Promoting the utilization of knowledge is an important mission for institutions of higher education. The "knowledge utilization" university should stand alongside the research university, the professional school, the liberal arts college, and the community college as one of the five archetypes of higher education institutions.
Environmental problems typify a class of social problems that require the utilization of existing knowledge in a trans-disciplinary manner just as much as they require the creation of new knowledge through research. These problems are characterized by their multiple dimensions-- they have scientific, technical, social, political, economic, and ethical aspects, all of which must be taken into account in an integrated way when seeking solutions. "Knowledge utilization" universities can contribute to solving environmental problems in three ways: by offering interdisciplinary degree programs that address environmental issues; by offering on and off-campus programs that promote environmental literacy; and by involving their faculties in technical assistance and consulting activities with community organizations.
To accomplish this, these institutions must develop organizational cultures that support the mission of promoting knowledge utilization. Cultures that were developed to encourage research or teaching are not likely to be effective in encouraging the activities that promote knowledge utilization.
Bernstein, Abraham B., "“Knowledge Utilization” Universities: A Paradigm for Applying Academic Expertise to Social and Environmental Problems" (1994). New England Resource Center for Higher Education Publications. 3.