CSR Report 2007-2014 – English

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]

Human Resources

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.

Fast Facts

  • 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.

Students

Scholarships

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.

Events

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.

Anti-Smoking Campaign

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.

Graduates

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