Arts & Social Science
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Community Interaction


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:

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.