Cooperation of higher education institutions with environment. Selected issues on measurement of HEIs' third stream activities

Agnieszka Piotrowska-Piątek



Purpose: This article discusses cooperation of Polish higher education institutions (HEIs) with their environment and offers a way of measuring these activities. The concept and scope of the third stream are discussed and selected model and indicators of measuring HEIs’ activities in this field are presented. The Author suggests Indicator of Cooperation with Environment (ICE) in order to measure levels of HEIs’ interaction with the world around them.
Methodology: The article draws on relevant literature both from Poland and abroad. In order to verify the proposed ICE indicator empirically, a survey was carried out among 100 heads of Polish HEIs. The results of the survey were analysed by using tools of descriptive statistics, and presented according to HEI types.
Findings: The results show correlation between the ICE level and HEI type. The highest level of ICE is observed in public academic HEIs, which makes them stand out as a group as against the other types of HEIs. A signifi cantly lower level of ICE is identified in the case of state vocational HEIs and private HEIs, which makes them a homogeneous group in terms of ICE.
Originality: As can be seen in the literature, the issue of how to measure HEIs’ third stream is rarely raised at a conceptual level and, consequently, in empirical research. The ICE indicator proposed in this article is based on simple indicators which are easy to operationalise and which reflect activities involving teaching, research, academic entrepreneurship as well as HEI management. Validation has confirmed that ICE is effective in achieving the intended measurement goals.


higher education institutions (HEIs); third mission; cooperation of HEIs with environment; index

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