Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically, and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large.
Source: WBCSD Stakeholder Dialogue on CSR, 1998
In 2013, Cyprus underwent a year wrought with difficulties and challenges. The University of Nicosia regarded this as an opportunity to contribute towards shaping a bright future. Beginning with our strong attributes, we undertook appropriate initiatives in a timely and effective manner in order to achieve positive results, thus further strengthening our foundation for sustainable development.
We believe in employing ethical conduct in our dealings with society and the integration of social and environmental concerns in our business operations, as well as in our interactions with our students, our employees, the business community and the wider society.
Within this context, the “CSR Report 2007-2014” is the first effort by the University of Nicosia to document the social and environmental initiatives undertaken during its first seven years of operation. Since 2007, the University has consistently strived towards integrating the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility with its corporate strategy.
This Report highlights the activities undertaken during the period 2007-2014 and focuses on the CSR practices initiated across the main sectors of employees, students, the environment and the wider society.
The coordination and overall responsibility for the publication of this Report reside with the Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration. We thank all the various University Departments that contributed information towards insuring the thoroughness and accuracy of this Report. We welcome any feedback on the structure and content of this Report as this will assist us in our mission for continuous improvement.
Contact email: [email protected]
Successful development decisions, combined with the recruitment of talented and qualified personnel, have resulted in the University of Nicosia to be regarded as one of the most important, dynamic and stable employers in the Cypriot labour market. The University strives to ensure and promote a corporate philosophy that provide its employees with a friendly and safe work environment that values meritocracy and supports equal opportunity, lifelong education and which is inclusive and free of discrimination. The University has developed a Code of Conduct and Values that applies to both administrative and academic personnel that aims to cultivate a spirit of team work and collaboration.
Today, the University of Nicosia employs 336 permanent employees consisting of 193 faculty members and 143 administrative staff.
- The majority of administrative staff is female; by the end of 2013, 69.8% of administrative staff employed was female.
- In 2014, the average age of employees at the University of Nicosia is 42.43 years, with 64.2% of employees being under the age of 45.
- Approximately, 74% of employees are Cypriot, while 26% hail from other countries.
- Currently, 69% of academic staff has a doctorate degree, while the remaining 31% have a postgraduate degree. Several faculty members with postgraduate degrees have received support from the University and are in the process of pursuing their doctorate degree.
Human Resources Management System
The University of Nicosia has created a modern and integrated Human Resources Management System, which is utilised to support the sound management and development of University employees. The system, based on internationally accepted principles of human resources management, aims to fully realize the potential of University staff, in conjunction with achieving the greatest possible workplace/professional satisfaction.
Investors in People
In 2012, the University of Nicosia was certified by the world famous model “Investors in People” (IIP), the only recognized and integrated standard for the management and development of human resources. IIP certifies organisations that recognize the catalyst role played by their human resource towards improving their competitiveness. Created in 1990 in the UK, the standard has been adopted by more than 70,000 companies and organizations in 50 countries around the world. In Cyprus, the University of Nicosia was the ninth organization to receive this distinction.
Health and Safety
\In an effort to ensure optimal working conditions and the protection of staff from workplace accidents and occupational illness, the Office of Environment, Health and Safety conducts risk assessments throughout the year. In 2013, 17 risk assessments were conducted.
Personnel Training and Development
As a higher education institution, the University of Nicosia focuses particular attention to the lifelong training and development of both administrative and academic staff. Continuous training and re-training is a cornerstone of the development of human resources at the University and is implemented through attending seminars, professional workshops and scientific conferences, both in Cyprus and abroad. The University of Nicosia establishes an annual programme aimed at addressing the educational needs and required skills development of its staff. The total amount allocated for the training and development of personnel for the academic period 2013-14 amounted to €96,000 (this figure does not include the subsidies received from the local Human Resource Development Authority in-house training programmes).
Staff Mobility (Erasmus Mobility)
University of Nicosia academic and administrative staff is able to participate in mobility programmes funded by the European Union Erasmus Exchange Programme. By visiting universities abroad, employees gain knowledge and experience and the opportunity to develop foreign partnerships.
Provisions & Benefits
Employees of the University of Nicosia are provided with a range of additional benefits that they, as well as their dependent family members, can gain from. These employee benefits impact areas such as personal development and welfare; health insurance; support to the family and the strengthening of corporate cultural, collaboration and team spirit.
Specific examples include the provision of free education to staff members who have completed two years of employment and significant discounts to staff offspring pursuing a programme of study at the University; a group health care plan offered through a large private insurance company that full-time employees have access to following the completion of four months of employment; and a provident fund scheme available to employees following the completion of two years of employment. In 2013, the University contribution towards the Provident Fund Scheme amounted to €480,000.
Additional benefits include free access to the swimming pool of the private Pascal School in Nicosia during the summer period; free access to the University Library (including access to over 95,000 books and thousands of online journals); and discounted access to quality films screened at the University in-house film theatre, Cine Studio, in collaboration with the Cyprus Friends of Cinema Society.
During the academic period 2013-2014, the value of these benefits exceeded 700,000 Euros.
As part of its social contribution and in an attempt to create incentives towards healthy academic competition, the University of Nicosia offers various scholarships to full-time Cypriot students based on various criteria.
The various scholarships, awarded annually, include:
- Twenty one (21) scholarships to outstanding graduating students offered to every high school and technical school based on the final average diploma grade;
- A range of automatic scholarships, valid for one academic year, based on their overall diploma grade;
- Financial assistance in the form of discounts, ranging from 5-15% off tuition fees, for students who are able to prove financial difficulties;
- Financial assistance to students from large families (4 or more children) are granted an automatic 10% discount;
- Financial assistance to families with two offspring attending the University on a full-time basis are granted a 10% discount for each student;
- Athletic scholarships are awarded to students who actively participate in the sports teams of the University, the amount of which is determined following an application and selection procedure;
- Scholarships awarded to outstanding students with a Cumulative GPA of 3.5 of higher, ranging from 10-50%;
- Students working as assistants supporting the various departments/units of the University receive a reduction in tuition that corresponds to the number of hours worked – typically between 5-20 hours per week.
During the academic year 2012-2013, 2,657 students received scholarships or tuition discounts that amounted in total to approximately 7.17 million Euros.
New Student Orientation Programme
t the start of each academic semester, the University organises a series of orientation activities (e.g. presentations, seminars and workshops) aimed at welcoming and inducting new students into the University community. These activities introduce students to the various services offered by the University. Additionally, the orientation programme provides an opportunity to form friendships with fellow students and to engage in activities beyond the confines of the traditional classroom.
Student Orientation Programme UNISKO (University Skills Orientation Programme)
UNISKO is a free four-week orientation programme offered to new local and international students and serves to welcome them to the University and to student life. The programme consists of English language lessons, short presentations to introduce new cohorts to the various student-support services, as well as social activities that include sports activities, film screenings, board game competitions and day-trips to cultural and touristic sights.
Student Mobility through Erasmus
The University of Nicosia is a member of the Erasmus University Charter. As such, it participates in the European mobility / exchange programme, whereby students can complete part of their academic studies (typically up to two semesters) in another European university that is also a member of the Erasmus University Charter. Students may also apply to the Erasmus internship scheme, whereby they can spend a certain period of time gaining valuable real-world experience interning for a European company/organisation that is able to host Erasmus students as interns.
During the academic year 2013-14, 29 students from the University of Nicosia participated in the Erasmus mobility programme, while the University hosted more than 120 foreign students from abroad as part of the same scheme.
Each year, several events and activities are organised by the various University departments, as well as by students themselves through the numerous student clubs and societies and the Student Union. Such events include music and film festivals, dance classes, seminars, charity events, blood drives, and much more! Often, students, faculty and staff volunteer their time to support charitable or worthwhile events such as the European Night without Accidents, a European initiative that aims to promote road safety among young drivers.
Events Organised by the Career Office
Throughout the academic year, the Career Office organizes a series of free seminars geared towards the professional development of students and alumni. These seminars are delivered by faculty members, as well as industry experts, and topics include “Time Management”, “Curriculum Vitae Writing” and “Preparing for a Job Interview”. Additionally, each spring the Career Office organizes the Annual Career Fair – an important event where representatives from various companies are invited to participate and meet with students and alumni.
Support for Students with Special Educational Needs
The University considers it its duty to cater to the educational needs of all its students. Therefore, it is committed to providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities; thus, making every effort to provide necessary access to facilities, resources and staff to allow students with mobility or other difficulties to attend university. The Environment, Health & Safety Office, in collaboration with the Senior Academic Officer, evaluate the medical reports of students and inform faculty of the support they require.
At the start of each academic year, the Environment, Health & Safety Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, organizes a weeklong anti-smoking campaign. During this week, informative leaflets and gifts are distributed and seminars are conducted by representatives from the Ministry of Health that are open to University students and staff.
Poster Competition for the World No Tobacco Day
The University, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, organised a poster competition as part of the campaign for the World No Tobacco Day in 2013. The winning poster promoted the beauty and value of life and that life is better without smoking. The winning poster was published by the Ministry of Health and was used as the official poster of the Ministry for the year 2013-14.
The University aspires to play a role in the lives of its graduates, to remain in touch with them, foster interaction between them, and support them where possible. In line with this, the University aims to provide its alumni with a range of benefits and services. An Alumni Membership Card, which identifies as such, is available to each University of Nicosia alumnus/alumna. The card is connected to a guide/booklet, detailing the services and products that alumni have access to and can benefit from (at reduced rates).
Additionally, graduates are entitled to a 35% discount on the rental of University facilities (e.g. for conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, film screenings), a 40% discount on all University memorabilia and a 50% discount on University of Nicosia Press publications. Alumni are also entitled to a discount on the ticket price of film screenings organised by the Cyprus Friends of Cinema Society, which are screened on campus at Cine Studio. Finally, the Career Office offers its services, free of charge, to graduates by assisting them in their search for gainful employment.
Respect and consideration for the environment are underlying factors that affect the activities of the University of Nicosia, which has embraced the principles of sustainable development. The University undertook to measure its environmental footprint in terms of the materials and services consumed during its daily operations and has put various practices into place in order to minimize its impact on the environment.
In 2007, concerted efforts began towards implementing a recycling system at the University and, to date, the current actions undertaken include:
- All offices have access to paper recycling containers and the paper used by the University is 100% recyclable. Moreover, all computers have been set to the toner saving mode for printing.
- In 2013, the University implemented a centralised printing and photocopying system by replacing the printers in the various administrative offices with printing and photocopying machines that are located in designated points around campus. This has resulted in a significant reduction in consumption of both ink cartridges and paper. In fact, the average monthly consumption of paper decreased to 278.75 paper packages in 2014 (compared to 551.66 in 2013 and 601.25 in 2012).
- Battery recycling bins have been placed around campus.
- All the waste generated from courses that require the use of laboratories is recycled accordingly.
- Since 2013, the University decided to stop recycling computers and printers. Instead, old computers and printers that have been replaced are repaired by the University’s Computer Centre and donated to schools in Africa.
Energy Footprint & Energy Saving
The energy consumed by the University of Nicosia is sourced from electricity supplied by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, while the generators that are installed throughout the buildings are used only in the case of power failure.
Over the past two years, the University has set about replacing the existing incandescent light bulbs with new LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs consume up to 80% less energy compared to incandescent light bulbs. Moreover, they do not contain any mercury.
Environment, Health and Safety
In 2012, the University established the Environment, Health and Safety Committee, which aims to tackle the challenges faced by the University as these relate to the environment in which it operates, as well as those concerning health and safety. Various subcommittees have been created that focus on specific issues, providing recommendations to the Committee and, thus, supporting the overall function of the Committee. Specifically, these subcommittees focus on areas related to the environment, the safety of laboratories, risk assessment and people with disabilities.
Centre for Green Development and Energy Policy (CGD)
The Centre for Green Development and Energy Policy (CGD) was founded in 2011 to promote research and generate knowledge in the fields of environment and energy and to integrate the University’s various Academic Schools and Centers to create exciting interdisciplinary research programmes, for the benefit of Cyprus and the wider region. CGD brings in expertise in areas related to the environment and energy, including policy analysis, land, waste and water management, air pollution, biodiversity and sustainable development. The Centre provides consulting services for both the public and private sectors and seeks to become a leading centre in the region.
Citizen’s Free University
The University of Nicosia organizes and operates a lecture series open to the general public, engaging with contemporary issues of common interest to Cypriot society. This institution seeks direct contact with the citizens of Cyprus, to enter into dialogue with them as regards the economy, education, social problems, the environment, the arts, culture, and other significant aspects of life.
This provides a forum for the University’s teaching and research faculty to present the analyses and findings from individual and collective research work – with the vital contribution of the public in the form of questions and observations. In this way, the Citizen’s Free University acts as an essential link between the University and the society in which it operates.
Since 2011, the Citizen’s Free University has been organised in collaboration with rural communities, whereby monthly lectures are delivered by speakers from the University on a variety of topics. Each month, the lecture is hosted by a different rural community thus allowing more people to attend.
Center for Therapy, Training and Research (KESY)
The Centre for Therapy, Training and Research (KESY) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, which is affiliated with the University of Nicosia. Founded in 2004, KESY was established with three basic goals in mind:
- To provide clients with a safe, caring, and professional environment in which they can access high-quality counseling services;
- To train/educate/inform students, parents, professionals, and the public at large via workshops, seminars, lectures and supervision, as well as act as a training site in which the Master’s level Clinical Psychology students of the University can carry out their practicum;
- To carry out a variety of research projects related to the Centre’s domain of practice and in collaboration with the Department of Psychology.
Since 2011, KESY has collaborated with the Municipality of Engomi to provide free services to the citizens of Engomi. To date, this cooperation has resulted in the implementation of three programmes that include the provision of professional counselling services to individuals and groups, as well as the dissemination of information through the organisation of lectures and presentations.
All the above mentioned services are extended free of charge to the citizens of Engomi.
Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS)
The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) is a non-profit organization, affiliated with the University of Nicosia, which promotes and contributes to projects of social, political, and economic themes relating to gender with an emphasis on the Mediterranean region. The Institute recognizes the multilayered levels of discrimination against women and accepts that this discrimination takes different forms. It is committed to the elimination of this discrimination using a combination of research, advocacy and lobbying, as well as trainings, conferences, and other activities. Thus, MIGS aims to act as a main contributor to the intellectual, political, and socio-political life of the region as this relates to issues of gender and to do so using a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with other institutions.
The institute has been actively involved, both as a coordinating institution and as a partner, in the administration and implementation of a number of projects related to issues of gender. More specifically, the institute has conducted work in the area of the media, interpersonal violence against women and girls, migration, leadership and decision making, ethno-political conflict, employment and economic life. The institute has received funding from the European Commission, the Global Fund for Women, the United Nations Office for Project Services, the British Council, the European Journalism Centre, the Embassy of the United States of America and the National Machinery of Women’s Rights in Cyprus as well as from various other national, regional, and international organizations.
Through its projects MIGS has established expertise in project management and administration including the drafting of technical and financial proposals, the implementation and supervision of activities including research and training, as well as the conceptual and logistical organization of events such as conferences, seminars, workshops, press conferences, awareness campaigns and others. MIGS has also acquired substantial knowledge of the rules and regulations of various EU funding bodies, particularly the European Commission.
Cyprus Centre for Intercultural Studies (CCIS)
Since ancient times, Cyprus has been no stranger to the merging of civilizations and the resultant benefits and perils of interculturalism. Acknowledging the urgency to critically consider various aspects of the multicultural climate of Cyprus and the world, the University of Nicosia’s Cyprus Center for Intercultural Studies aspires to promote the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas on a range of issues related to interculturalism.
Acting as a platform for dialogue among fields as varied as politics, law, history, business, education, economics, sociology, media, the sciences, and the arts, the Center organizes annual conferences, workshops, and public lectures to address diversity and equity on the island and abroad. Moreover, by examining the factors of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, language, and nationhood in cross-cultural interactions, the Center strives to increase knowledge of globalization and the intricacies involved in communication across cultures.
The Center’s objectives are manifold:
- to enhance respect of cultural difference and understanding of intercultural connections,
- to attend to human rights issues with a commitment to social change,
- to promote critical thinking about cultural diversity,
- to explore cultural conflict and conflict resolution, and
- to foster multicultural education.
The Cyprus Center of Intercultural Studies collaborates closely with the UNESCO Chair on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue for a Culture of Peace.
Research Unit in Behaviour and Social Issues (RUBSI)
The Research Unit in Behaviour and Social Issues (RUBSI) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization associated with the University of Nicosia, which was founded in 2005. The Unit’s mission is to improve understanding of the processes and mechanisms which influence the health and well-being of the Cypriot population. In doing so it aims to contribute to the body of knowledge that informs the development of health policy, education and practice in health interventions.
The Unit’s aims include:
- To build and enjoy a strong public and professional profile which would be respected for its various key contributions, not just at local, but at international level.
- To unravel the links between health and lifestyle and to create an effective bridge between research and practice/implementation. The development of effective qualitative & quantitative methods is essential to achieving this objective.
- To be creatively engaged in disseminating its findings to ensure strategic impact on policy, practice and future studies in the field of public health.
- Through a focus on evidence, the Unit would be active in developing evaluation strategies to assess the value of health promotion initiatives in community settings.
- To develop professional or academic training and expertise in these areas and therefore to create a centre of research excellence that will be a resource to policy makers in future generations.
Training Program for the Unemployed
In recent years, the economic crisis has affected the economy as a whole. Economic growth has stagnated and unemployment rates rose to 16% by the end of 2013. The University of Nicosia believes that the problem of unemployment can be addressed through continuing education and training. To this end, the University has organised three rounds of training programmes targeted to the unemployed in order to support them with (re)entering the labour market. These programmes were offered free of charge and the faculty who delivered the trainings did so on a voluntary basis. Since the fall of 2012, more than 250 unemployed individuals have participated in the training programmes.
Support to Charity and Non-Profit Organizations
Each year, the University of Nicosia supports the activities and programmes of several charitable and non-profit organisations in order that they may achieve their specific goals. Assistance is provided in the form of sponsorships or financial contributions, the provision of discounted or free access to facilities and services, as well as support from volunteers consisting of University faculty, staff, students and alumni. Over the past years, the University has supported dozens of organisations and associations. A non-exhaustive list of such sponsors includes:
- Cyprus Anti-Cancer Association
- Pan-Cyprian Anti-Leukaemia Association
- Pan-Cyprian Thalassemia Association
- Pan-Cyprian Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled• Information Centre for Drugs and Treatment of Drug Dependent Persons
- The Nicosia Dog Shelter
Provision of Free Facilities and/or Services
- Cyprus Consumers Association
- Cyprus Institute of Business Ethics
- Municipality of Engomi
- Radio Marathon
- Cyprus Anti-Cancer Association