in the use of paper, through dematerialisation of processes;
- Cultivates and preserves green areas in its university campus.
In order to monitor the implementation of a culture of social responsibility, UPT commits to define monitoring and evaluation indicators and, as soon as defined and approved, to include in its annual activity report an analysis of these indicators.