Short program: Service-learning and community engagement

Community Engagement (CE) has gained substantial ground as a core function of higher education institutions (HEI’s) particularly in the last decade in South Africa (SA).

In line with international trends, the meaning attached to CE is that universities interact with the rest of society though teaching, learning and research. Increasingly, there is a need for managers/practitioners who are proficient in understanding the political landscape of CE in HE, have the competence to participate in contemporary academic debates, and contribute to the existing stock of knowledge on the subject.

Furthermore there is a need for efficient managers/practitioners to implement and manage CE programs in an institutional environment. The latter includes service-learning (SL) and other forms of curricular engagement as well as community-based research methodologies.

Service Learning (SL) is a teaching approach that integrates community interaction into academic learning programs while addressing the needs of communities at the same time. SL offers specific differences as well as similarities with other forms of experiential learning.

The difference and importance is the mutual equal concern/ interest of service and learning and the student’s development of civic responsibility. SL has become an effective vehicle for producing civically minded graduates who has a broader perspective of the world in an era of globalization. Experiential learning contributes significantly to the professional development of students and is supported by most professional boards.

The purpose of the short programme is threefold:
1. to prepare and equip academic staff and community engagement managers to develop as engaged scholars and leaders in the emerging scholarship of engagement based on an independent intellectual consideration of key aspects of higher education community engagement.
2. to enable community engagement managers to facilitate and evaluate the proliferation of curricular-based community engagement in their own institution/faculty and/or
3. to enable module coordinators/service-learning practitioners to explore, design, implement and assess a service-learning module in a particular academic program

Join the next credit-bearing short program in service-learning and community engagement for academic and other staff members who are interested in practicing SL or are responsible for managing SL and CE in their faculty or institution. Participants of this course earn 24 credits on HEQF Level 9 rewarded as a certificate of competence. The benefit of this qualification is an addition to a CV and the credits may be offered as credit for an relevant Masters program if passed with an average of 60%.

The next program starts on April 10, 2013 (09:00 – 13:00) as a first meeting. In 2013 the program is offered at the School for Public Leadership, University Stellenbosch Business School (USB), Bellville campus. The dates for the contact sessions are as follows:

May 15-16, 2013 (2 full days)
June 26-27, 2013 (2 full days)
August, 2013 (1 day) Trouble-shooting and mentoring syndicate groups
September, 2013 (1 day – final presentations and celebration lunch)

Please register for this course before March 28, 2013. A registration fee of R550 is payable for internal staff members and the course fee for an external participant (other universities) is R6200. Please see the Framework for this short learning programme as well as the registration form. Please follow the instructions on the application form carefully. The form needs to be completed electronically, printed, signed by the relevant parties and then be sent in electronically as a scanned document or faxed. Registrations will only be accepted if approved by the applicant’s line manager and the applicable payment. For more information about the program, please contact Dr Antoinette Smith-Tolken ( and for registrations, contact Mrs Ashleen Fisher at the Division of CI (