Evaluating Service Leadership Programs with Multiple Strategies
The University of Pretoria (UP) functions within the context of a highly unequal society emerging from decades of politically entrenched racism that has left many of its communities impoverished in educational, social, cultural and economic terms, with little access to development opportunities or knowledge that is the stock in trade of universities. Through its Strategic Plan 2025, the University deliberately seeks to exercise its social responsibility through integrating community engagement in its academic programmes and research, as well as in its operations, practices and partnerships. The approach and scope of social responsibility activities encompassing credit-bearing curricular engagement as well as volunteerism, which forms the focus of the chapter, is unique in its scale and scope in South Africa. In terms of the University’s Policy on Community Engagement, each programme should include at least one community engagement component. The practical outcome of this policy is that approximately one third of the University’s 30,000 undergraduate students annually undertake community engagement as part of their curriculum at hundreds of community sites and their work is supported by thousands of students who volunteer beyond the requirements of the curriculum. The activities contribute millions in financial terms to the communities around the University each year through student service. The paradigm has moved from treating communities as beneficiaries of charity and objects of research to more equal partnership for mutual benefit: to use university knowledge to solve problems identified by communities while simultaneously enabling students to gain knowledge and skills as well as apply knowledge.
KeywordsThe University of Pretoria Community engagement Partnerships Case study South Africa
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