Why community interaction is so important to this Faculty
Community Engagement, along with Teaching and Learning and Research, are core scholarly activities of higher education institutions internationally. Although most people understand what teaching and research involve, community engagement is often misunderstood or given distinctive interpretations at different universities, depending on the particular institutional history, culture and core values.
At Stellenbosch University (SU) we prefer to use the term 'Community Interaction' (CI) instead of 'Community Engagement' to emphasise the reciprocal nature of interaction between the University and communities.
The SU CI policy presents criteria for CI that include that activities are linked to an identifiable group in a community outside the institution; that interaction should be actively linked to identifiable needs of both the University and the community; and that such activities should be sustainable within a mutually defined relationship. Exclusive teaching and research activities that do not include a community component are therefore not considered part of CI.
Each year an audit of the CI activities takes place via the CI database of SU. This is administered by the Division of Community Interaction and based on the criteria set out above. It is similar to the annual survey of research outputs that is overseen by the Division for Research Development.
The Division of CI is focused on nurturing and managing partnerships with communities; facilitating cooperation between the University and communities; and providing the means whereby both parties can actively discover knowledge, teach and learn from each other.
It is the responsibility of each individual Faculty member to register his or her CI activities for a particular year on the CI database. Continuous projects need to be reregistered every year. Only those CI activities that are registered and approved by Department Chairs and the Dean via the Human Resources system are calculated as CI performance indicators for each Faculty.
For assistance with database registrations from the Division of CI, contact Ms Joanne Williams.
The Faculty's Community Interaction Committee represented by academic staff members from the Social Sciences, Languages and the Arts, plays an important role to enhance the stature of CI within the Faculty as a whole. The Committee is headed by Ms Pamela Kierman.
Provision is made for four types of community interaction at the University, including the integration of:
Teaching and Learning, Research and CI (an example is the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health that incorporates all core functions in their activities; particular Faculty examples is presented further on),
CI and Research (examples are research projects where collaborative and/or participatory/action research strategies are followed); and finally
Volunteerism and public service (examples include student/staff volunteerism, the rendering of public services, community outreach or the fostering of partnerships/networks).
Based on project registrations over time, the Faculty clearly illustrates a growth in terms of both quantity and range of activities and this ultimately reflects a varied, interesting and exciting CI portfolio.
To view the Faculty's registered CI activities (at the end of 2011) which are classified according to the types of CI at SU, please click on one of the links above.
For further assistance within the Faculty, please contact Ms Pamela Kierman, Chair of the Community Interaction and Service Committee.
31 Oct - DEADLINE for the registration of community interaction projects based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Click here to register your project.