Adult Education Academy

    Prof. Monica Fedeli

    Prof. Monica Fedeli Ph.D. currently Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning Methods and Organi-zational Development at University of Padova. She has been Adjunct Professor at Boston University, at Michigan State University, at Julius Maximilian University of Wurzburg, Germany, and Visiting Profes-sor at California University Berkeley, School of Education.

    • active teaching
    • participatory teaching and learning
    • faculty development
    • university business dialogue
    • women leadership
    • and professional development

    She published more than 70 articles, books, and book chapters in variety of national and international journals, and book series.

    CG1: The three pillars of the third mission of higher education systems: “Continuing education”, “technology transfer & innovation” and “social engagement”

    Co-Moderator: Dr. Concetta Tino

    Traditionally the two main missions of Higher Education Systems (HEs) are teaching and research, but after Bologna Process a third pillar has characterised the contribution of universities to society: the third mission or third stream (Molas-Gallart et al., 2002). This enlarged mission highlights the role of universities as source of knowledge and capabilities to promote social and economic development. Therefore, the third mission mirrors the effective functioning of HEs and the level of effectiveness and responsibility in the use of resources.

    At the beginning the third mission of universities was considered just as the commercialisation of research, but soon the role of universities has been considered much more than a source for financial and commercial activities, because it was recognised as a process for improving quality of life and public services’ value (Arbo & Benneworth, 2007).

    In 2008, Montesinos, Carot, Martinez, and Mora identified three dimensions of third mission:

    1. Continuing education: the organisation and management of adult education as service to support change between job, leisure time and education. It can include formal and informal education/training.

    2. Technology transfer and innovation: it is related to the exchange of knowledge, that is the use of research to promote innovation, such as spin off activities, contract-based research and consultancy...

    3. Social engagement: the collaboration between HEs and their communities (local, regional, national, global) on the basis of a non-profit relationship and mutual beneficial exchange.

    The first two dimensions have mainly a profit orientation because universities interact with the society according to an economic perspective. The third dimension mirrors the responsibility and the role of HEs as social services for the communities.

    It is important to underline that some universities are stronger in one of the three dimensions, and it is often possible to find activities that belong to different dimensions. This sense, HEs through their Third Mission contribute to the social, economic, technological, and cultural development of communities.

    The Triple Helix research, teaching, third mission (entrepreneurial university ideal) (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff 2000) pushed HEs to change their governance structure, and to become ‘more effective, efficient and responsive to societal needs’ (Capano & Pritoni, 2020, p.2).

    The relevance of this CGW is to understand the efforts made by the different countries for transforming their governance structure to develop their third mission in its three dimensions. Therefore, the expected learning outcomes of this CGW are related to:

    • knowledge about HEs governance
    • the exploration of the actions/practices implemented for promoting continuing education, innovation and social engagement


    For more information about the comparative group have a look at our programme!

    1. FEDELI, M. & BIEREMA, L. L. (EDS.). (2019): Connecting adult learning and knowledge management. Strategies for learning a change in higher education and organizations. Svizzera: Springer International Publishing.
    2. FEDELI, M. (2019): Linking faculty development to organizational development: Teaching4Learning@Unipd. In M. Fedeli & L.L. Bierema (Eds.). Connecting adult learning and knowledge management. Strategies for learning and change in higher education and organizations (pp. 51-68). Svizzera: Springer International Publishing.
    3. FEDELI, M. (2019): Active Learning o Lecturing? Strategie per integrare la lezione frontale e active learning. Educational Reflective Practices, 9, 1, 113-135, Doi: 10.3280/ERP2019-001007.



    ⇒ Back to the Overview week 2