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 CEU and MU Extension Partnership

CEU and MU Extension Partnership

Thirty years ago the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and University of Missouri (UM) began a partnership with the establishment of the University of Missouri South African Education Programme (UMSAEP), which was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Academic Cooperation in June 1986.  The purpose of the UWC/MU exchange programme was and is to advance mutual understanding between the two faculties of the respective institutions and promote collaboration in: i) teaching, ii) research and iii) service (also referred to as community engagement), with the aim of benefiting each institution and its broader communities. Over the years, numerous project grants have been awarded by the UMSAEP committee, but not until 2009 was a partnership exchange initiative started with regard to the ‘community engagement’ segment of the two universities; a UMSAEP grant followed, in 2013, for an International Community Leadership Development Programme (ICLDP) pilot project between the CEU and the UM Extension.  Not only was this project then the first of its kind between the two universities but it also integrated all three legislated segments of higher education: teaching, research and community engagement in one single project – making it the first of its kind in the UMSAEP.  This ICLDP partnership entails the co-teaching of the programme to empower community leaders from both countries in bringing about social and economic change through community development in their respective communities; evaluation research was conducted during 2015 to confirm the extent to which the ICLDP was significant and successful.

ICLDP Pilot Project Summary

The overall purpose of the ICLDP pilot project was to collaboratively design and implement an international community leadership exchange programme that would empower community leaders in bringing about ‘change’ (transformation) in their communities towards improved community wellbeing.  The ICLDP pilot project partners (CEU & MU Extension) set themselves three goals:

         i.            establish a collaborative programme

       ii.            must be based on all scholarships of engagement and,

      iii.            extend the two partners’ reach to communities through community leaders


These goals were translated into three project objectives:

         i.            Add community engagement, community development and exchange to the 30-year partnership

       ii.            Design an ICLDP

      iii.            Implement an ICLDP with an international exchange component


The ICLDP started on 4 May 2015 with five community leaders from the Cape Peninsula communities and four community leaders for the USA.  The ICLDP consisted of two theoretical modules collectively made up of seven training themes relevant to transformational leadership.  The themes included ethics and morals, emotional intelligence, leadership styles, facilitation skills, project management skills and community development as both an approach and a process towards improved wellbeing of citizens.  These themes were presented to the South African community leaders by the CEU and then to the group of four United States community leaders who received training by UM Extension.  The South African community leaders went on an exchange visit to Missouri between 24 July to 8 August 2015 and the USA community leaders came to SA for their exchange visit from 4-18 October 2015 - visiting community projects in the two countries to exchange initiatives and lessons learned amongst each other.  These two groups of community leaders have since formed partnerships to collectively address community development issues in their home countries.  The CEU was responsible to conduct and evaluation study on the ICLDP results.

ICLDP Pilot Project Implementation Evaluation Study Design

The CEU conducting the evaluation study of the ICLDP pilot project, with a formative intention due to the pilot project status of the ICLDP.  Three study objectives were therefore set to evaluate:

)              the planning and design of the programme and its curriculum;

ii)             implementation of the programme curriculum and its exchange component as to the education and training conforming with original planning of the curriculum and exchange visits; and

iii)           to provide conclusions and recommendations for improvement of the programme curriculum and exchange components. 


The research study applied two evaluation designs: i) clarificatory evaluation to address objective one of the study, to gain clarity on pertinent concepts and implicit theories underpinning ICLDPs as well as to  obtain clarification regarding the programme theory followed for the development of the ICLDP, in order to draw up  the overall ICLDP theory-of-change logic model from which to structure implementation evaluation study design data collection and interpretations; and ii) implementation evaluation to address objectives two and three which focused on the extent to which the ICLDP was implemented in accordance with the original planning, and the degree to which the programme goals and objectives were attained.


Data Collection and Analyses for the ICLDP Evaluation Study

The ICLDP evaluation study data collection was done over nine months (from March to December 2015), applying multiple methods of data collection: programme document analysis; literature review; unstructured interviews; semi-structured questionnaires; and ‘field’ observations. This consisted mostly of qualitative data, to which grounded theory was applied to present data analyses based on quantitative results with descriptive statistics.


ICLDP pilot project outcomes from the evaluation results

The ICLDP pilot project partners (CEU & MU Extension) achieved the three programme goals and the objectives were also attained.  The ICLDP integrated all three responsibilities (teaching & learning, research and community engagement/extension) of universities into a model on how higher education institutions, across the globe, can partner with each other to contribute towards the achievement of their contemporary overall responsibility ‘to bring about ‘change’ for the in betterment of society’; ii) develop; and iii) implement a community leadership development programme. The findings presented in the evaluation report suggested that the ICLDP has had significant success in also transferring knowledge and skills, as participants have shown changing levels of self-knowledge, self-image, confidence and willingness to continue in an empowered manner as leaders in their communities.  Strong relationships have developed, amongst and between the two participant groups, to partner in making a difference in the wellbeing of communities. 

‘Succeeding with developing a culture of transformational leadership and lifelong learning amongst community leaders will be the ultimate act of leadership development’​


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