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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.