Keeping the Doors Open: Access Programs and the Third Mission of Universities

When: November 17 & 18, 9.30am to 6pm, CET

Where: CEU Auditorium


Who has access to university education? What is a university and what does it stand for? How can we reimagine the university in today’s world? What is the ‘Third Mission’ of universities, and how does it connect (or not) university to society? Can we rethink the university as an open society where education and knowledge take place in interaction with the communities around us?

CEU’s Community Engagement Office invites you to the conference Keeping the Doors Open to join a conversation where we seek to answer these questions in a series of panel debates and workshops. Speakers will include students and professors involved in access programs, as well as researchers and program managers. We will begin by reflecting on the Third Mission of universities —service to society— after which we will examine the current state of university access programs across Western Europe and the US. Asking how we can keep the doors open to communities that have been traditionally excluded from higher education, the conference will also be an open space to rethink and reimagine this institution together. For this reason, the second day of the conference will also host a series of workshops with the Open Society Research Platform (OSRP) under the title ‘Knowledge practices and the university as an open society’ to explore the relationship between, on the one side, knowledge production, knowledge transmission and social critique, and, on the other side, the open, democratic, and inclusive organization of universities.


To attend, please register here. We encourage you to join us in person at CEU in Vienna. However, if you prefer attending online, you can follow the conference via Zoom here. To follow the OSRP workshop and the closing remarks, please use this other Zoom link


You can find the program schedule here.

A detailed program is available here.

The Socrates Project

This conference is the closing event of The Socrates Project, an academic outreach program at Central European University in Vienna and Budapest and Bard College Berlin, and funded by OSUN. In the academic year 2021-2022, The Socrates Project has attracted over 300 adult students without access to higher education across Vienna, Budapest and Berlin. Over the span of 3 months per course, students followed weekly evening seminars in the humanities and social sciences, discussing core texts selected by our instructors. All courses at The Socrates Project are tuition-fee, in-person and open to all interested participants. Read more about The Socrates Project here