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 Director's Message

Author: Prof. Priscilla Daniels

 National Policy provides Higher Education Institutions with a guideline that HEI’s need to implement in order to ensure that their role and responsibility in the transformation of this country is accentuated.

Director's Message​

National Policy provides Higher Education Institutions with a guideline that HEI’s need to implement in order to ensure that their role and responsibility in the transformation of this country is accentuated.  The United Nations Sustainable development Goals for Transforming the World by 2030 also requires that HEI’s need to incorporate the goal of sustainable development into its core activities of teaching, learning, and research and community engagement if we seek to reach this objective.

The University of the Western Cape is therefore committed to its role as an institution of higher learning that regards social responsibility and civic engagement as a critical graduate attribute which its students need to portray as a result of their educational experience at this university.  The importance of engaging society and essentially developing a scholarship of engagement that encompasses and facilitates the development of graduate attributes and sustainable development through action, reflects UWC’s history and ethos.

Ernest Boyer’s scholarship of engagement refers to community engagement as a process that involves an evolution and transformation of knowledge as opposed to the simple transfer of information from one learning partner to another.  It provides a theoretical framework for the Community Engagement Unit at UWC which calls for HEI’s involvement within communities through applied scholarship which results in development, improvement and enhancement of the community and the university.

As the Community Engagement Unit seeks to identify a suitable definition for Community Engagement that is appropriate within our context and highlights this unit’s role at the institution, the following definition provides a guide to our approach:

“...Community Engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity [...] Partnerships are ongoing long‐term relationships in which each partner brings individual goals, needs, assets and strategies, and through collaborative processes blends them into common goals and outcomes...”

(The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching) 


This definition highlights the sustainable partnerships within the university and with broader society as we strive to collectively deliver on the institutional goals and strategic objectives of the University of the Western Cape.​ 

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